There’s something unique about the alignment of physicians, nurses, other health care professionals and hospital and health system leaders in serving patients: We are all in it together. We all have shared opportunities and shared challenges.

We know the challenges facing the health care field: workforce shortages, sicker and more medically complex patients, increasing costs of providing care and significant underpayment by government for care services, just to name a few.

We must effectively address and mitigate these and other pressures so our organizations can be there for patients and their families, the communities we serve today and those we will serve in the future.

It’s not easy. If it was easy, the health care field would have done it years ago. However, I’m confident that we can do it because of the people leading our field and the people who are depending on us — our patients and communities.

The AHA continues to examine principles and pathways toward creating a financially sustainable health system and for building and supporting a strong workforce. That work will continue this year, and we look forward to collaborating with health care leaders across the country.

Hospitals and health systems serve our communities in so many ways — and we need to keep telling stories which exemplify that service of care. I’ve seen health care teams step up to address many societal issues that aren’t necessarily their responsibility, but they do it without hesitation because they know that they are the priority needs of people in their communities. And we must keep encouraging other members of the community to participate as well. None of these issues can be solved by one segment of society alone.

The positive outcome that we see in meeting these shared challenges are healthier individuals, families and communities. Miracles happen every day in our hospitals and in our communities because of the amazing work and dedication of health care teams and community partners.

It’s an honor to step into the role of AHA board chair after watching John Haupert, and so many AHA chairs before me, lead with humor, humility and a focus on the public good. Thank you to John for his outstanding leadership last year.

This year, in addition to working to ensure the financial stability of hospitals and health systems and addressing workforce challenges, the AHA will continue focusing on efforts to: provide better care and greater value, enhance public trust and confidence in hospitals and health systems, and improve the experience for all health care consumers.

I look forward to connecting with so many hospital and health system leaders this year at AHA conferences and meetings as we tackle this important work.

Every region of our country is different, and what works for hospitals and health systems in New England may not work in Southwestern states or in Midwestern rural states. Though we're a little different, we share a common need to develop innovative solutions and strategies that allow us to continue to keep patients and employees safe, and to deliver quality care.

We are on a constant journey to improve and innovate the care that we offer to our patients and communities. But it’s a shared challenge — with shared rewards — that we can work toward and achieve together.

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