Charitable gift from the Halvorsen Family Foundation establishes the Halvorsen Wellness Center at HSS

Hospital for Special Surgery (HSS) announced the creation of the Halvorsen Wellness Center, which will be focused on elevating the emotional and physical health of the Hospital’s staff.

As the world leader in musculoskeletal health, HSS continually assesses how best to improve its clinical outcomes. An increasingly important factor in these considerations is the health and well-being of its staff. Diane and Andreas Halvorsen have made an extraordinary commitment of $5 million to address this critical issue by establishing a dedicated space and supportive programming that will bring the institution’s enhanced vision for wellness to life.

“The unprecedented impact of COVID-19 has exacerbated the toll of stress on our nation’s healthcare workers and providers,” said Bryan T. Kelly, MD, MBA, HSS surgeon-in-chief and medical director. “Physician burnout is especially acute among surgeons with specialty training in disciplines like orthopedics. The mental, emotional, and physiological health of all HSS staff is crucial for the well-being of our patients.”

The Halvorsen Center will be located on the first and fourth floors of a newly acquired building on East 74th Street. The space will feature private rooms for counseling and exams, a centralized area for education/exercise classes, and much more. The Center’s wellness programming will include peer support services, strategic coaching, individual counseling, wellness lectures, and more.

“We understand the importance of maintaining and safeguarding the emotional and physical health of physicians, clinicians, and healthcare staff,” Diane and Andreas Halvorsen—dedicated champions of physician and staff wellness at HSS—said in a statement. “We believe that the Center will have a direct impact on the health of everybody at HSS—staff and patients alike.”

There is a robust body of literature exploring clinician stress, and recent studies have found that levels of stress have increased since the advent of the COVID-19 pandemic. Burnout—defined as a condition arising from workplace stress that includes emotional exhaustion, depersonalization, cynicism, and a reduced sense of accomplishment— has grown as well.

As Steven Forti, the chief wellness and resiliency officer at HSS, noted, “Providing extraordinary care can strain healthcare providers emotional and physical well-being. The Halvorsen’s generous gift will allow us to take a novel proactive approach in equipping staff with the tools required to perform at their highest level in this dynamic field.”

“A dedicated wellness center for medical and support staff is vital to our overall mission of providing the best musculoskeletal care in the world,” said Louis A. Shapiro, president and CEO of HSS. “As we seek to continually advance patient care, the Halvorsen Center will encourage a culture of wellness among our physicians and staff while simultaneously offering important solutions to inspire change from the inside out.”

Construction of the Halvorsen Center is expected to begin in early 2022.

About HSS

HSS is the world’s leading academic medical center focused on musculoskeletal health. At its core is Hospital for Special Surgery, nationally ranked No. 1 in orthopedics (for the 12th consecutive year), No. 4 in rheumatology by U.S. News & World Report (2021-2022), and the best pediatric orthopedic hospital in NY, NJ and CT by U.S. News & World Report “Best Children’s Hospitals” list (2021-2022). HSS is ranked world #1 in orthopedics by Newsweek (2021-2022). Founded in 1863, the Hospital has the lowest complication and readmission rates in the nation for orthopedics, and among the lowest infection rates. HSS was the first in New York State to receive Magnet Recognition for Excellence in Nursing Service from the American Nurses Credentialing Center five consecutive times. The global standard total knee replacement was developed at HSS in 1969. An affiliate of Weill Cornell Medical College, HSS has a main campus in New York City and facilities in New Jersey, Connecticut and in the Long Island and Westchester County regions of New York State, as well as in Florida. In addition to patient care, HSS leads the field in research, innovation and education. The HSS Research Institute comprises 20 laboratories and 300 staff members focused on leading the advancement of musculoskeletal health through prevention of degeneration, tissue repair and tissue regeneration. The HSS Global Innovation Institute was formed in 2016 to realize the potential of new drugs, therapeutics and devices. The HSS Education Institute is a trusted leader in advancing musculoskeletal knowledge and research for physicians, nurses, allied health professionals, academic trainees, and consumers in more than 130 countries. The institution is collaborating with medical centers and other organizations to advance the quality and value of musculoskeletal care and to make world-class HSS care more widely accessible nationally and internationally.

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