We have seen many examples of these two characteristics lately in Ukraine. The resilience of the Ukrainian people and the steadfastness of their leader are remarkable and humbling. To those of you who are of Ukrainian descent with family, history and loved ones in the country or fleeing for their lives, please know you are in our thoughts and prayers. For those of you from Irish descent, today on St. Patrick’s Day I say, “erin go bragh.”
Just when we thought we had enough disruption with the pandemic, a maniacal individual (I am unable to say “leader” in this situation) invades a country and intentionally kills innocent woman and children. My intention is not to repeat the heartache we see or hear daily in the news, but to focus on leadership.
Yesterday, in celebration of Women’s History Month, I attended my first Women’s CEO Breakfast meeting in over three years and it was a true delight to be with my peers, receive inspiration from colleagues and hear an amazing woman leader, Sue Gordon, a 30-year National Security Leader and Former Principal Deputy Director of National Intelligence.
Sue shared her career progression and the many leadership challenges along the way and stressed the importance of being a good decision-maker — the key characteristic of leadership. She also offered that Free Societies are grounded in trust and truth and those are the very principles that certain individuals are striving to erase, erode and undo. She also stressed that you don’t create a new future from the present, but you have to jump to the future if you want to change. And, if you want to change, you must give up any fixed points.
This latter statement resonated for me and where we are with funding for preventive medicine residency programs. As you may have heard, the Appropriations budget that passed did not include the increases for the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) residency program line item originally in each of the previous budget proposals — the President’s, House and Senate bills. If ACPM members want a different future for the profession, we need change — we need full engagement by every member reaching out to Congress to express their desire for change, to build the pipeline of the profession and to realize growth in the field.
While we have increased our member engagement in Hill Day and now Virtual Hill Week (from 9 to 30 members), the numbers still pale in comparison to what we need or what other organizations realize. It is very easy to express your request in our online action center and, even if you work in a government institution, you have the right as a personal citizen to take action for what you believe is important. It is our civic duty to get involved in what our elected officials do or don’t do and if they don’t hear from us, they don’t know what they don’t know.
For those of you who have submitted letters or set up visits with your elected officials, I say “thank you.” It is so important that Congress hears directly from their constituents and for you to share your stories as inspiration as they advocate among their peers on your behalf. Our lobbyists and staff are doing amazing work and, we need you to show your resilience, fortitude and passion for your profession and share your story as you each have a remarkable career journey to share.
Thank you for your resilience and leadership,
Donna Grande, MGA