MedStar Health launches new Center for Wellbeing

MedStar Health Launches New Center for Wellbeing

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New center to research and grow programs focused on wellness, professional fulfillment, and quality of life for all MedStar Health associates

COLUMBIA, MD - MedStar Health has launched the new MedStar Health Center for Wellbeing to further enhance a culture that supports healthcare worker wellbeing through programs and research. The new center uses a wholistic approach to address the needs of associates across the system who need help managing day-to-day stresses - both at work and at home - and improve their overall wellness. The Center for Wellbeing comes at a time when work and daily life are further complicated by the COVID-19 pandemic.

A history of wellbeing at MedStar Health

“For the past four years, MedStar Health has built robust wellbeing programs that support wellness, professional satisfaction, and quality of life for its associates,” said Daniel Marchalik, MD, executive director of the new center. “The MedStar Health Center for Wellbeing signals a significant new investment in our workforce and a commitment to creating and growing programs that focus on the needs of not only our clinicians but all of our associates who have been fighting the pandemic in some capacity for two full years now.”

Existing efforts aimed at associate wellbeing include:

  • Access to backup childcare and eldercare
  • 24/7 peer support hotline
  • Recharge stations at our hospitals for meditation or a snack
  • Wellness rounds to patient units as mental health “check-ins” and support
  • Regular podcast “Scrub In” geared towards nurses but topics are applicable for everyone
  • Training for associates using successful adaptations of the military program Stress First Aid
  • Care for the Caregiver program that provides emotional support for caregivers
  • Resilience coaches working with individuals and teams in all clinical locations 

Wellbeing in a podcast

Director of Nursing Wellbeing, Crystal Morales, MS, RN, hosts the “Scrub In” podcast and interviews guests who showcase expert advice and support for all. “The topics we cover on the podcast have ranged from dealing with stress through our Stress First Aid program, building resilience in our everyday lives, COVID-19 and mental health, and coping with seasonal affective disorder,” Morales said. “There are learnings here for people in all professions as we try to navigate these stressful and uncertain times.”

Wellbeing research and innovation

The Center for Wellbeing will function as a new incubation center within the MedStar Institute for Innovation to focus on the research and development of best practices and programs. The goal is to create a fundamental transformation in how caregivers and other associates interact and support each other, including facilitating wellbeing engagement and overcoming the hesitancy of some in healthcare to seek care for themselves.

The center’s launch will also be guided by its leadership team, with its members respectively and collaboratively overseeing center work in physician wellbeing, nursing wellbeing, human resources, integrated peer support, mental health programs and wellbeing in graduate medical education, wellbeing research, and advanced practice provider wellbeing. They will also partner closely with resilience coaches and therapy experts, wellness champions and committees, a steering committee, and an executive advisory committee to advance the center’s goals. 

In addition to his new role leading the Center for Wellbeing, Dr. Marchalik has led physician wellbeing for MedStar Health for years and serves as a national wellbeing expert with publications in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM), The Lancet, and other academic outlets and consumer media. He also regularly cares for patients as director of the Kidney Stone Program at MedStar Washington Hospital Center.

“The past two years have highlighted the exceptional and unique role of healthcare workers and the many ways we need to grow our recognition of their work and support for their personal and professional wellbeing,” said Dr. Marchalik. “Through the center’s creation, we are both elevating MedStar Health’s internal wellbeing priorities, and striving to serve as a national leader in wellbeing innovation, research, and education more broadly.”

In 2021 MedStar Health earned the Joy in Medicine™ distinction from the American Medical Association (AMA) which recognizes health systems that demonstrate a commitment to preserving the well-being of healthcare team members by engaging in proven efforts to combat work-related stress.

Learn more

Listen to the latest “Scrub In” podcast episode highlighting the new MedStar Health Center for Wellbeing—with Dr. Marchalik as the guest.

MedStar Health will present a LinkedIn Live to talk more about the Center for Wellbeing on Tuesday March 1, 2022 at noon.