President’s Update: September 2022

September 26, 2022 | Wendy Nickel

Summer Should Get a Speeding Ticket

I read this quote recently somewhere and it really resonated – merely a few days into the fall, the blur of summer feels like a distant memory. It used to be that summer was a time of catch up and slow-down in professional life – fewer events, fewer meetings, and more time to savor the longer days and the sun’s reflections casting light across the office. However, the pace didn’t seem to slow this summer at HCIF, as we had a number of exciting projects and initiatives that continued to keep us busy throughout the season.

Our summer kicked off with our Health Literacy Summit in June, a 2-day virtual journey exploring concepts related to equity, inclusive care, and connection to our inner patient. It was a fascinating two-day event which highlighted and elevated patient voices in a panel discussion about how health literacy can be a catalyst for achieving health equity. It also featured a moving presentation following the journey of an individual with substance use disorder and the barriers he encountered in receiving care, until a lens of inclusion was applied to his healthcare pathway. Our next health literacy summit is coming up in just a few weeks on October 27th, and is sure to be equally as engaging.

The region’s hospitals and healthsystems achieved a major milestone with the completion of the regional Community Health Needs Assessment (rCHNA) on June 30th, 2022. Facilitated by HCIF, the rCHNA identifies a number of health issues the broader Southeastern Pennsylvania area can use to prioritize efforts and resources. Some of these priorities include: mental health conditions, access to care, chronic disease prevention and management, substance use disorders, and racism and healthcare disparities.

In July, HCIF held a quarterly Board of Directors meeting to coincide with the end of our fiscal year. During this meeting, HCIF reviewed achievements related to annual organizational and programmatic goals. One of the goals we have been working towards for the past year is the development of a vision statement to guide our work in anti-racism:

“As a collaborative partner invested in the health of diverse communities, HCIF strongly values and centers health equity, accessibility to health care, and freedom from health care harm. We firmly believe we can only achieve equity when all are ensured the right to safe, high quality, and compassionate health care.

HCIF strongly condemns racism and bigotry which are in direct opposition to equity and perpetuate poor health outcomes and disparities. HCIF commits to fighting racism by using and sharing our collective knowledge, influence, and power to advance high quality health care for all communities.”

We recognize that statements are just that….without actions, they are just words. We have worked hard since 2020 to ensure that our words are backed up with forward progress, by educating our team, participating in discussion forums, and engaging resources to support our health equity and anti-racism journey. In the coming months, we will be working on actions and commitments we can make as an organization to ensure our anti-racism work is sustained.

Beginning in August, HCIF also welcomed three new staff members over the past several weeks: Lauren Eckel (Project Coordinator), Sehrish Rashid (Project Manager), and Meghan Smith (Project Manager). We are excited to have them join HCIF and eagerly await the many ways they are sure to contribute to the important work of our organization.

The summer sped by and the fall is looking quite busy too for HCIF. We look forward to keeping you updated on our many events and milestones through future Highlights newsletters and our social media spaces. In the meantime, savor these last few warm days and longer periods of daylight before the fall becomes a distant memory.

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