(June 5, 2020) On behalf of Amoskeag Health, and myself personally, I am reaching out to staff, patients, and stakeholders to share our collective grief and our strife over the disturbingly long list of black victims of violence at the hands of a system meant to protect us. ALL of us. Amoskeag Health stands unequivocally in support of equality for all and against racial injustice, violence, and prejudice.
As a federally qualified health center (FQHC), the founders of our health center system sought to break down the barriers to health care. For over 50 years, FQHC’s have served as a resource for individuals with limited access to care; people from all races, religions, and backgrounds; and residents in underserved regions of our country.
It is a sad commentary that 50 years later, we continue to see the ugly face of racism evidenced in outrageous acts such as the recent incidences with Ahmaud Arbery in Georgia, Breonna Taylor in Kentucky, and George Floyd in Minnesota. We have seen the national outpouring of grief that has been generated, yet again, over these violent, senseless tragedies.
As an organization. we stand for equality in all aspects. Diversity is who we are; our clients, our staff, our community. At times like this, we return to:
Our guiding mission: To improve the health and well-being of our patients and the communities we serve by providing exceptional care and services that are accessible to all.
Our vision: We envision a healthy and vibrant community with strong families and tight social fabric that ensures everyone has the tools they need to thrive and succeed.
And our Core Values: We believe in:
- Promoting wellness and empowering patients through education
- Fostering an environment of respect, integrity and caring where all people are treated equally with dignity and courtesy
- Providing exceptional, evidence-based and patient-centered care
- Removing barriers so that our patients achieve and maintain their best possible health
In 2010, Amoskeag Health began a journey to become a Culturally Effective Organization. We worked closely with thought leaders to develop a toolkit to help other organizations start their journey; that information is available here: https://www.amoskeaghealth.org/center-of-excellence-for-culturally-effective-care/.
We have a 40-year history of providing excellent healthcare equally across a diverse community. That work started with Dr. Selma Deitch, an amazing Pediatrician, advocate, and community organizer. The values she instilled about social justice, and the importance of providing excellent care to all individuals, regardless of race, ethnicity, culture, beliefs, ability to pay, gender, orientation, or ability, created the foundation for our work.
Today, we have the joy and honor to serve over 17,000 patients within our community who speak 62 different languages. We celebrate our amazing staff who reflect the beautiful cultural diversity of Manchester, a city built by immigrants and refugees from across the world.
Today, we stand with our staff, our patients, and our community, to bear witness to fear, anger, grief, and frustration over a list of atrocities that cannot continue.
The time has come for us all to unite and stand together to demonstrate our support for the men and women from black and brown communities that deserve the right to safety, peace, prosperity, education, meaningful employment, property ownership, and all other privileges that are repeatedly challenged or denied by systemic racism and prejudice.
Our Health Equity Committee is renewing the charge to engage our organization in meaningful steps we can take to support our staff, our patients, and our community. We encourage all of you to do the same. Please offer your support and allegiance to work together with community organizations striving to end racial inequities and to improve diversity, equity, and inclusion. Support your family, friends, and colleagues and create space for them to grieve and express their feelings.
Reach across the aisle and embrace one another. Provide that comforting word or listening ear. Show up in whatever way you can. This journey must continue toward a just world where we can all thrive, and we need all of us moving together in one direction to reach the top.
Thank you and my best to you during these difficult times,
President & CEO