Each of us can be great because each of us can serve

In one of his most powerful sermons, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. encouraged us to seek greatness through service:

“If you want to be important — wonderful. If you want to be recognized — wonderful. If you want to be great — wonderful. But recognize that he who is greatest among you shall be your servant. mlk_2019_ei

That’s a new definition of greatness...it means that everybody can be great, because everybody can serve. You don’t have to have a college degree to serve…You don’t have to know Einstein’s theory of relativity to serve…You only need a heart full of grace, a soul generated by love. And you can be that servant.”

I am inspired by Dr. King’s message, “everybody can be great because everybody can serve.” Service is embedded in UMass Memorial’s mission and is visible in many ways, everyday, across our system. It’s in providing the best care and respect for every patient…It’s in discovering and developing new ways to improve public health…It’s in providing service through partnerships with state agencies and community-based initiatives across the state. And, of course, it’s in every interaction we have with our patients and their loved ones.

In these moments, we are addressing Dr. King’s question, “What are you going to do for others?” The expectations for caregivers are higher than they are for others. Naturally, we are expected to provide needed clinical services of the highest quality possible to our patients. It is how we provide those services – ideally with great compassion, respect, inclusion and humanity – that we fully answer Dr. King’s question.

I encourage you to reflect on the remarkable work and life of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. this Monday and the lasting lessons he gave us about acceptance and service to others. I also encourage you to think about the impact you make in the lives of our patients and their loved ones and each other every day. Is it positive? Are there ways to improve? After all, we are here to serve – and only through service can we achieve greatness.

Thank you for taking great care of our patients and one another with kindness, acceptance and respect.


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