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Take the YNHHS Buddy Challenge

Senior leaders have a challenge for all Yale New Haven Health employees: Find one colleague and make that person your buddy.

Throughout 2020, YNHHS has rolled out several programs designed to support employee well-being. These include the Buddy Program, which encourages staff in similar roles to pair up, check in daily and help each other promote physical, emotional and psychological well-being.

The Buddy Program helps build connections and resiliency for everyone facing unprecedented challenges and stressors at any time. The program is proven to improve the safety and mental health of those in severe crisis situations, said Javier Alvarado, LCSW, YNHHS director of Social Work.

“At its core, the Buddy Program is about connection,” he said. “Social connection is vital to our well-being. The Buddy Program was created in alignment with YNHHS’ values of accountability and compassion. Its goal is to instill a sense of caring and responsibility for one another that extends beyond times of crisis.”

Noting the strain the pandemic response has placed on healthcare workers, Stephen G. Jones, MD, YNHHS medical director of Safety, challenges staff to reach out to at least one colleague for a regular “check-in” over the next few weeks, and have that buddy check in on you in return.

“These difficult times have revealed more about our strengths than our weaknesses, but after so much, for so long, even resilience can be stretched,” said Dr. Jones. “Airlines routinely remind us to put the oxygen mask on ourselves first, then on our child because we need to be there for the child. We need to think the same way in order to best care for our patients. It begins by first caring for ourselves and each other.”

A short video explaining the benefits of the Buddy Program is available on the Employee Well-being and Resources intranet page (in network only). Managers are encouraged to share the video with their staff at team huddles or in email communication. For more information on the YNHHS Buddy Program, call 203-688-1855 or visit the YNHHS COVID-19 resources page (in network only).