Belief in our Ability to Change

Many of the changes we see in the Medical School are obvious. We have developed a joint clinical enterprise with Fairview and UMPhysicians and, through this partnership, we are emphasizing academic leadership with new service line leaders. We are using the priorities chosen by the department heads at the summer retreat to refocus our priorities. We are reimagining wellbeing for students, staff, faculty, and physicians. We are part of the drive to innovate interprofessional training and healthcare.

We are committed to achieving success in these areas:

  • In becoming central to our patients and to our community, which depends on our practice of the best kind of medicine: medicine developed from innovative and fearless research, based on interprofessional education and training, delivered with compassion and outstanding customer service, and grounded in prevention and equitable access.
  • In being essential to our markets—mission-driven with profit and retail discipline. We want to create a successful enterprise that is capable of expansive growth, and we want to drive recognition of our outstanding quality of care in the community.
  • In finding ways to value our healthcare faculty, physicians, nurses, researchers, students, and staff. Yes, compensation is part of it, but we need to find ways to make the workplace more positive and the difficult work of healthcare more sustainable.

But some of the changes that we need to make are not institutional, not organizational, and not easy to see. These are the changes in our hearts and heads. Fundamentally, it starts with the hope that we can make things better. When Dr. Ingbar asked about “hope” at the Physician and Provider Forum last Wednesday, I quoted Emily Dickinson:

“Hope” is the thing with feathers -
That perches in the soul -
And sings the tune without the words -
And never stops - at all -

Hope can be challenging to sustain, in particular when it is raised and disappointed over and over again. We can try to rally enthusiasm with words like “morale,” “enthusiasm,” or “team spirit.” But ultimately, hope is something more individual, quieter, something we nurture inside ourselves—a belief that change can come and that we can be the agent of that change. Ms. Dickinson goes on to say that despite being a fragile thing, hope is also tough and flourishes in difficult conditions. I like to think that we do, too.

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