Each year, Veterans Day is an opportunity to come together to reflect and to honor the veterans among us, in our families, communities and throughout the UMass Memorial Health Care system. Across our multi-generational health system, we have thousands of employees who are themselves veterans or family members of those who are or have been in military service. All have given nobly and unselfishly to their country for each of us, their fellow citizens.
Many of you may know that I’m a veteran too. I joined the Army Reserve shortly after high school and spent most of my time in the service as a combat medic and respiratory therapist, which is what inspired me to want to go to medical school. My time in the Army helped shaped me into the leader I am today.
I often say that at UMass Memorial we have an army of problem solvers – which is precisely what I learned to do while serving. As soldiers our job was to fix problems and when we couldn’t, we would bring those problems to our commander. I feel that my job as CEO of the system is to empower our caregivers and other leaders to be problem solvers and provide guidance, direction and support when there are barriers to the solution.
There is a quote from Gen. Colin Powell that I take to heart in my role: “Leadership is solving problems. The day soldiers stop bringing you their problems is the day you have stopped leading them. They have either lost their confidence that you can help or concluded you do not care. Either is a failure of leadership.”
I hope I continue to earn your confidence as your system leader, and I hope you know that I care deeply about the problems you face day-in and day-out and am always here to help you solve those problems.
As the leader of this amazing army of problem solvers, I thank you for caring for our patients, the communities we serve and each other. This Monday, Veterans Day, I hope you will join me in offering our UMass Memorial veterans, their family members, and others you may know who have served admirably, our sincere thanks and deep appreciation for their commitment and service.