January 2010

Making a difference

In one of the last speeches he ever gave, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. used the example of infectious diseases to illustrate that all work has value. In preventing epidemics, he said, the sanitation worker is just as important as the physician. 

I agree wholeheartedly with that!  And certainly, when you look at all the different types of work that get performed at our Medical Center, you see how indispensable each one is to our mission. The cleanliness of our rooms, for instance, is as central to the safety and comfort of our patients as the most advanced treatments.

The first conclusion I draw from that is how crucial it is to approach one another with genuine respect. And the second, equally important, is how essential it is that all of us ask the most of ourselves.

In this week’s Employee Recognition ceremonies, we celebrated honorees from across the Medical Center—people who understand the true impact each person can have and who bring to their roles a spirit of service, a commitment to excellence, and, typically, every possible dimension of themselves.

We all know of powerful people who are out only for themselves. And we all know people who, without having power in the usual sense, have the ability to make things better just by walking into a room.

At the end of the day, it’s who we are as people that defines our jobs, not the other way around.