Dear Friends and Colleagues,
In concluding my time on the board of directors with Center for Health Progress, I want to offer some reflections and immense thanks for such an extraordinary experience. Cause-related board service is often, if not always, fulfilling. If you’ve not had the opportunity, I encourage you to make that happen! And in so doing, you may be as fortunate as I was when I joined the Colorado Coalition for the Medically Underserved board and experienced great alignment between my personal passion and the mission of my “real job.”
Mahatma Gandhi famously commented on how change comes about. While you may have heard it quoted as, “Be the change you want to see in the world,” what he actually said was, “If we could change ourselves, the tendencies in the world would also change…we need not wait to see what others do.” I’m reminded of this message as I reflect on the vision of Dr. Gary VanderArk, our founder, and the remarkable organizational evolution I experienced with Center for Health Progress staff and my board colleagues, over this past decade. There has been abundant change in our health care environment, with so many new challenges and new opportunities to seize. There has been an ever-increasing acknowledgment that health for all Coloradans is about so much more than health care, which has been a rallying cry of our work since its early days. Through it all, we have preserved our will to keep driving the work forward, adapt, evolve, and emerge true to the organization’s original commitment, but far more global and inclusive in our thinking, strategies, and intention. It has been extraordinarily hard work and entirely inspiring for me personally.
Now we’ve transformed into Center for Health Progress, staffed by individuals of passion, purpose, and bravery, and guided by an increasingly inclusive and diverse board of directors. The work is multifaceted, so the strategy should be, too; that’s why we’ve put so much attention on driving change from the ground up through the community organizing work, as well as by influencing those in power through policy advocacy work. We’ve built hundreds—perhaps thousands—of relationships and partnerships across the state, bringing people together to ensure factors like race, income, and ZIP code don’t determine a person’s access to care or opportunity to live a healthy life. Now, there is no doubt in my mind that Center for Health Progress’s goal of access to timely, high-quality, and affordable health care services that meet the needs of all Coloradans is more attainable than ever before.
So, to all of you I say: trust your strength, do not wait to see what others do, and be fearless and brave in fighting for health equity. You are making a lasting impact!
With gratitude and immense respect,
Immediate Past Chair