May 21, 2020 3:00 PM


Greetings everyone at HCI. It is hard to believe that we are approaching the end of May already, with Memorial Day just around the corner.

I hope that many of you will find the time to relax and enjoy a three day weekend—a well-deserved break after the past two months of intense front line clinical care service, zero visitor policy, physical distancing, working remotely, and countless Zoom, WebEx, Skype, and RingCentral meetings.

This has been a truly extraordinary period. And as I have said before, this situation brings to mind 3 words: Fortitude, Aptitude, and Gratitude.

We need fortitude — staying power — through this period of COVID-19 challenge, which will clearly be with us for a while. We need to be flexible as the situation evolves and resolve to keep our patients and ourselves safe even as we yearn to return to our pre-COVID-19 lives.

As challenging as this situation is, there is also much to learn, which speaks to aptitude.

HCI is a voracious learner and the COVID-19 pandemic is teaching us many lessons, including how to reach our patients at a distance, new ways to work together, and how to integrate personal and professional aspects of our lives — which I know for many of you is extremely interesting with kids and pets competing for your attention while you try to work from home.

Finally, and the focus of today’s comments, Gratitude. If you are like me, you are probably reflecting quite a bit at this time of disruption.

I find myself with more time to reflect given minimal socializing and no travel.

I am thinking about the many lives lost and the massive global suffering caused by this virus. 

I am thinking about the many people who have lost their jobs, their homes, and their stability thanks to this virus.

I am struck by inequities and how those who were already vulnerable are so much more affected by the pandemic and its health, lifestyle, and economic consequences.

I find myself feeling thankful for all the gifts I have in my life.

Good health — knock on wood.

A wonderful husband to quarantine with.

A wonderful son who I wish I was quarantining with.

Friends and family around the country and the world who have stayed connected even as we have lost physical mobility

A job that is not like work and feels so meaningful each and every day.

A job — period —when so many are now unemployed and financially insecure.

I am grateful to live near City Creek Canyon so I can get outside and enjoy our beautiful surroundings.

I am grateful to be part of the University of Utah, an institution that values its people above all else, and that was so well prepared to face the pandemic effectively.

I am grateful to all of you for continuing to advance HCI’s lifesaving work. Your commitment and dedication make me so very proud to be your leader.

At the same time that I am reflecting on gratitude, this is undoubtedly a very difficult and challenging time. I have heard directly from many of you.  

You may be worried about your personal health and safety. 

Your family may have financial challenges.

You may find it emotionally difficult that patients are in our hospital and can’t have family with them.

You may have family members out of state who need your help and support and you can’t get to them.

You may not know how to come back to work on site when your kids are still out of school.

You may even be a little afraid to come back to work on site.

These are real and present issues.

In addition to the direct support from your supervisor, to help support you in these challenging times, we have assembled a number of resources that are available to you on our HCI Pulse page.

There you can find resources many issues including food insecurity, childcare challenges, domestic violence, mental health, and well-being. Please continue to share your stories and concerns with us. You are not alone, and your input helps us to focus on addressing our community’s most pressing needs as we continue advance toward our vision of delivering a cancer-free frontier.   

Thank you and please do take some time this long weekend to care for yourselves. And be well.

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