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CEO Corner: A Listening Tour of AHP Members

Alice Ayres
Published:  08/16/2018

Since joining AHP at the end of April, I have been on a listening tour of our members, meeting with people across the U.S. and Canada. You have all been generous with your time and your counsel, for which I am extremely grateful.

What strikes me is how consistent the themes are that you have raised. Across the coming AHP Connect issues, I will dive into each separately, but I thought I would summarize them first here. There are three in particular that strike me as relevant to all AHP members:

  1. Leading in a rapidly changing health care and health care philanthropy environment
  2. Developing and maintaining critical “internal” relationships
  3. Engaging and motivating talent

What drew me to AHP is the financial impact of the work each of you does every day and the way in which the expanding definitions of health care are driving you toward creativity and social change. Our communities are struggling with increasingly complex issues — the opioid crisis, increased suicides, human trafficking and the basic needs that determine our daily health. As I have spoken with many of you, I have been greeted with stories of your work in these areas.

  • I talked with Julie Cox at Lifebridge in Maryland. Julie told me about the program her team is funding to install new air conditioners in homes of lower income families to reduce acute asthma episodes in the ER.
  • I learned from Fred Najjar at Dignity Health on the west coast about a donor-driven program to train frontline ER staff to recognize patients likely to be victims of human trafficking and how to intervene.
  • KCI’s “The Ask” podcast talks of a donor-driven partnership in Canada with local high school guidance counselors to reduce the teen suicide rates in the community.

Each of these, as well as many other examples like them, require us to build new partnerships, which can present opportunities as well as challenges. Advice from those underway on these partnerships is to identify how each partnership benefits all partners, builds new donor relationships and develops new connections with the community.

This work also presents an opportunity to broaden the understanding of the profession of philanthropy in the eyes of some of our most important constituents. Telling our community-based stories to board members, partners at the C-level and donors is a way to show we are leading the effort to ensure a healthier community both inside and outside the acute setting. It also shows we are addressing some of the world’s greatest issues by combining the expertise of our clinicians with the expertise of others serving our communities. 

In the coming months, AHP will do more work in this area in order to support you as you embark on these efforts. In the meantime, I would love to hear more of your stories. Please call me at 703-530-3140 or email alice@ahp.org to share.

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Meet The Author

Alice Ayres

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