For nearly two years, our nation’s hospitals and health systems — and the gifted, dedicated women and men who lead them — have fought back relentlessly against a once-in-a-century pandemic. 

Often tired, sometimes discouraged, and nearly always facing new challenges, caregivers at every level of the patient experience — from the clinicians who treat, comfort and heal, to the environmental service personnel who provide clean and safe facilities, to the leaders fighting to make sure their organizations have what they need to deliver lifesaving care — continue to give their best each and every day. 

While leadership starts at the top, providing health care is a team sport. The best patient outcomes result from effective coordination, communication and the understanding that everyone’s contribution matters. Our heroic health care providers follow this playbook every day. 

Their steadfast mission of caring and compassion has saved lives, healed families and helped to protect communities. And their work continues without a break because we will be co-existing with COVID-19 for the foreseeable future, with no hard stop in sight. 
This year, despite the many obstacles we continue to face, there is a lot to be thankful for. 

We can be thankful that despite tremendous strains on their resources, hospitals and health systems have continued to innovate, partner with others and find new ways to improve the health of their communities. 

We can be thankful for the gift of our nation’s biomedical capabilities. Backed with longstanding government research support, our scientists were able to laser-focus on the design, testing and delivery of effective vaccines that helped to contain the pandemic’s spread.   

We can be thankful for the continued advances in medicine, knowledge and technology that allow for opportunities to improve health and wellbeing. 

We can be thankful for the strength of spirit of the American people, for which we all deserve a little credit. We have faced very difficult times before and will again. But we always get back up on our feet. 

And at the top of the list, we can be thankful for the caregivers who never stop caring and never stop working to heal and comfort, often overcoming significant challenges to stay focused on the mission.  

That’s why on Monday, the AHA will be launching our “Season of Thanks” campaign to recognize the commitment, sacrifice and resiliency of our health care workforce. Please see our Advisory for more details, including how you can get involved in the campaign and digital resources you can customize and use in your own organizations. We’ll continue releasing new content for the campaign throughout the holiday season.

In 1751, Benjamin Franklin co-founded Pennsylvania Hospital in Philadelphia, the nation’s very first public hospital. It provided care for the sick and poor, free of charge. Regarding this great service to society, Franklin later wrote: "I do not remember any of my political [actions] the Success of which gave me at the time more Pleasure." This Founding Father considered providing care for those in need among the greatest things he had ever achieved. 

Two hundred and seventy years later, our hospitals and health systems are filled with people who feel the same way. And for that, we give the deepest thanks of all. 

The AHA wishes you and your loved ones a happy and safe Thanksgiving. Thank you for all you have done, and continue to do, every day to advance health in America. 

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