For more than 400 years, we have paused each fall to give thanks. We do so during good times and bad because most years bring a mixture of both.

This year, our world, our nation and our field face many difficult challenges. But that’s why it’s so important that we take the time to express our gratitude for the many things we are thankful for. This includes the amazing work that hospitals and health systems do — every minute of every hour of every day of the year — to advance health in America.

We are thankful for our health care workers who have battled the COVID-19 pandemic for nearly three years, remaining dedicated to providing excellent care to their patients and community. During the most difficult chapter in the history of America’s hospitals, millions of caregivers have stood up again and again for the patients they serve.

We are thankful for our scientists and researchers who continue to make advancements to help us improve care and health. Their ingenuity and expertise — especially in designing vaccines that help keep pace with an ever-mutating virus — have done so much to restore a sense of normalcy to daily life.

We are thankful for our hospital and health system leaders who are navigating these difficult times with one thing in mind — ensuring access to care and advancing the health of patients and communities. Many health care leaders currently face perhaps the most complex mixture of economic challenges of their careers, yet they are driven by that famous line from the movie Apollo 13, “failure is not an option.”

We are thankful for our patients who are our top partners in care. They inspire and motivate us to deliver the best care each and every day to help them live healthy and prosperous lives.

And, we are thankful for what’s ahead. In the words of AHA Chair Wright Lassiter III, “There are so many things to be excited about in health care now and for the future.”

These include:

  • Driving innovation to provide better care experiences and better outcomes for patients;
  • Redefining the “H” to provide care outside of hospitals’ four walls, whether it’s in the home; through telehealth and remote monitoring; in schools; community centers; sports arenas; or anywhere that care is needed;
  • Forming strategic alliances and implementing ideas to better coordinate care across the continuum, as well as focus on prevention and wellness; and
  • Continuing to advance education, technology and research efforts to improve health.

As many of us sit around the table to enjoy Thanksgiving dinner with our families and friends, let’s take an extra minute to give thanks for the many health care workers who are working that day to care for the sick and injured. Their courage, compassion and commitment to caring is inspiring and gives us great hope for the future.

From all of us at the American Hospital Association, best wishes for a happy, healthy and safe Thanksgiving.

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