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Legacy Health wins exclusive $2 million federal grant to address mental health and wellness among health care workers


Vicki Guinn

Legacy Health                 


Oregon-based Legacy is one of only 10 health care organizations in the United States to receive a grant and the only one in the Northwest.

PORTLAND, ORE. – Feb. 16, 2022 – Legacy Health has been awarded a three-year $2.2 million federal grant to develop or enhance programs that reduce health care worker stress, improve employee wellness, and help retain workers.

Legacy is one of only 10 health care organizations in the nation to receive this grant funding from a division of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the only organization in the Northwest.

The grant arrives as the nation enters the third year of the COVID-19 pandemic and an ongoing staffing crisis that’s required incredible sacrifices from health care workers to serve communities during their times of need.

“Now more than ever, it is important to support the mental and physical health of our staff to build resilience and alleviate moral distress among our workforce,” said Kathryn Correia, Legacy Health’s president and chief executive officer. “The last two years have taken an enormous toll on us all, particularly those delivering care in the most challenging of circumstances. We are honored to be one of only a few organizations nationally to receive this grant award.”

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has provided $103 million in awards to address the national staffing shortage among health care workers. Legacy received funding through the Promoting Resilience and Mental Health Among Health Professional Workforce Program run by the Health Resources & Services Administration.

Legacy Associate Chief Medical Officer Melinda Muller, MD, was a leader in the grant submission. “We wanted to do more to support the wellbeing of all our people, and these funds give us significant new resources to do that,” Muller said. “The grant requires us to assess the organization to determine what interventions we should implement, so there are likely to be a lot of projects coming from those results.”

Legacy will use the grant, provided over three years, to fund new evidence-based programs that support physical, psychological, and professional safety for the staff, including physicians. In addition, the funds allow Legacy to expand or build upon these existing wellness programs:

  • Legacy’s 12 therapeutic gardens, designed to create healing environments.
  • The Oregon Wellness Program offers free, confidential counseling sessions to health care professionals.
  • The Helping Hand Program that provides emergency financial assistance for current staff.
  • The Schwartz Center for Compassionate Healthcare a national program that creates a safe space for staff to discuss stressors and challenges. 
The grant selection committee highlighted the following reasons for selecting Legacy:
  • Legacy plays a unique role in caring for vulnerable communities as a non-profit health system.
  • Legacy’s wellness plan is culturally responsive to historically medically underserved populations, including staff members of color, LGBTQ+ staff, staff with disabilities, and veterans.
  • Legacy’s plan also seeks to address social determinants of health, such as food and housing insecurity.
  • Through the Legacy Research Institute, Legacy will be able to evaluate the results of the new programs and make those learnings available to other health care organizations, extending the benefit from this grant even further.

About Legacy Health
Legacy Health is a locally owned, nonprofit health system driven by our mission to improve the health of those around us. We offer a unique blend of health services – from wellness and urgent care to dedicated children’s care and advanced medical centers – to care for patients of all ages when and where they need us across the Portland/Vancouver metro area and mid-Willamette Valley. With an eye toward a healthier community, our partnerships tackle vital issues such as housing and mental health. Legacy strives to help everyone live healthier and better lives, with the vision of being essential to the health of the region. For more information, visit