Results from the National Taskforce for Humanity in Healthcare's Integrated, Organizational Pilot Program to Improve Well-Being.



In health care, burnout remains a persistent and significant problem. Evidence now exists that organizational initiatives are vital to address health care worker (HCW) well-being in a sustainable way, though system-level interventions are pursued infrequently.


Between November 2018 and May 2020, researchers engaged five health system and physician practice sites to participate in an organizational pilot intervention that integrated evidence-based approaches to well-being, including a comprehensive culture assessment, leadership and team development, and redesign of daily workflow with an emphasis on cultivating positive emotions.


All primary and secondary outcome measures demonstrated directionally concordant improvement, with the primary outcome of emotional exhaustion (0-100 scale, lower better; 43.12 to 36.42, p = 0.037) and secondary outcome of likelihood to recommend the participating department's workplace as a good place to work (1-10 scale, higher better; 7.66 to 8.20, p = 0.037) being statistically significant. Secondary outcomes of emotional recovery (0-100 scale, higher better; 76.60 to 79.53, p = 0.20) and emotional thriving (0-100 scale, higher better; 76.70 to 79.23, p = 0.27) improved but were not statistically significant.


An integrated, skills-based approach, focusing on team culture and interactions, leadership, and workflow redesign that cultivates positive emotions was associated with improvements in HCW well-being. This study suggests that simultaneously addressing multiple drivers of well-being can have significant impacts on burnout and workplace environment.





Published Version (Please cite this version)


Publication Info

Pierce, Read G, William J Maples, Jennifer Krippner, J Bryan Sexton, Pam Adams, Theresa Amerson, Adam Breslow, David Clark, et al. (2021). Results from the National Taskforce for Humanity in Healthcare's Integrated, Organizational Pilot Program to Improve Well-Being. Joint Commission journal on quality and patient safety, 47(9). pp. 581–590. 10.1016/j.jcjq.2021.05.010 Retrieved from

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John Bryan Sexton

Associate Professor in Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences

Bryan is the Director of the Duke Center for the Advancement of Well-being Science.  He leads the efforts around research, training and coaching, guiding quality improvement and well-being activities.  


A psychologist member of the Department of Psychiatry, Bryan is a psychometrician and spends time developing methods of assessing and improving safety culture, teamwork, leadership and especially work-force well-being.  Currently, he is disseminating the results from a successful NIH R01 grant that used RCTs to show that we can cause enduring improvements in healthcare worker well-being. 


A perpetually recovering father of four, he enjoys running, using hand tools on wood, books on Audible, and hearing particularly good explanations of extremely complicated topics.

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