Editor’s Note: Honoring the Best of Care

By Joe Sweeney

Health care matters and is at the foundation of our mission here at Ingram’s Magazine.

Michelle and I bought Ingram’s in mid-February of 1997 and we quickly assessed the content and developed an overall mission and strategy for the publication. We then began to build programs we believed appropriate and necessary for an effective, impactful and relevant regional business publication.  

One of the first directives was to establish industry verticals and build programming, content and related events around the most relevant core business sectors. Health care was then and remains today a top sector and among our highest priorities. That was the year we started Ingram’s Special Medical Edition, the December  Philanthropy Edition and several other unique programs. 

Our philosophy then was, and it remains today, to invest in building programs so long as they’re sustainable. Programs can become stale and, as all executives know, change is not only inevitable, but often necessary. Some traditions remain just that, however, and we’re proud to serve as the stewards of The Medical Edition for a quarter-century, as well as programs like Heroes in Healthcare, which we launched in 2004.

Twenty-five years is a long time, and represents the majority of one’s professional career. Suffice it to say, everyone should be selective in the way they invest their most productive years. I remember con-
versations during the era we acquired Ingram’s and what we needed to do to build the magazine’s brand. 

This was the year before The University of Kansas Hospital officially became an independent operating entity without controlling ties to the state. We got to know then-President Irene Cumming in 1997 and the dialogue continues today with Bob Page, Tammy Peterman and the extraordinary leadership team there about the vision of The University of Kansas Health System. 

The remarkable growth and success that The University of Kansas Health System has enjoyed over the past 24 years may best be presented by the data shown on Pages 38 and 39 of this edition. There is no debate as to which organizations have gone through the most profound change and growth.

The introduction to the Top Doctors feature on Page 45 appropriately sums up the mindset and mission of the extraordinary Top Doctors we’re recognizing this year, and the 302 we’ve honored since that program began nearly a quarter-century ago.

I have to be entirely transparent. There are two issues Ingram’s publishes each year that grab the very soul of our mission and our hearts and that is this annual Medical Edition and the Heroes in Healthcare initiative we publish typically each February.

Events are a very important part of the legacy of these programs and like others, regrettably, we’ve been unable to convene attendees to assemblies and events for some time. No other industry has encountered greater challenges in the pandemic than the health-care sector and all who are associated with it. The commitment from all doctors and those who serve on the front lines has been humbling, as they have not only risked their own health but some have even lost their lives to Covid and its variants.

Down the road we’ll reflect on our performance and experiences. I know that the attention we’ve given to the heroes throughout the medical field will reinforce the decisions we made a quarter-century ago to establish programs to honor them. Regrettably, we had to cancel the long -awaited Healthcare Reunion at Legends Field, the home of the national champion Kansas City Monarchs. This event was planned to thank the selfless workers at all levels of health care and to recognize our Heroes in Healthcare honorees from 2020 and 2021 as well as our Top Doctors from the same years. 

Authorities throughout the region shared our concern about convening a large group in what could become a super-spreader event. As much as being concerned with health and safety, let’s be honest, no one in the health-care field wants to align with a potentially catastrophic event. We would like to reschedule the Healthcare Reunion and honor our Heroes in Healthcare and our Top Doctors when it’s safe to convene.


At the end of the day, I hope the community at large and especially the health-care community will see Ingram’s as a conduit to help bring positive attention and recognition to our regional health-care community. I admire those who dedicate their lives for the betterment of mankind and who are committed to health, wellness and preservation of quality life, not driven by the monetary gain.

I would like to thank the health-care community for allowing Ingram’s small but passionate team to align as colleague and friend and to continue to nominate and advocate for their peers. I can’t think of a more challenging era in health care, at least in our lifetimes. We think you’ll agree when you read the profiles of the  class of 2021 Top Doctors that our community owes a great debt of thanks to the many heroes serving at every level in our health-care system.