I am pleased to write to you today as president and CEO of our new parent organization, Providence St. Joseph Health. It’s an honor to serve in this role, and I’m excited to work with you to create a healthier future for everyone in our communities, especially the poor and vulnerable.
Together, Providence Health & Services, St. Joseph Health and our diverse family of organizations will transform the way health care is delivered and will continue to address the health needs of our communities, just as our founders did more than a century ago.
One area where we’ve identified tremendous need is mental health. As caregivers and clinicians, we see the effects of mental illness on a daily basis, often in the form of drug addiction, homelessness and depression. Now, with one in five Americans facing some type of behavioral health issue, it’s clear that incremental change is no longer enough. It’s time for bold thinking and even bolder action.
Today, we are proud to announce the establishment of the Providence St. Joseph Institute for Mental Health and Wellness, which will work to identify and advance innovative solutions in mental health. We are honored that Maureen Bisognano, former president and CEO of the Institute for Healthcare Improvement, will lead this effort. She will serve as the chairwoman of a new expert advisory panel, which we are convening to create a blueprint for improving mental health at the local and national level.
We are also thrilled to have the support of the top mental health associations in the country, including the National Council on Behavioral Health and the National Alliance on Mental Health, who have agreed to be advisors and help inform the development of this initiative. We look forward to working with both organizations to ensure everyone in our communities has greater access to mental health resources and services.
Initially, we will invest $100 million to support advances in behavioral health, including awareness, diagnosis and treatment. There will be a formal grant process for programs and services within the Providence St. Joseph Health family, as well as other organizations in the communities we serve. We look forward to sharing more details in the near future about the institute and how to apply for funding.
A gift in honor of our people
Our greatest asset, as a combined organization, is our people. Together, we are a family of 106,000 employees/caregivers, and when you add in our physicians, volunteers and board members, we are 143,000 people strong. Within the larger commitment, we are immediately donating $1.43 million in the name of our people to local and national mental health organizations.
To everyone in our organization, we are grateful for all you do. Thank you for sharing your personal gifts and talents with us each day, and for the love and respect you share with one another and the people we serve. Bringing real solutions to the mental health crisis and transforming health care for our communities are no small feats. But working together in the spirit of our founders, we know anything is possible.