Chair File: Learning from Our Leaders

Today, we continue to grapple not only with the COVID-19 pandemic, but also a dangerously polarized election, ongoing civil unrest in the face of untenable systemic racism … and now, 94 major wildfires that are devastating our West Coast neighbors, families and friends, as well as recent hurricanes that have brought new challenges to our colleagues in the South. 

Through it all, teams of compassionate professionals give care. They comfort and heal … no matter if they’re now living in a hotel with their family of five, or if they’re waiting anxiously for news, good or bad. They continue to care, like they always have, because it’s who they are. For that, we are all grateful to them and for them. 

It’s this spirit of caring for and about our health care colleagues that drives my Leadership Rounds podcast and video series, where I talk with hospital and health system leaders from across the country on topics relating to our collective COVID-19 response. 

Leadership Rounds is a way to stay connected in this unprecedented year of stress, workload, patient needs and workforce demands. But 2020 also has been a time of incredible learning through experience. 

And in that experience is where l believe we’ll find our path forward. Our patients and our people are counting on us to do just that. And they are always at the heart of our mission.

In every Leadership Rounds conversation I’ve had, my guests have emphasized the importance of our responsibility in finding the health care solutions our communities need and of caring for our most vulnerable populations—not just as providers but as neighbors—and of placing the safety and welfare of our teams as a top priority at all times.  

Whether that means the COVID-19-induced mental health issues discussed by Sheppard Pratt’s CEO Dr. Harsh Trivedi. Or the specific and particular needs of vibrant, multicultural communities, as Dr. David Perlstein shared in discussing the patients his team serves at SBH Health System in the Bronx.  Or how a shift from preparation to proactivity can enhance our mission from the care of our patients to a public health focus of caring for all, like Rachelle Schultz shared about her hospital, Winona Health. 

There’s so much to learn from each other, and it’s here for the taking—courtesy of the AHA and its commitment to see us through this crisis and all its multitude of ramifications.