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Legacy Health Awarded $2 Million Federal Grant

February 23, 2022

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Legacy will use the funds to further support mental health and wellness among health care workers.


As the COVID-10 pandemic enters its third year, health care workers everywhere continue to feel stressed, with some understandably feeling close to a crisis point.

Legacy Health has been listening intently and purposefully to workers on the front lines ever since the pandemic began. Everyone — from leadership to support staff — acknowledges the incredible sacrifices that have been made by health care workers during this extraordinary time of need. The efforts to better help front line workers got a boost recently when Legacy received a three-year $2.2 million federal grant through a program run by the Health Resources & Services Administration (HRSA). The grant, from HRSA’s Promoting Resilience and Mental Health Among Health Professional Workforce Program, will be used to develop and also enhance programs that reduce health care worker stress, improve employee wellness and help retain workers.

Legacy was one of only 10 health care organizations nationally to receive the grant and the only organization in the Northwest. A total of $103 million in grant money was awarded.

“Now more than ever, it is important to support the mental and physical health of our staff to build resilience and alleviate moral distress among our workforce,” says Kathryn Correia, Legacy’s president and chief executive officer. “The last two years have taken an enormous toll on us all, particularly those delivering care in the most challenging of circumstances. We are honored to be one of only a few organizations nationally to receive this grant award.”

Legacy Emanuel Garden
Legacy Emanuel Garden
Legacy Emanuel Garden

Over a three-year period, Legacy will use the grant to unveil new evidence-based programs that support the physical, psychological and professional safety of staff, including physicians. The funds will also help Legacy expand the scope of some already existing wellness programs, including:

  • Twelve therapeutic gardens — designed as healing environments — located on different Legacy locations.
  • The Oregon Wellness Program, which offers free, confidential counseling to health care professionals.
  • The Helping Hand Program, which provides emergency financial assistance for staff.
  • The Schwartz Center for Compassionate Healthcare, which provides staff with a safe space to talk about work stressors and challenges.

Dr. Melinda Muller, Legacy’s associate chief medical officer, played a crucial role in the grant submission and noted the steps ahead. 

“We wanted to do more to support the well-being of all our people,” says Muller. “And these funds give us significant new resources to do that. The grant requires us to assess the organization to determine what interventions we should implement, so there are likely to be a lot of projects coming from those results.”

The grant selection committee highlighted some of Legacy’s community contributions while making its selection:

  • Legacy’s role in caring for vulnerable communities.
  • Legacy’s commitment to medically underserved populations, including staff members of color, LGBTQ+ staff, staff with disabilities and veterans.
  • Legacy’s pledge to address social determinants of health, such as food and housing insecurity.

In collaboration with Legacy Research Institute, Legacy will evaluate the effectiveness of its new programs and make those findings available to other health care organizations.

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