President’s Update: July 2021

July 28, 2021 | Wendy Nickel

Like many people across the world right now, I am captivated by the Olympic games. What is it about this event that is so compelling, that seems to suck people in, and dominate our collective psyche for two weeks every few years?  For me, it’s connecting to the human stories of the games and recognizing that people make so many sacrifices to achieve the highest pinnacle of competition by participating in the Olympics. Many of the competitors are people you’ve never heard of, and may never hear of again, but they continue to work tirelessly to achieve their Olympic dreams every day. Sometimes there is heartbreak, such as Simone Biles’ withdrawal from the competition, and sometimes there is incredible victory, such as Katie Ledecky’s amazing swimming performance.

As I thought about this month’s column, it occurred to me that HCIF and our partners face our own Olympics of sorts on a much more immediate basis. There are the everyday heroes who we may never be able to name who rise above day in and day out to meet the needs of our patients. There are the community partners who work to provide resources for their vulnerable clients and communities. There are the hospitals and healthcare stakeholders who band together to address public health crises, such as COVID. While medals may not be doled out for this work, we are driven by our own Olympic goal of supporting the well-being of all Americans through the provision of high-quality, equitable, and transformative healthcare.

HCIF is currently re-visiting goals we formulated during our last fiscal year and determining our goals for this fiscal year. In collaboration with our partners and colleagues, we achieved many programmatic victories during FY21. These include authentic engagement of community members in listening sessions to understand needs related to blood pressure management; reducing the biopsy complication rate for men with prostate cancer; and identifying individuals at high-risk for colorectal cancer. We also achieved organizational victories, such as developing partnerships with new stakeholders important to our mission, bringing on new Board members, addressing racism and health equity, and achieving wider exposure to our work.  However, this work doesn’t come without heartbreak and there were goals we were not able to achieve, primarily due to COVID-related factors and unanticipated challenges.  But this is all a part of our own Olympic story and recognizing that we’ll be back next year trying to overcome challenges to achieve metaphorical medals.

As we look towards Olympic gold in fiscal year 2022, our goals will be to continue providing high quality programming and support, while developing plans to expand our organizational focus, priorities, and impact.  We will fully launch our exciting new health equity data strategy program, complete the next regional community health needs assessment, and celebrate the 15th anniversary of the Partnership for Patient Care program. We will also continue to strive for equitable care for all and develop new organizational strategies to achieve this goal.

Thank you to our staff, Board members, partners, funders and other stakeholders for continuing to support our Olympic dreams.

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