We asked a few of our members from Maryland's health care sector to share their biggest concerns as surrounding the COVID-19 crisis, or to reflect on what they've learned as they've led their organizations through this challenging time.
Jean C. Accius, Ph.D. '14 (LM), SVP, Global Thought Leadership, AARP:
We are bearing witness to the tragic impact of this pandemic on the health of older adults and simultaneously a deep public outcry across the nation over racial injustice. We now have a choice: accept the life-and-death consequences of the status quo or seize this moment to not just rebuild but rebuild our communities better so all are able to enjoy a long and healthy life. We must usher in a bold future that embraces equity and innovation. We must be bold and courageous and create a new path forward that affirms our interconnectivity. Maryland, we can and must lead the way.
Brian D. Pieninck '16, President & CEO, CareFirst BlueCross BlueShield:
After months of isolation and mounting economic pressures, households and businesses across the country are anxious to restart and reclaim some sense of normalcy. But it’s important to understand this deadly pandemic is far from over. In fact, we’re still in the first wave. Without a vaccine or effective drug therapies, we must remain vigilant. Every leader making decisions about reopening and returning to work will need to consider the risks, taking great care to safeguard the health of employees, customers and communities. As we navigate these challenges, we have an opportunity to emerge stronger, but it will be critical that we confront the persistent shortcomings of our healthcare system, progressively moving toward a focus on value and outcome-based care that equitably addresses the social and healthcare needs of our communities.
Melanie M. Heuston, D.N.P., RN, NEA-BC '19, Vice President and Chief Nursing Officer, Meritus Medical Center:
As a healthcare leader, I always have two primary concerns; the front line care giver staff and the patients we serve. As a state, I feel that Maryland has been very proactive and thoughtful to the approach of COVID-19. I continue to be concerned about personal protective equipment (PPE) and cleaning supplies being in short supply and the cost of these important resources. As we continue to move through the phase of recovery, it is paramount that patients continue to seek healthcare resources and to not ignore conditions out of fear. The strategy of recovery needs to be ongoing good hygiene practices, social distancing, screening for airborne illness and utilization of masks as a culture change. We are continuing to heal the wounds of this pandemic by acknowledging the loneliness and solidarity of health care workers while treating patients with COVID-19 and the families that are struggling with loss of a loved one or the inability to visit during hospitalization.
Joseph "Joe" DeMattos, Jr. '08, President and CEO, Health Facilities Association of Maryland:
You are a leader and your primary objective is to work with others to navigate change. Leadership is an activity of action rooted in listening, guided by vision, and fueled with collaboration. Effective leaders have vision, communicate effectively, build winning teams, and value diversity and inclusion.
During the COVID-19 pandemic and economic crisis, we are reminded that effective leaders adapt, innovate, and place high value on engagement.
Now more than ever, I am reminded of our shared time and experiences in Leadership Maryland, and that I am a leader not alone but part of a community of passionate and gifted leaders.
And I am also reminded of what I learned in my personal work with Jack Canfield: E + R = O. That is the Event + Response = Outcome. We don’t control the challenging events we face but we are not without power. Our response to these events, which are in our control, are half of the equation in the outcome we secure with our leadership.