Monday, July 2, 2018

Our Community

Below is my monthly message for the July 2018 edition of the MHRI newsletter, Focus. You can view Focus online at MedStarResearch.org/FOCUS.

Dear Friends and Colleagues,

On Friday night, friends and neighbors gathered to march down Annapolis’ Main Street to remember the victims of the Capital Gazette shooting. I have called Annapolis home for the last several months and I would be remiss if I didn’t address this tragedy in my monthly message.

The Maryland House Speaker said, “These people were husbands, wives, mothers and fathers. They didn’t come from someplace else. They were dedicated to our community.” Gun violence has become all too common but when it strikes home, it takes on more meaning. And when it strikes good people, who are quietly and diligently doing their job that serves society, it is heartbreaking.
Victims of Capital Gazette shooting in
Annapolis. Learn more about them
here.

Each of the victims has a rich life-story that transcends their work and dedication to the community. ‘Big Rob’ Hiaasen was a generous coach and mentor to young reporters and had “a special insight into people’s lives and their character.” John McNamara (‘Mac’ as he preferred) was the sports writer with “an infectious laugh” who had extensive knowledge of regional sports and was “a jack of all trades,” lending a hand whether it was to write, edit, or design the news pages. Gerald Fischman was the conscience of the paper with insightful and ‘exacting’ editorials. According to the editor, “he had a higher calling.” Beyond the newsroom, Wendi Winters was a proud Navy mom, a church youth adviser, a Red Cross volunteer, and a Girl Scout leader. She may have been best known for her generosity sharing delicious baked treats. And then there was Rebecca Smith, a recent hire who was the youngest victim at 34 years old. Her boss described her as “kind and considerate” and how “she really enjoyed to be working in the media business.”

Hearing about the victims’ stories demonstrated a workplace that was truly transformed into a community, a commitment to their career, and a dedication to a cause, much like I wrote about last month.

A shooting is the extreme of workplace violence. And while it remains statistically very rare, it is wake-up call for the risks we face every day. While violence is (thankfully) uncommon, I recently learned that a hospital is one of the most hazardous places to work. In fact, healthcare workers face more hazards on the job and have a high number of days away from work each year due to safety-related issues than construction workers! Almost half the injuries are overexertion/back injuries (48%). That is followed by slips, trips and falls (25%), and then contact with sharp objects (25%). Violence (9%) and exposure to hazardous substances are far less common (4%).

I am proud that MedStar Health has launched an associate safety program. Safety is critical to everything we do at MedStar Health—not only for our patients but for ourselves. We are working to enhance workplace safety through awareness, training, and approaches for improved reporting and injury tracking. Our goal is to not only prevent associate injuries but also reduce hazards and risks that contribute to injury.

As we go into the 4th of July holiday, let’s all be safe both at home and at work. As well-stated by the Curtis National Hand Center team—we “don’t want your business” due to an injury! Watch out for your family’s safety at home and your colleagues’ safety at work. They are our community and together we work toward the meaningful cause of caring for people and advancing health.

Enjoy this coming holiday, be safe and keep the Gazette associates in your heart.

Neil

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