January 4, 2023

My New Year's Resolutions for Boston Medical Center Health System and Beyond: CEO Kate Walsh

Boston Globe, Getty Images

"If we don't speak candidly about racial health disparities, we can't do the work to eliminate them"

Now that the merriment of the holiday season is behind us, it’s time to look ahead and dig into our personal and professional goals or resolutions for the year ahead. As 2023 dawns, I wanted to share my own goals for Boston Medical Center Health System, how I hope our health system can approach care in the new year, and to light a path for other health systems — especially systems that are located in underserved communities with a dearth of resources available. It is my hope that our healthcare system can continue to learn from and support the community that we serve with these three goals for the new year:

1. Hold yourself accountable when it comes to health outcomes

We’ve been taking a deep look at ourselves to discover at how we can better serve all our patients and members. Across our system, we dug into data, conducted clinical studies, and, above all, had conversations with the people and communities we serve about their personal experiences to understand the roots of deeply entrenched racial health disparities. And in the fall of last year, we took all of this information to launch the Health Equity Accelerator, which aims to transform our entire health system to close these gaps in patient outcomes and wellbeing.

In the new year, it’s important to continue this path of looking inward — and of being transparent about what we find. If we don’t speak candidly about these racial health disparities, we can’t do the work to eliminate them.

2. Stay true to your values as a health system

We are entering a time of great financial stress for hospitals and healthcare systems as we continue to navigate the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, unrelenting increases in utilization and acuity across our patient populations, challenges discharging patients, and an acute labor shortage. During the challenging months ahead, it is imperative that we continue to prioritize the wellbeing of our staff by addressing workplace stress and safety, advance our work to be an inclusive environment where all staff feel seen and heard, and remain united in our mission to create a healthier and more equitable Boston and beyond, while putting the people we serve at the center of all we do.

3. Keep supporting your staff and team members

In healthcare, you get a lot of challenges thrown in your way. We never could have predicted the full impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on our hospital, health plan, and the overall healthcare industry. But amid the stress and the obstacles, I am proud of how our community, staff, and members have come together to lift each other up and support each other in our difficult moments. Boston Medical Center implemented a “buddy system” to make sure our care providers and staff always had a peer to lean on, and our community rallied around people on the front lines by sending cards and drawing messages of hope and support on the sidewalks in chalk — something I’ll forever be grateful for. I hope all of us in healthcare can resolve to keep this spirit of community and lifting each other up as we move into 2023 and beyond. 

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About the Author

Kate Walsh, CEO

Kate Walsh is the CEO of Boston Medical Center Health System, an academic health system dedicated to underserved populations. A vocal advocate for health equity and reform, Walsh is leading major organizational change and creating a culture...

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