CEO Blog

Reality Check: Using Our Resources to Change

When pondering the challenges and changes continually taking place around us, we often move to a “woe is me” frame of mind. It can feel good to throw a pity party and look for easier paths forward. We often complain that if we only had more resources, everything would be OK. 

My wake-up call came when I read my daughter’s doctoral dissertation. It explores the behavior of a youth population living in poverty on Chicago’s west side. The problems there include:

  • Low maintenance and sanitation.
  • Exploitation by opportunistic businesses.
  • High unemployment.
  • Low-quality schools. 
  • The absence of social programs. 
These put more stress on the younger people living in this area, leading to poorer health and higher rates of obesity.

Even with these challenges, this neighborhood enjoys a program called “Kid Korner.” It provides after-school and summer programming for youths to give them both emotional and practical support to improve academic success, learn critical job skills and even apply for college, internships or other career pathways. 

The dissertation made me think about how we can better help those who live in our communities. We need to be sure that the reality our communities face guides our initiatives to improve overall health. We must reach a greater understanding of the environmental and social aspects that determine health, especially among those who are poor and underserved. 

The healthcare industry as a whole is at a crossroads. We have the opportunity to broaden our definition, our focus on community health improvement and our partnerships with public health, social service agencies and other community resources. 

We can work with our communities to change our mindsets from one of scarcity to abundance. Despite scarce resources in one Chicago neighborhood, an organization like Kid Korner is making a positive difference. As a health ministry, we must use what we already have to change who we are and redesign our programs and services to achieve high performance and improve health outcomes in the communities we serve. We have an abundance of human and financial resources to tap into – so we should do so.

Our mindset will make the difference. We must inspire and support one another to transform. Let’s move from “pity party” to “possibility” as we work together with our communities to take our healing ministry, and the benefits it can provide, to the next level.

 

Michael A. Slubowski, FACHE, FACMPE
President and Chief Executive Officer
SCL Health