Year of Publication



Public Health

Date Available


Degree Name

Master of Public Health (M.P.H.)

Committee Chair

Erin N. Haynes, DrPH, MS

Committee Member

Richard Crosby, DrPH

Committee Member

Susan Spengler, MD, MPH


Abstract Title: Recharge Moments

Background: Recent articles from the CDC and other healthcare agencies have demonstrated the detrimental effects that the COVID-19 pandemic is having on the physical and mental health of the healthcare workforce. Unfortunately, they were less informative in regard to those working for local public health departments. Pre-pandemic and concurrent publications on mindfulness-based interventions have demonstrated the positive and protective effects mindfulness-based interventions can have on burnout prevention and resilience promotion. To gain a better understanding of how the current pandemic might be affecting the public health workforce and to assess whether mindfulness-based interventions would be helpful to this demographic under these current situations, the Recharge Moments program was developed and implemented at a local health department.

Methods: To assess factors of burnout and the mental health status of current employees at Lexington Fayette County Health, a 10-item, Likert scale was developed and proved to be reliable and validated on a random sample population within the health department. To assess the feasibility of implementing the Recharge Moments (short mindful approved employee breaks), a second 10-item, Likert scale was created to assess employee break time tendencies and habits. These two scales were combined with the addition of other questions to create a quasi-experimental pilot study utilizing a pre-and posttest-survey design to measure the effectiveness and utilization of the Recharge Moment program and to gain a better understanding of how the COVID 19 pandemic is affecting the mental and physical health of the employees. Volunteer participants from all departments within the health department who were full-time and currently employed completed the questionnaire: preintervention (n =90), postintervention (n=43). The Recharge Moments program was designed to be a 10-week curriculum, based on weekly emails encouraging mindful breaks while also teaching employees multiple mindfulness-based interventions to utilize during their day to help mitigate work-related stressors.

Results:We noticed encouraging results in the analyses of the pre-and posttest-data on both the qualitative and quantitative assessments. Those that participated in the Recharge Moments program showed improvement in their break time tendencies. They were less likely to utilize their breaks to perform work-related tasks (p=0.05) and less likely to think about/discuss work during their breaks (p=0.0016). The intervention had an effect size of 0.453 with 95% CI [0.085,0.82] on employees' response to "think or discuss work during breaks”. A positive correlation was seen between employees who think about / discuss work during breaks and overall burnout score (r=.30 p=0.04). An increase in program participation correlated with improved break-tie habits (p

Conclusion: The implementation of the Recharge Moment program and encouraging mindfulness-based interventions could help prevent employees from thinking about and discussing work during their breaks. Thus, allowing employees to "recharge" between tasks and lessen many stress-related elements that are contributing to employee burnout. Weekly emails may be a useful reminder to encourage mindful breaks. Workplace leadership and administrative support are encouraged.

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