Richard Westphal lectures
Westphal lectures to a crowd of attendees about the Stress First Aid and peer support approach he pioneered at a 2023 Sigma International Nursing Conference.

More than 3,700 health workers trained in Stress First Aid. Five Virginia counties' emergency response professionals reached. Countless lives impacted and immeasurable improvements to patient care made.

"The future of healthcare does not need to look like the last five years," said professor Richard Westphal, US Navy veteran, mental health nurse practitioner, and one of 45 grantees who earned funding through the 2020 America Rescue Plan and the Dr. Lorna Breen Heroes' Foundation Healthcare Provider Protection Act.

The $2.14M grant enabled Westphal and colleagues to establish UVA Health's Wisdom & Wellbeing program, which meaningfully builds healthcare workers' ability to identify stress injuries, manage them, and support one another.

With the Act's upcoming reauthorization in summer 2024, "the hope," Westphal explained, "is for all healthcare professionals to come to work to learn to gather and to know that we matter in the work that we do."

At UVA School of Nursing, we have seen the impact of this work first-hand, and, with Dr. Lorna Breen Heroes' Foundation leaders, seek and support the Act's reauthorization by Congress in summer 2024.

Want to help keep American healthcare professionals both wise AND well? Support the Act's reauthorization here ➡️


Learn about stress injuries, and the Stress First Aid approach; explore UVA Health's Wisdom & Wellbeing web site for team-building resources and an immediate help-line; Watch "Breaking the Silence," a film about mental illness and suicide among healthcare staff; and peruse the Compassionate Care Initiative's regular roster of in-person and virtual activities to build individual coping.