PHOTOS/VIDEO: Kaine Congratulates Charlottesville Family on Prestigious Award for Mental Health Advocacy
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senator Tim Kaine met with Charlottesville residents Jennifer and Corey Feist to congratulate them ahead of a ceremony tonight where they will receive a Surgeon General’s Medallion for successfully advocating for the enactment of Senator Kaine’s bipartisan Dr. Lorna Breen Health Care Provider Protection Act, legislation to promote health care provider mental health. The bill was named in honor of Jennifer’s sister Dr. Lorna Breen, a physician from Charlottesville who died by suicide after working on the front lines of COVID. The Medallion is the highest civilian honor the U.S. Surgeon General can present.
“I am immensely grateful to Jennifer and Corey Feist and Dr. Breen’s entire family for their work to turn their grief into action and provide our healers with the robust support they need and deserve. I was honored to partner with them to get the Dr. Lorna Breen Health Care Provider Protection Act signed into law and offer my sincerest congratulations today on the Surgeon General’s Medallion for their advocacy. I will continue to work with them to stand up for our health care heroes,” Kaine said.
Specifically, the Dr. Lorna Breen Health Care Provider Protection Act:
- Establishes grants for health profession schools, academic health centers, or other institutions to help them train health workers in strategies to prevent suicide, burnout, mental health conditions, and substance use disorders. The grants aim to help improve health care professionals’ well-being and job satisfaction.
- Seeks to identify and disseminate evidence-informed best practices for reducing and preventing suicide and burnout among health care professionals, training health care professionals in appropriate strategies, and promoting their mental and behavioral health and job satisfaction.
- Establishes a national evidence-based education and awareness campaign targeting health care professionals to encourage them to seek support and treatment for mental and behavioral health concerns.
- Establishes grants for health care providers and professional associations for employee education, peer-support programming, and mental and behavioral health treatment.
- Establishes a comprehensive study on health care professional mental and behavioral health and burnout, including the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on such professionals’ health.
Since first introducing the bill in July 2020, Senator Kaine has been a leader in addressing the mental health impact of the pandemic on health care workers and has continued to urge Congress to prioritize this issue. Some provisions modeled after the Dr. Lorna Breen Health Care Provider Protection Act were funded by the American Rescue Plan Act, which was signed into law in March 2021—resulting in $5.6 million in federal grants being allocated to Virginia in January 2022 to promote mental health among health care providers.