CEO, Common Ground Health
Years in current role: 4
What was your biggest success in 2021?
While addressing COVID-19, Common Ground Health sharpened focus on the larger healthcare needs of the community. Our efforts – and those of our partners – have resulted in widespread understanding of how COVID has been exacerbated by structural inequities. Perhaps Dr. Anthony Fauci said it best: “Health disparities have always existed for the African American community. [COVID] is shining a bright light on how unacceptable that is.”
I am proud of how, as a region, we have helped ensure the equitable distribution of vaccines, test kits and masks; conducted a listening tour across the region to understand barriers to vaccination and access to PPE; and launched a Speakers Bureau to ensure that trusted experts can engage with our neighbors where people live, work, play and pray.
What are your expectations for 2022?
In 2022, we expect to build on the incredible collaboration sparked by the public health crisis and apply what we learned to attacking the root causes of health inequity in our region. We look forward to expanding our health equity initiatives by continuing to socialize The Color of Health, launching our Latino Health report, publishing our Community Vision for Playful Learning, and hosting our annual Speak Life Conference (April 23rd).
What is your biggest takeaway from dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic?
The reminder of how fragile and precious life is. Dealing with COVID, and all the ways in which our lives have been affected, has impressed on me how each of us are obligated to do our level best to improve ourselves, our community and the world in which we live. Relationships are the most precious resource we have in doing this work. And the impact of over 800,000 Americans having passed away during this pandemic should remind us of how richly we should treasure our community and each other.