It was not at all the year I expected, and it certainly wasn’t the year any of us wanted. But, through it all, I continually found inspiration. Even now in the uncertainty of what 2021 will bring, I’m reassured knowing that no matter what, the teams who power our hospitals and health systems across America are continuing the fight against COVID-19.

In a year that was filled with chaos, fear, and division on a national scale, it was inside our American hospitals that unity, generosity, and compassion flourished. Facing great personal risk and maddening bureaucracy, neither our hospitals nor the employees providing care backed away from the mission. Instead, they doubled down.

Time and again, I’ve heard stories of frontline caregivers and leaders who recommitted with passion to this work, which has never been more overwhelming or devastating than it is right now. We feel that recommitment because we know this isn’t a job, it’s a calling.

But battling COVID is about much more than just a commitment to care. Its impact on the economy and on issues of health equity and social welfare are far-reaching. And this is where the strategic work of the AHA has served as our most valuable asset and most effective advocate.

In my role as Board Chair, I was honored to take part in so many of the efforts that helped keep us connected, grounded, and prepared for what was, and is still, to come:

Our weekly all-member call and Leadership Rounds podcast, where we gained insight and inspiration, and found connection in our shared experiences.

The development and launch of the comprehensive Pathways to Recovery resource guide, designed to help every hospital and health system move forward, beyond this crisis and on to healing.

The advocacy work that helped usher in the Cares Act and, with it, funding to keep our hospitals and health systems supported through the early days of the pandemic.

And our efforts to help shape a national vaccination distribution program that will enable us to care for our communities across the country.

I want to share my immense gratitude for Rick Pollack and the entire AHA team, for their support this year... To my colleagues and friends on the AHA Board of Trustees, for being a bottomless source of encouragement and valuable insight... and to Brian Gragnolati for being a true role model in how to serve this role with integrity and grace.

Next year, with Rod Hochman, M.D., serving as Chair, I know this Association is in more-than capable hands. And with compassionate, hard-working health care professionals serving their roles in hospitals and health systems across the country, I know that together, we’ll continue building a healthier, stronger and better normal for everyone.

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