A Letter from the President

January 25, 2022

“2022 Looks Pretty Pretty Pretty Good”

For those of you who may not be familiar with Curb Your Enthusiasm, there was an episode at the beginning of the 2020 season that discusses when exactly it’s too late to say “happy new year”. According to Larry David, it’s only 3 days, so I am well overdue in sending out my happy new year wishes and sentiments.  Admittedly, wishing a happy new year at the beginning of 2022 felt a bit enthusiastic with omicron weighing heavily like a thundercloud getting ready to drop torrents of rain. About three weeks later, there does seem to be a glimmer of sunlight on the horizon with predictions that omicron will peak in the next month or so. 

Despite the uncertainty surrounding the start of this year, one thing is for certain as I reflect on 2021: it brought shining examples of collaboration and innovation in healthcare. HCIF started the year planning for the 15th anniversary of the Partnership for Patient Care program. This program has offered leadership and guidance for the region in quality and patient safety since its inception. Throughout the past year, programming often reflected the needs of our partners, including discussions and resources related to COVID-19. We celebrated our milestone anniversary during the year by highlighting partners through our social media and communications channels and developing new materials, including our 15th anniversary video. The year culminated in our Annual Leadership Summit in November, which while unable to be held in person, was nonetheless compelling and educational. The theme of the summit was health equity and featured healthcare leaders discussing their equity journeys and the links to quality and patient safety.

2021 also saw the launch of our newest program – the Health Equity Data Strategy (HEDS) initiative. This program aims to reduce healthcare disparities by supporting and educating health systems in the collection and utilization of racial, ethnicity, and language (REaL) data. A comprehensive assessment was administered to eight regional health systems in September 2021 to establish a baseline for improvement efforts. This program will continue in 2022 with development of best practice recommendations, sharing of resources, and education from expert leaders.

Cities Changing Diabetes continued to change the landscape of diabetes prevention and management in Philadelphia through targeted community interventions. These include an initiative to train youth champions to support policies that prevent diabetes and obesity; a program that provides resources for individuals with disabilities and diabetes to practice healthy lifestyles; a nutrition and education program to help address obesity, diabetes and chronic conditions in a recently incarcerated population; and a program to engage youth leaders and community health workers to provide health education to a targeted community. Expansion of these initiatives, as well as additional programming through faith-based institutions, is anticipated for 2022.

Work began in earnest in 2021 for the next round of the Southeastern Pennsylvania regional Community Health Needs Assessment (rCHNA). The highly-anticipated report will be released in June 2022 and features a number of expanded areas in this new iteration, updated from 2019. In addition to quantitative data analysis, the report will highlight qualitative data collected from over 40 community discussions, and thoughtfully captures the voice of the youth and other specialized groups.

Our health literacy work continued in 2021 with the delivery of trainings to various groups and a recognition of the linkages between health equity and health literacy. With an opportunity to renew our program in 2021, HCIF engaged a health equity consultant to further pursue these linkages. The consultant will work with HCIF to develop a vision for our health equity work, help us in integrating equity principles into our health literacy materials and programming, and support the development of a health literacy leadership committee.

Other HCIF highlights from 2021 included: the launch of an innovative colorectal cancer screening program; achieving a milestone of over 18,000 cases entered in the Pennsylvania Urologic Regional Collaborative (PURC) registry, and release of patient and clinician education materials related to opioid use and management in the surgical setting.

In April 2021, we launched a comprehensive strategic planning effort which concluded in December. The culmination of this initiative is a strategic roadmap which, rather than providing a step-by-step plan, offers HCIF more flexibility in implementing three new strategic priorities. These are: 1.) develop a strategic approach to advance health equity and positive health outcomes for all, 2.) catalyze efforts to engage patient and community voices more fully, and 3.) integrate clinical improvement and population health frameworks in future programs. The strategic planning imitative also allowed us to revisit our vision and mission statements and we are excited to be guided by these in the future:

Our Vision

Healthier communities through equitable, accessible, and quality health care.  

Our Mission

Driving superior health care through collaboration and shared learning.

So despite some of the uncertainty facing us again in 2022, there is so much promise of good things to come. In fact, in the immortal words of Larry David, 2022 looks pretty pretty pretty good.

Wendy Nickel, MPH, President


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