Mount Sinai Expands Resilience Program Created for Front-Line Health Care Workers to Larger Community Through Faith-Based

Mount Sinai

Mount Sinai’s Center for Stress, Resilience and Personal Growth (CSRPG) has expanded its resilience training program to people in its surrounding communities through a partnership with faith-based organizations in Harlem, the Bronx, Brooklyn, and Queens, all disproportionately affected by COVID-19.

The Center, the first of its kind, was launched by the Mount Sinai Health System in New York City during the height of the pandemic in April 2020 to address the mental health and overall well-being of front-line health care providers. Its resilience training workshops will now be available to congregants of the participating organizations.

Click here to listen to an episode of Mount Sinai Health System’s podcast, Road to Resilience, on Apple Podcasts and Spotify featuring an interview with a Harlem-based faith leader.

“For nearly two years and in partnership with chaplains from the Mount Sinai Center for Spirituality and Health, the CSRPG has been offering resilience workshops to our health care workforce across the Mount Sinai Health System. Rooted in scientific evidence about specific factors that can help any individual become more resilient, the workshops invite participants to learn about and reflect upon what has enabled them to persevere during the COVID-19 pandemic. They also prepare them for the months and years ahead so they may nurture and further develop their own resiliency in the face of all life’s challenges,” said Jonathan DePierro, PhD, Clinical Director of the Center for Stress, Resilience and Personal Growth. “Although these workshops were initially born for our health care workforce, our intention has always been to learn from and build upon the success of this program so that we could refine, scale up, and adapt it in a way that would help patients and their families in the communities we serve.”

Building upon the Center for Spirituality and Health’s longstanding community engagement effort, which supports health promotion activities in faith-based organizations in Harlem and the Bronx, the CSRPG received funding from the Robin Hood Foundation’s COVID-19 Relief Fund to provide resilience education to faith-based organizations. Through this Building Community Resilience Project, CRSPG staff are training community health advisors—trusted members of faith communities—to deliver resilience workshops to their congregants.

“In close collaboration with faith leaders, we have adapted the resilience curriculum implemented with our health care workers to include scriptures about resilience and growth,” said Zorina Costello, DMin, MS, Director of Community Engagement for the Center for Spirituality and Health and the Center for Stress, Resilience and Personal Growth. “Our ability to bring these workshops into some of the communities that have been hardest hit by the pandemic is built upon more than 10 years of commitment and trust that has been cultivated and nurtured by our Health System and the faith-based organizations that serve as trusted beacons of hope and light in their communities. We see this Building Community Resilience Project as laying a strong foundation for CSRPG’s future work supporting members of our community affected by COVID-19 and other ongoing stressors.”

The team at the Center for Stress, Resilience and Personal Growth has drawn upon Mount Sinai Health System’s extensive expertise in post-disaster intervention and resilience training, which includes decades of learning and study by researchers who worked with prisoners of the Vietnam war as well as with 9/11 first responders through the World Trade Center Health Program’s Clinical Center of Excellence at Mount Sinai. A retrospective review of the Center’s efforts, including expansion into the community, was published in the December 2021 issue of Psychiatry Research.

CSRPG has become a national model for enhancing psychological resilience in health care workers, and its expertise has been increasingly sought after as a resource by other institutions, including outside of the health care industry.

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