Monday, March 5, 2018

Appreciating the Important Things

Below is my monthly message for the March 2018 edition of the MHRI newsletter, Focus. You can view Focus online at

Dear Friends and Colleagues,
It is so easy to take things for granted…until you don’t have them anymore!

Like many in our area, I felt the brunt of this week’s nor'easter. While we were spared the precipitation, approximately a half a million in our area lost power from the high winds.

Image from WTOP/Dave Dildine
On Friday night, after coming home to a dark house I quickly discovered a neighbor’s tree came down and took the electric wires and pole with it. Knowing this wouldn’t be a “quick fix,” I put on a few extra layers of clothes and settled in for the night.

Wow, it quickly became apparent all of the things we are dependent on electricity for. While I knew I would not have lights, all of a sudden I became acutely aware of how many ‘devices’ need to get charged each night, how much I got used to using my Amazon Echo and how I really enjoy a hot shower!

Lucky for me, at 2 am the power came back on but it was immediately followed by a loud explosion. The neighbor’s fallen pole had a transformer on it and when the electricity was turned on, it blew out the transformer and set the downed tree on fire! Something else we take for granted – the fire department! They were wonderful, showing up in a matter of minutes and containing the fire right away.

All of these events on Friday made me realize how much we take for granted, and how we are in a similar profession that most people have grown to expect to be there for them. Whether it is a simple earache or a life-threatening emergency, our community counts on us to be there when and where they need it. We can all take solace in knowing the importance of our work.

The silence of a house with no electricity also provided me time to reflect, and when considering what we take for granted, I immediately went to the people we get to work with. Earlier this week, I had dinner with two colleagues who I have had the privilege to work with for over 15 years. Despite all the changes in healthcare, and research at MedStar in particularly, we have all continued to grow and support each other through our personal and professional development. Now that is something none of us should take for granted!

Lastly, I feel very fortunate to be part of such a progressive healthcare system. One that leverages a distributive care delivery network to deliver the best of academics in a real-world setting that advances the health of the communities we serve. I am honored to be MedStar’s first recently appointed Chief Scientific Officer and look forward to working with you in creating a nationally acclaimed academic health system. This is something I certainly DON’T take for granted!

Stay warm, look around, and don’t forget to appreciate the important things that surround you.

Read Focus at

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