When I began my term as AHA board chair in January 2022, the health care field was evolving. Hospitals and health systems were focusing on the immediate needs of responding to the pandemic while also prioritizing vital work on long-term strategies to advance health.

We’ve experienced formidable challenges this past year. Some issues — like access, efficiency and equity — are ongoing challenges. Other issues — like cybersecurity and climate change — have taken on more importance in health care.

Tackling challenges head-on, the AHA has worked with hospitals and health systems to stay focused on:

  • providing better care and greater value;
  • advocating for the financial stability of hospitals and health systems;
  • advancing effective approaches and strategies to support the health care workforce;
  • enhancing innovation to support the workforce and meet health care consumer demands; and
  • working to ensure diversity, equity and inclusion and eliminate health disparities.

The financial challenges hospitals and health systems are experiencing now are unlike those we’ve ever seen. Still, the time I’ve spent this year listening and working with other health care leaders and teams in my community and across the country gives me confidence and hope for the future.

Martin Luther King Jr. said the “ultimate measure” of a person is not where they stand “in moments of comfort and convenience” but where they stand “at times of challenge and controversy."

We cannot lose sight of why we chose this exciting and rewarding field and what we’re fighting for every day: the health and well-being of our patients and our communities.

It’s been a privilege serving as AHA board chair this year. And I’m delighted to welcome John Haupert, president and CEO of Grady Health System, who will take the reins as 2023 board chair.

While our field has been challenged, there is still so much good that happens in our organizations on a day-to-day basis that we have much to be thankful for and excited about in the years ahead.

Wishing you and your loved ones a peaceful holiday season and happy and healthy new year.

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