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GEM(s) in Our Workplace

We will innovate a method for inspiring and acknowledging expressions of Gratitude, Empathy, and Mindfulness (GEM) in our clinic.

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We will develop and prototype a method for inspiring and acknowledging expressions of Gratitude, Empathy, and Mindfulness (GEM) in our clinic that take less than one minute to complete. Our aim is to encourage and provide multiple opportunities to express GEM(s) and increase awareness of the importance of independence among team members.

Plan: We will develop, test and implement the following ideas to cultivate gratitude among employees at the clinic:

  • Enable an in-the-moment method for to staff acknowledge an act of GEM. Possibly an individually wrapped dark chocolate with a label that has a word or statement of GEM.
  • Create a customized, pre-populated post-it note with appreciations and/or acknowledgement of a GEM moment. These post-it notes will live in multiple work spaces so staff can quickly/easily complete and given to the person or stick at a workstation.
  • Any person acknowledging a GEM or receiving an acknowledgement places a colored stone in the clinic GEM jar. As a clinic we understand it is important to “fill our own cup”, but can forget this when clinic life is hectic. The GEM jar will remind us of this and when it is full the whole clinic will participate in an activity that acknowledges our GEM(s) in the workplace.

These ideas will be developed and tested via the clinic’s Trauma Informed Care & Employee Wellness Committee.

“There are little gems all around us that can hold glimmers of inspiration.” –Richelle Mead

Idea Title

GEM(s) in Our Workplace

How the Idea will inspire the experience and expression of gratitude within an organization.

The idea and full concept will be owned by our clinic's Trauma Informed Care Committee where one of our committee tenets is a commitment to employee wellness, resilience, and experiencing more joy at work. This idea will provide increase our vocabulary on gratitude and provide an easy to use in-the-moment method for cultivating gratitude.

Who are you innovating for?

All clinic staff - from Front Desk to Providers.

What type of workplaces are you innovating for?

We are a Federally Qualified Community Health Center serving a large urban neighborhood in SE Portland, Oregon. We have 160 employees and serve over 16,000 community members.

How you envision the Idea being introduced to your selected organization?

Our clinic's Leadership Team chartered our Trauma Informed Care (TIC) Committee made up of employees and community supporters to help us improve our ability to provide better care and to pay more attention to employee wellness, resilience, and to increase the joy in our workplace. The TIC committee will brainstorm, test and implement the final idea for GEM.

What obstacles, if any, do you foresee in implementing this Idea, and how would they be overcome?

We are a hectic, fast-paced clinic and we know other priorities could take over. Obstacles be overcome through engaging our Leadership Team for guidance and direction, but the clinic has a strong track record of creating sustainable care innovations.

How will you test and prototype your solution?

We are currently collecting baseline data from employees on wellness, resilience, and our joy at work. We will use this data for exploring and informing our idea, use our Trauma Informed Care Committee to fine-tune the ideas to test. We are skilled at using the PDSA method for improvement and could deploy this as a tool for testing a change and making tweaks. We are also well supported by our clinic Leadership Team to innovate, test, and implement.

What immediate next steps will you take if you receive an implementation grant.

This award will jump-start our ability to implement an innovative solution more quickly. We are inspired and eager to apply the work of organizations, such as the Greater Good Science Center to apply evidence-based learning and methods to help us create a human-centered approach to increasing GEM(s) in our clinic. This award would also help us with financing the final implementation and product of this work, such as the tokens of gratitude noted in our concept.

At what stage of development is your Idea?

  • Research & Early Testing: You are exploring an idea, gathering inspiration and information needed to test it with real users.
  • Prototyping: You have conducted some small tests or experiments with prospective users and will continue developing idea through these tests.

Please describe from where your Idea emerged

Our Trauma Informed Care Committee did a group brainstorm and email focus group to gather ideas and form the proposed concept.

Tell us about yourself

We are a multi-disciplinary team including: Project Leads: Erin Kirk, MS, Clinic Quality Manager; Jessica Stockton, LCSW, Behavioral Health Consultant; Robert Trachtenberg, MS, Executive Director Trauma Informed Care Committee members include: Nurses, Medical Assistants, Clinic Manager, Front Office, Nurse Practitioner and Social Worker.

Where are you / your team located?

We are in SE Portland, Oregon

Please describe your legal and organizational structure

We area a Federally Qualified Health Center that is part of the not-for-profit Oregon Health Science University hospital system.

Company / Organization Name

OHSU Family Medicine at Richmond Clinic


Tell us about your experience

We are a combination of so many things! We have the honor of being part of the greater academic health center that is Oregon Health Science University, and are also the provider of patient-centered primary care to thousands of underserved community members in the SE Portland area. We have worked to incorporate mindfulness into the lives of our patients to help overcome barriers to improving their health status. We continuously work to improve our care to reflect the needs of our population.


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