October 7, 2021

As half of health care workers report burnout amid COVID-19, AMA acknowledges achievements that
improve joy in medicine

The American Medical Association (AMA) recognized 44 health care organizations as recipients of the 2021 Joy in Medicine™ Health System Recognition Program. The AMA distinction recognizes health systems with a demonstrated commitment to preserving the well-being of health care team members by engaging in proven efforts to combat work-related stress and burnout.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has placed extraordinary stress on physicians and other health care professionals,” said AMA President Gerald E. Harmon, M.D. “While it is always important for health systems to focus on the well-being of care teams, the imperative is greater than ever as acute stress from combatting the COVID-19 pandemic has contributed to higher rates of work overload, anxiety, and depression. The health systems we recognize today are true leaders in promoting an organizational response that makes a difference in the lives of the health care workforce.”

A national study examining the experiences of physicians and other health care workers who worked in health care systems during the COVID-19 pandemic found that 38% self-reported experiencing anxiety or depression, while 43% suffered from work overload and 49% had burnout.

Candidates for the Joy in Medicine Health System Recognition Program were evaluated according to their documented efforts to reduce work-related burnout through system level drivers. Scoring criteria was based on demonstrated competencies in commitment, assessment, leadership, efficiency of practice environment, teamwork, and support.

The recipients of 2021 Joy in Medicine Health System Recognition Program are:

Ascension Medical Group
Atrium Health
Atrius Health
Bassett Healthcare Network
BJC Medical Group
Boston Medical Center
Bozeman Health
Centra Medical Group
Children's Mercy Kansas City
Children's Primary Care Medical Group
Christus Physician Group
Confluence Health
Harvard Medical Faculty at Beth Israel
Deaconess Medical Center
Heartland Health Centers
Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai
Kootenai Health
LCMC Health
Massachusetts General Physicians Organization
Mayo Clinic
MedStar Health
Mercy Medical Group
Michigan Medicine, University of Michigan
MidMichigan Health
New Hanover Regional Medical Center
Northwestern Medicine
Oak Street Health
Ochsner Health
Orlando Health
Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center
Sanford Health
South Georgia Medical Center
Southern California Permanente Medical Group
Spectrum Health
Spectrum Healthcare Partners
Stanford Medicine
SUNY Upstate Medical University
Thundermist Health Center
UCHealth Southern Region
UCHealth University of Colorado Hospital on
the Anschutz Medical Campus
UNC Health
University of Utah Health

Launched in 2019, the Joy in Medicine Health System Recognition Program is a component of the AMA’s practice transformation efforts, an ambitious initiative to advance evidence-based solutions that fill the knowledge gap in effective solutions to the physician burnout crisis.

“The recognition program offers a roadmap to guide health system leaders who are interested, engaged and committed in efforts to fight the root causes of burnout in the health care workforce,” said AMA Vice President of Professional Satisfaction Christine Sinsky, M.D. “The 44 health systems recognized this year by the AMA are creating momentum in the health care community for a united commitment to wide spanning change in the culture of medicine that emphasizes professional well-being in health care.

The AMA continues to work on every front to address the physician burnout crisis. Through our research, collaborations, advocacy and leadership, the AMA is working to make the patient‐physician relationship more valued than paperwork, preventive care the focus of the future, technology an asset and not a burden, and physician burnout a thing of the past.

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Media Contact:
Robert J. Mills
AMA Media & Editorial
(312) 464-5970
About the AMA
The AMA is the physicians’ powerful ally in patient care. As the only medical association that convenes 190+ state and specialty medical societies and other critical stakeholders, the AMA represents physicians with a unified voice to all key players in healthcare. The AMA leverages its strength by removing the obstacles that interfere with patient care, leading the charge to prevent chronic disease and confront public health crises and driving the future of medicine to tackle the biggest challenges in healthcare. For more information, visit ama-assn.org.