Healthcare’s Future Can Learn from the Past

Healthcare’s Future Can Learn from the Past


“With Great Power Comes Great Responsibility”

I was honored and humbled at my doctoral commencement ceremony at Chatham University in Pittsburgh. As I sat in Soliders and Sailors Memorial Hall, I was surrounded with the awe inspiring breathe of those courageous military men and women who came before me. Deep thinking questions swirled in my head searching for answers such as:

  • How did these brave men and women soldiers do it?
  • How did they overcome such challenging obstacles?
  • How did they gain support of their teammates?
  • What winning strategy did these leaders choose?
  • How did they overcome fear, despair, hunger, cold, darkness, poverty, sickness?
  • How did they win against all odds?

I imagined for a few seconds what it was like being part of George Washington’s medical team in Valley Forge in 1777. The challenges were great – almost insurmountable. The army encampment was losing faith and low in supplies of food and medicine. Wounded soldiers were desperate, sick, cold, suffering, hurt and in pain. What was their secret to survival for the greater good of the country and mankind?

Suddenly I heard a LOUD applause and my mind was taken back to my seat in the crowded auditorium. I could feel my heart pounding, demanding answers to today’s healthcare challenges, just like Washington:

  • What will it take to change the course of healthcare for the GOOD?
  • What will be OUR secret to persevere against all odds?
  • How can we help our patients who are sick, tired and hungry?
  • How can we fix healthcare when resources are sparse?
  • What will be our winning strategy?

As I sit here today, writing this blog, I don’t purport to have all answers to these vexing questions in healthcare. I raise them because we need to come together as a collective body of enlighten providers and leaders who think beyond ourselves. I share this story with great compassion realizing I have been called to a higher purpose. As a leader in healthcare, I have been called against all odds to help those in need. I have been called to lead where darkness, pain and suffering are the norm and compassion runs deep. I have been called to shine the light and hold others accountable. I have been called to be the voice of those who can’t speak. I have been called to work and collaborate with global teams such as Million Innovators to make a difference for the common good.

While sitting in Soldiers and Sailors Memorial Hall, I realized I have much in common with these noble warriors who came before me. I was blessed to be seated in the company of greatness: great minds, great valor and great vision who did make a difference. During the ceremony, I could feel my heart being joined to the visionary leaders of the past for a shared purpose forward- to fight for the lives of many and fight beyond my call of duty. My calling, my duty is for #ZeroPatientHarm. I hope you can join the journey to lead and be part of the necessary force at your hospital, at your organization, at your camp and be the voice of change. Washington would be proud!

From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; And from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked. – Luke 12:48

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