Providence St. Joseph Health celebrates first day as a new organization by committing to be a catalyst for improving mental health

July 6, 2016 Michael Connors
July 06, 2016

SEATTLE, Wash. and IRVINE, Calif. – July 6, 2016 – Providence Health & Services and St. Joseph Health have come together to create Providence St. Joseph Health, a not-for-profit health and social services system that will serve as the parent organization for more than 100,000 caregivers (employees) across seven states. The newly formed system celebrated its first day by committing to be a catalyst for improving mental health care in the United States.

“A cornerstone of our missions is addressing significant social, community and health needs of our most vulnerable populations,” said Rod Hochman, M.D., CEO, Providence St. Joseph Health. “One of the most challenging health issues facing our communities today is access to effective mental health services. Together, we will convene diverse partners and will be a catalyst for change for the many who struggle with mental health stigmatization, diagnosis and treatment.”

“Today, we bring together two organizations with shared values, aligned missions and like-minded founders – the Sisters of St. Joseph of Orange and the Sisters of Providence,” said Annette Walker, interim CEO, St. Joseph Health. “Our heritages inspire us to deliver on a new promise to make communities healthier through best practices, expanded access, and greater affordability and services for those who need them most. Our mental health initiative demonstrates our commitment to future generations.”

The Institute for Mental Health and Wellness: A catalyst for change

Providence St. Joseph Health has created the Institute for Mental Health and Wellness, supported by an initial $100 million investment that will be used to identify and advance innovative solutions in mental health.

An expert advisory panel will be convened to create a blueprint for improving mental health care in U.S. communities. Maureen Bisognano, recently retired president and CEO of the Institute for Healthcare Improvement, will serve as the chair of the panel, working alongside Dr. Hochman.

“Improving mental health care takes leadership on all levels, as well as a major commitment of resources,” said Bisognano. “I am looking forward to leading a national conversation around mental health and am excited about what we can achieve together.”

As a part of the efforts, Providence St. Joseph Health and the advisory panel will collaborate with national and local organizations with expertise and long histories of addressing mental health.

“This is an important step in the right direction as we work to address the many gaps in our nation’s mental health system,” said Linda Rosenberg, president and CEO, National Council for Behavioral Health. “I am confident we will make meaningful strides, bringing new hope to the many individuals and families who are affected by mental health challenges.”

The Foundation for Mental Health and Wellness: Funding solutions in communities

The health system has established the Foundation for Mental Health and Wellness to oversee this work, with an initial investment of $100 million. The fund will support research and startup operations for mental health awareness, diagnosis and treatment. Fund distributions will be made through a formalized grant process and be available internally to Providence St. Joseph Health entities as well as other organizations within the communities it serves. Members of the expert advisory panel will provide strategic guidance on the distribution of funds.

The Institute for Mental Health and Wellness will begin operating immediately and the expert panel will convene in the coming months, under the leadership of Chair Bisognano.

“This is a new day for the people of Providence St. Joseph Health, and especially for the communities we serve,” said Dr. Hochman.

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