More than 900 hospital and health system leaders virtually came together today for the 2021 AHA Leadership Summit. The conference focuses on transformational strategies and innovative approaches for delivering greater value and health equity through operational excellence, creative partnerships and redefined delivery models. Among other topics, speakers will share strategies for rebuilding post-pandemic; leading transformative efforts; and strengthening behavioral health integration.

Pollack opens Leadership Summit, discusses year of challenges, opportunities
AHA President and CEO Rick Pollack praised health care workers for their resilience and courage over the past year amidst the COVID-19 public health emergency. “On behalf of the AHA, I simply want to say thanks and express a deep debt of gratitude to all of the caregivers — from the doctors, nurses, respiratory therapists and pharmacists — to those who clean the rooms, bring the food and maintain the facilities,” Pollack said.

As the health care field slowly emerges from the public health crisis, leaders can focus on health care transformation and pursue strategies to shape the future, particularly in the areas of workforce resiliency, behavioral health and equity of care, Pollack said.

“Our goal is an equitable and just health care system that improves outcomes for all and honors the dignity of every patient,” Pollack said.

Hochman shares insight on evolution of health care field, announces Quest for Quality prize winner
AHA Board Chair Rod Hochman, M.D., president and CEO of Providence, discussed the challenges health care workers have faced during the public health emergency and shared how the landscape is evolving.

“Health care in our country is changing very rapidly, and hospitals and health systems are out front leading that evolution in a way that improves health and health outcomes, health status and most important, health equity for our nation,” Hochman said.

In addition, Hochman shared how common goals and a shared mission unite health leaders nationwide.

“We may be innovating and transforming in different ways, but as health care professionals, we are all committed to operating in a manner that increases access to the highest levels of quality care as affordably as possible,” Hochman said. “It’s this pioneering work that really energizes me and gets me up every day and makes me want to stay in place.”

Hochman also presented the 2021 Quest for Quality prize to Yale New Haven Health for addressing the social determinants of health, using data to drive quality improvements and engaging their employees in quality improvement work. In addition, he honored two finalists for their leadership and innovation in quality and performance improvement: Yuma (Ariz.) Regional Medical Center and Memorial Healthcare System, headquartered in Hollywood, Fla. Read more and watch the video on this year’s winners. 

AHA names Haupert AHA Board Chair-elect Designate
The AHA Board of Trustees has announced John Haupert, president and CEO of Grady Health System in Atlanta, as the AHA Board Chair-elect Designate. A former AHA board member, Haupert spent many years in Dallas-area health care systems, including serving as executive vice president and chief operating officer of Parkland Health and Hospital System. 

“It is an incredible honor to serve AHA’s members as well as the association,” Haupert said. “The AHA has been a significant influence in my development as a health care leader over the past 30 years. It’s rewarding to be affiliated with an association that goes beyond to meet the needs of its members and challenges us to advance and improve.”

Haupert will take over as AHA Board Chair in 2023.

Equity of Care Award winners share strategies for advancing diversity, health equity
Former AHA Board Chair Melinda L. Estes, M.D., president and CEO of Saint Luke’s Health System, moderated a panel featuring leaders from this year’s Carolyn Boone Lewis Equity of Care Award-winning organizations as they highlighted systemic commitments and process changes that are delivering greater equity, diversity, and inclusion strategies that help reduce health disparities for diverse populations. The panelists underscored health equity as a critical step toward accelerating quality improvement. Former AHA Board Chair Eugene Woods, president and CEO of Atrium Health, accepted the prize; and Janice Nevin, M.D., president and CEO of ChristianaCare, and Wright L. Lassiter III, president and CEO of Henry Ford Health System, were recognized as honorees. Read more.   

See tomorrow’s AHA Today for more coverage. For more, visit our webpage and follow #AHASummit on social media. 

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