Fighting the Elements

By Joe Sweeney

Even a brutal year must eventually turn. Just look around: Hope does spring eternal.

I don’t have to elaborate much to convey the extraordinary challenges associated with navigating the past year. If one steps out of the picture and looks back in, they would see a year of challenge on nearly every front. Particularly for those encountering health issues or who are trying to operate one or more businesses and keep the financial pipeline flowing.

Among the biggest discouragements I have is the lack of acknowledgement of the seriousness of the COVID-19 pandemic and respect from folks, particularly in rural regions.

Michelle and I have registered on every list we’re aware of to receive our vaccines and we remain hopeful to be inoculated soon. It’s been a bit disconcerting, through the rollout, to see Kansas ranked as low as No. 46 and Missouri even lower, at No. 49, in recent reports on statewide distribution of the vaccine. I understand the complexities and challenges with logistics, and can only imagine the coordination that goes into the effort to qualify and prioritize citizens to receive the vaccine. What I can’t understand is why Missouri and Kansas are near the bottom, in terms of performance.


Misery Loves Company

The weather, especially the inordinately cold temperatures throughout the month of February, has been especially unbearable. Nearly every day of the month has been below freezing, and too many have been below zero-degree weather. In some cases, it’s been dramatically frigid, with temperatures reaching 15 degrees below zero and wind chills reaching 30 below. At the time of this writing, we’re enjoying a balmy 19 degrees and it feels like summer.

But when the temperature must rise a few degrees to get into positive territory, you have a new definition for “misery.”


Yet Hope Endures

I don’t know about you, but spring could not come soon enough. Perhaps I should rephrase this by saying warmer temperatures, and no more snow would be a great start. I like to believe I’m an optimist, but this past year has left much room for discouragement. As pharma and our healthcare community continue to make strides to vaccinate the population, I remain very hopeful that lives will be saved and spared and that our world returns to some level of normalcy.

Even as we look around amid the carnage left by events of the past year—and, no, the Chiefs didn’t do much to assuage the pain—there are reasons to be positive.

One of them is in your hands: You’re holding the 18th edition of Ingram’s Heroes in Healthcare edition. It was our objective this year to expand programming to include a focus on the Power of Teams, and how hospital leadership and others wielded them as effective barriers to stem the tide and toll of COVID. Humanity is deeply indebted to our healthcare workers and those that serve along the complex line of services and supply chain.

When you read their stories, including some from front-line workers who held the hands of the dying, or the behind-the-scenes players who scrambled to provide testing assets and diagnostic support in the face of a threat never seen before, you can’t help but be awed by their sacrifices and their contributions.

Some of us who grew up watching Lou Grant and his tough-as-nails exterior as a newsroom producer like
to think we’ve seen all and been hardened by it all. But year in and year out, at least one of our Heroes shares a personal experience of their healthcare journey that leaves even the most cynical among us in tears. There was a lot of that experience to be found in the region’s hospitals this past year.

As you’ll read on Page 31 and 32, we’ll recognize them, along with last year’s Heroes honorees, September 23rd along with our Top Doctor honorees. It will be a time of reunion and celebration, and we’re counting on a truly uplifting experience. We really hope you’ll join us.

We’re confident that you’ll find additional inspiration in this issue with our Icons of Education, who have done so much in a sector horribly impacted by the pandemic.
They are truly positive notes to cherish in a year of off-key developments. They give us hope.

This should, too: Spring is on the way. The sun will shine once again. Let’s give thanks when it does.



About the author


Joe Sweeney

Editor-In-Chief & Publisher

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