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Press Releases

20 New Wellness Rooms Open to Support Healthcare Workers’ Well-Being

In 2022, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention reported that nearly half of health workers said they felt burned out

Internal staff surveys show that wellness rooms can decrease stress, anxiety, feelings of being depressed, compassion fatigue, and burnout, and increase positive mood and cognitive alertness.

Jun 26, 2024

Shari Aronson, Trustee, The Jeffrey H. and Shari L. Aronson Family Foundation; NYC Health + Hospitals Chief Wellness Officer Jeremy Segall; NYC Health + Hospitals/Metropolitan CEO Cristina Contreras; and others celebrate the systemwide opening of 20 wellness rooms

NYC Health + Hospitals announced the completion of 20 new wellness rooms where staff can decompress during the workday. The million-dollar project, funded primarily by philanthropic dollars, was designed by WXY Studio and took two years to complete. The newly renovated lounges include high quality furniture, soothing lighting elements, artificial plants, aesthetic enhancements such as wall graphics and decals, and works from the health system’s art collection. The wellness rooms provide a centralized location for wellness programming, where staff can socialize and connect with colleagues, engage in peer support, learn more about internal and external wellness resources, participate in wellness events, and connect to their own concrete needs. They also provide a space for staff to relax, take a break, and rejuvenate before tending to patient care delivery. The Jeffrey H. and Shari L. Aronson Family Foundation gave a leadership contribution to support the creation of the 20 wellness rooms. Several other donors also contributed to the project, including the Ira W. DeCamp Foundation and The George Link, Jr. Foundation.

The new wellness room at NYC Health + Hospitals/Coler.

In 2022, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention reported that nearly half of health workers said they felt burned out and recently stated that there is a bourgeoning mental health crisis for healthcare workers. The Physicians Foundation found that over 76% of physicians, residents, and medical students agree that physician mental health stigma still exists. Internal staff surveys show that wellness rooms can decrease stress, anxiety, feelings of being depressed, compassion fatigue, and burnout, and increase positive mood and cognitive alertness. The wellness rooms are the latest addition to the health system’s investment in workforce wellness as part of the overarching Helping Healers Heal (H3) program. Other programs that offer employee support include the HHArt of Medicine program, an observational art program to help combat staff burnout and compassion fatigue, as well as the Employee Assistance Program where staff can seek outside professional mental health services.

The new wellness room at NYC Health + Hospitals/Metropolitan (Credit: Katherine Hui).

“The World Health Organization (WHO) defines burnout as ‘a disease of the 21st century’ while the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has newly declared stress a hazard of the workplace,” said NYC Health + Hospitals Chief Wellness Officer Jeremy Segall, MA, RDT, LCAT. “Our U.S. Surgeon General, Dr. Vivek Murthy, issued a warning about burnout among the nation’s health care staff including the potential for severe worker shortages in the years ahead if the situation is not addressed. The nation is at a boiling point where our country could be less prepared for future public health emergencies due to workers leaving the healthcare industry because of poor mental health and well-being. At NYC Health + Hospitals we tackle the adversities associated with stress, anxiety, feelings of being depressed, compassion fatigue, and burnout head on by investing in workforce wellness. We care about our staff so that they in turn can take care of the populations that we serve.”  

“Our family has long been committed to helping expand access to opportunity for all people—and support for health and mental health care has become a critical component of how we aim to achieve this goal through our Foundation,” said Shari Aronson, Trustee, The Jeffrey H. and Shari L. Aronson Family Foundation. “Furthermore, as New Yorkers, we were deeply inspired by the enduring commitment and heroism of the NYC Health + Hospitals team during the pandemic, and we realized early on that they needed to be cared for as well. We are immensely proud to have been able to support the Helping Healers Heal initiative, and to contribute to a strong and enduring culture of wellness across this incredible hospital system, which sustains our city, and the most vulnerable members within our community, each day.”

Staff relaxing in the new wellness room at NYC Health + Hospitals/McKinney.

“The Arts in Medicine department curates using intentional design principles. This lens considers the communities that will be experiencing the environments we develop,” said NYC Health + Hospitals Assistant Vice President of Arts in Medicine Larissa Trinder. “We could not be more proud to be a part of the wellness rooms at NYC Health + Hospitals. These spaces are meant to support and value our workforce that takes care of all of us. We are grateful to be a part of a larger system wide wellness strategy that looks out for the mental health of our staff.”

“We wanted to create a space where our staff feel supported and valued, and we are excited to open this beautiful new wellness center because we know that true wellness begins from the inside out,” said Cristina Contreras, LMSW, MPA, FABC, Chief Executive Officer, NYC Health + Hospitals/Metropolitan. “This new center will provide a respite for staff, who often prioritize taking care of our patients over their own self-care, to take a break from a stressful day. It is a representation of Metropolitan’s dedication to holistic health and offers a variety of wellness programs aimed at enhancing our staff’s physical and emotional well-being.”

“We see the wellness rooms as spaces of social connection, with colorful nature graphics that aim to nurture and support our essential healthcare workforce,” said Julie Torres Moskovitz, Director of Sustainability for WXY, the architecture firm that designed the new wellness rooms. “This project came into fruition with a beautiful collaboration from so many different voices. The results are remaking these neutral spaces into art- and nature-filled zones to recharge and relax, and we are excited to see the project evolve with a life of its own now that the doors are open.”

“Before this wellness room opened, we didn’t have a space where we could take a break,” said Jaslyn Reyes, BSN, RN, AMB-BC, Head Nurse of the pediatric clinic at NYC Health + Hospitals/Metropolitan. “Now, we have a place to decompress. The atmosphere is so calming, you can’t help but feel more relaxed.”

Launched at NYC Health + Hospitals in 2018, the Helping Healers Heal program (H3) is aimed at helping employees identify and monitor distress, assisting in resilience-building, and aiding the use of recovery and coping support services. The program is rooted in national research that points to health care providers as “second victims” of traumatic events commonly experienced in all healthcare settings. Since its launch, the program has grown to be more inclusive of compassion fatigue, burnout, complex and collective trauma, and more. All H3 teams include licensed mental health practitioners and other behavioral health experts.


CONTACT: Press Office


About NYC Health + Hospitals
NYC Health + Hospitals is the largest public health care system in the nation serving more than a million New Yorkers annually in more than 70 patient care locations across the city’s five boroughs. A robust network of outpatient, neighborhood-based primary and specialty care centers anchors care coordination with the system’s trauma centers, nursing homes, post-acute care centers, home care agency, and MetroPlus health plan—all supported by 11 essential hospitals. Its diverse workforce of more than 43,000 employees is uniquely focused on empowering New Yorkers, without exception, to live the healthiest life possible. For more information, visit www.nychealthandhospitals.org and stay connected on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn.