About Eric Dickson, MD, MHCM

President and CEO, UMass Memorial Health Care Professor of Emergency Medicine, University of Massachusetts Medical School

Living by Dr. King’s credo to “do for others”

While there are many memorable quotes from Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s numerous speeches and writings that we may see on Martin Luther King Day this coming Monday – the day we set aside to honor his mlk_2legacy – one of my favorites is this one: “Life’s most persistent and urgent question is, ‘What are you going to do for others?’”

For those of us in health care, “doing for others” is job #1. For those of us at UMass Memorial Health Care, “doing for others” is a part of our DNA. Our commitment runs deep and has multiple layers.

Here’s what I mean:

  • Commitment to patients: Our duty as caregivers – both clinical and non-clinical – is to provide our patients the highest quality of care possible, with empathy and the utmost compassion. We do this every day without question.
  • Commitment to each other: Caring for patients is a team effort. We can’t do it alone and must “do for each other” to continue to strive to be the best place to give care.
  • Commitment to the underserved: As a health care organization, we also serve as a safety net health system to care for the sickest, most vulnerable and the underserved patients in our region – regardless of their circumstances or ability to pay.
  • Commitment to communities: We extend our care and services beyond the walls of each of our entities to directly connect with people in our service areas through our Community Benefits efforts. To learn more about our Community Benefits mission, visit our website.
  • Commitment to health beyond health care: We know that if people can’t get their basic needs met, their health suffers. The last year and a half, we have redoubled our efforts to address what is called the social determinants of health (things like poverty, homelessness, unemployment, etc.) through our Anchor Mission work. More information about our Anchor Mission also can be found on our website.

We do a lot for others – every single day. I’m so proud of this deep dedication and want to express my gratitude – in honor of Martin Luther King Day – to each and every one of you for all that you do for our patients, our communities and for each other.

You may not know this, but Martin Luther King Day this year marks the 25th anniversary of the day of service, which means it is the only federal holiday designated as a national day of service to encourage Americans to volunteer to improve their communities. Check out this website for more information. Whether you are working on Martin Luther King Day to care for our patients, taking this day off to volunteer, or taking this day to spend time with family and friends, I hope you take a moment to reflect on Dr. King’s legacy and how you have a positive impact on those around you simply by “doing for others.”

Eric