Lessons learned from leading regional health care experts
During GBC’s Newsmaker Series focusing on the Changing Face of Health Care, Kenneth A. Samet, President and CEO of MedStar Health Inc.; Kevin W. Sowers, President of Johns Hopkins Health System and Executive Vice President of Johns Hopkins Medicine; and Dr. Mohan Suntha, President and CEO of the University of Maryland Medical System, discussed how the health care industry has been adapting to the COVID-19 pandemic and preparing for vaccine distribution.
The health care executives noted that there are important action steps that business leaders and members of the community can take to help stem the spread of the virus and to ensure equitable vaccine distribution.
Some key takeaways from the region’s leading health system CEOs include:
- Business leaders should model and encourage responsible personal behavior among employees to help contain the spread of the virus. Individual choices made by citizens and businesses will affect the health care industry, and the economy, and determine the speed of recovery once the pandemic has subsided. Business leaders should communicate the need for everyone to take personal responsibility to stem the virus.
- Don’t take for granted the nurses, doctors and other health care workers who have been on the front lines caring for patients.
- Be aware that health care workers are under physical and mental stress from the pandemic. Hospitals are reporting spikes in mental health concerns among employees, which are being addressed by offering appointments with psychologists and psychiatrists, highlighting the role workers have in saving lives.
- Encourage and support vaccine distribution to communities that have been the most vulnerable and disproportionately affected by the pandemic, such as poorer communities and communities of color.
- Encourage employees to get educated about COVID-19 vaccines that will be approved for distribution and the science behind them to avoid fear and spreading of misinformation.
- Trusted leaders, such as those in the faith community and nonprofit sector, should connect with health care leaders to help disseminate accurate information about the vaccines.
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