As December 31 draws near, we often reflect on significant events to define the year. In 2020, many things have been unprecedented, but expressing gratitude remains essential and important. COVID-19 took center stage early this year and has not yielded its grip. However, it has not diminished our spirit.

As health-care organizations, we have witnessed inspiring levels of compassion and bravery. We’ve also seen actions—and reactions—that cause us great concern. We want to recognize those who have continued to dedicate themselves to taking care of others, often making difficult and, at times, controversial decisions.

Our elected and appointed officials, including mayors, county commissioners, school district trustees, and public health officials, as well as business and public health leaders, educators, and others, have strived to implement measures that serve the health, safety, and welfare of our communities. They have had to learn about infectious disease overnight, balancing many factors, including the local economy, public health, education, and the consequences of inaction, to name a few. None of these decisions are clear cut.

These decisions would be difficult even in the best of circumstances. Still, many of our local public officials have faced the added stress of concern for their families’ safety. The threats and intimidation they receive daily by letter, email, phone, social media, and in-person before and during their public meetings, and sometimes at their own homes, must be painfully difficult to endure. They did not and should not expect to face such extreme personal threats. We thank them for their efforts to help keep Idahoans safe in this time of crisis. Their dedication and commitment in the face of such adversity is inspiring.

We want to build on the good and vital work so many across our state have accomplished. Businesses large and small have innovated in so many ways; investing in safety protocols while their revenue declined; establishing new remote work environments, creating new avenues for patrons to buy essentials, entertainment, and exercise. We applaud the businesses who have implemented changes to protect the health of their employees and customers.

Our non-profits have seen larger numbers of people who need assistance. They have found new ways to provide their services and have given extra hours, often volunteering their time.

Educators have found new ways to teach and connect with our children, providing them with knowledge and ways to cope with a strange new reality.

As we look ahead to 2021, we are filled with optimism. While our optimism, indeed, is bolstered by the promise of vaccines to help us return to a more familiar way of life, it is truly fueled by the spirit demonstrated by our leaders, our businesses, and our community partners who do so much to help others.

A great deal of work lies ahead in the coming days, weeks, and months. As healthcare organizations, we are here for you. We will continue to do everything in our power to care for you, to inform you, and to advocate for you.

With gratitude,

Corey Chiaramonte, Boise VA Medical Center; Andrew P. Wilper, MD, MPH, Boise VA Medical Center; David Wood, MHA, FACHE, Boise VA Medical Center; Charles Davis, MD, Boise VA Medical Center; Tom Reinhardt, Cascade Medical Center; Kevan Finley, LCPC, MS, MBA, Cottonwood Creek Behavioral Hospital; Brian Whitlock, Idaho Hospital Association; Micky Moyers, MBA, MHA, Intermountain Hospital; J’Dee Adams, North Canyon Medical Center; David Peterman, MD, Primary Health Medical Group; Odette Bolano, FACHE, MHA, BSN, Saint Alphonsus Health System; Steven Nemerson, MD, MSE, MBA, Saint Alphonsus Health System; John Kaiser, Saltzer Health; Chris Roth, St. Luke’s Health System; Jim Souza, MD, St. Luke’s Health System; David Pate, MD, JD, St. Luke’s Health System; Brad Turpen, FACHE, FACMPE, Valor Health; William Vetter, MD, Valor Health; Ryan Zumalt, Vibra Hospital; Stephen Hale, FACHE, Weiser Memorial Hospital; Betsy Hunsicker, West Valley Medical Center

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