Heroes of Healthcare
Heroes of Healthcare

Episode · 7 months ago

COVID-19’s Impact on Under-Resourced Communities

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

Bridging healthcare gaps in underserved communities comes with unique challenges, including socio-economic misalignment. In today’s episode, Rashard Johnson, President at Advocate Aurora Health and I unpack what this means and how they are addressing on the southside of Chicago.

We discuss:

  • The impact of George Floyd’s death on healthcare teams
  • Why underserved and black communities are at greater risk of succumbing to COVID-19
  • Pros and cons of the COVID-19 vaccine rollout

Heroes of Healthcare is hosted by Ted Weyn.

To hear this interview and more like it, subscribe to Heroes of Healthcare on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, or wherever you listen to podcasts.

Listening on a desktop & can’t see the links? Just search for Heroes of Healthcare in your favorite podcast player.

You Ere listening to heroes ofhealthcare, the podcast that highlights gold, selfless professionals in thehealth care industry focused on transforming lives in their communities.Let's get into the show, welcome to the heroes of HealthcarePodcast, I'm your host Ted Wayne in today's episode, I'm very excited thatwe're going to be able to touch upon a topic that we have not been able to hitin any sort of depth on the podcast, which is the racial tensions that aregoing on in this country, while we're in the middle of a pandemic and howdoes that affect the treatment of service, the treatment of care, thequality of care, quality of care and marginalized areas. So it's my absolutepleasure today to be joined by Richard Johnson Rochard Johnson is thepresident of Advocate Trinity and south. Suburban hospitals in the South,Chicago Land Region Advocate Trinity is part of the advocate. Aurora healthsystems prior to advocate Boshad was in the Houston Texas area, where he servedfor three years, as vice president and Chief Operating Officer at Chi, sint,Luke's, Elf, Partochi Johnson served five years and the assistant vicepresidents support services for ut, southwestern, university hospital andclinics in Dallas Johnson earned his master's degree in health careadministration from the University of Central Florida whore. I alsounderstand he was a heck of a football player. He's a member of the AmericanCollege of Healthcare Executives and the National Association of HealthService Executives currently serves on several boards, including the GreaterHouston March of dimes, the woodlands, family, Ymca and the Chamber ofCommerce. As we get ready to have this quite provocative episode, it isabsolutely my pleasure to welcome Forshar Johnson thanks to appreciateyou having me as excited to be here looking forward to him my friend yeah,let's jump into it, let's have some fun. So if you can, I always like to startoff with having the audience here a little bit about you little bill. Yourbackground, where you hailed from whe, grew up and what's gotten you intohealth care, and why e you so passionate about healthcare? Absolutely!Thank you. Thank you! Love! It love it. I am originally born and raised in inMiami Florida and liberty, city Miami to be exact product of a single parenthousehold. My Mother's, a teacher just raised my brother and I there and an athat neighborhood really helped shape me inform me and, to be honest with youwith you created, created theman. I am today in the executive, im and husband,etc their background and just give giving me a lot of insight on what itis to serve underserve communities and those disen franchise. Have'tg, comefrom that background being here in the south side of Chicago, gives me achance to hit the ground running and really relate with some of thechallenges that we have play: Football at University of Central Florida, Golnight, shamewith, slugaway it fluk O la yeah play was blessed enough to playcorterback there and didn't go onto the NFL. To my dream. I had some injuriesalong the way that deraied me bet. Stainat a master's degree at at CentralFlorida and had an opportunity to do a an administrative residency up, Ondethe CEO of the Mymva health system and then also a fellowship program up onthe Tho CEO Jackson, health system in Miami, and that just springboard at mycareer to to where I am now so those were the foundational roots. For me,that's great, so tell us a little bit about. I know you spend some time inTexas and it's been clear that throughout your career, as I mentioneda little earlier, that you definitely have a heart for giving back and youhave a hard for those communities. So what brought you to your you? A broughtyou to the current facility that you're managing now yeah. There are a multitoeto things that brought me here. I was...

...at the time a market chief operatingofficer with Chi sit luke's health down in the woodlands area. F, if you'refamiliar with Texas about thirty thirty, two miles north of Houston, reallyloved. It love the organization, love my role and receive a call from AvicanAuroa health that as they were expanding and they were growing andthey had recently merged advocate, did with the roar avocate was in Illinoislegacy and in a roar, legacys. It was in Wisconsin they merged and reachedout, because you know they felt this though I had what it takes to join theadvocate aroyal family. Thank God they were right and you know it was apresident opportunity. So I was that next step up for me in a dream, a dreamof mine. I had already already set my eyes on it. I wanted to become apresident, an co by the age of thirty five, which is a lot of people laughedat me when I was twenty four and I told thim that what avocate gave me thatopportunity believing me at a very young age, to take the role- and youknow when I came here- and I had a chance to drive through the south sideof Chicago and Advocate Trinity and then in the South suburb and avocatesouth suburban hospital H, two hospitals that I am so blessed andfortunate oversea. It wasn't no braid there. It was like looking in a mirror.You know I could see my reflection, I I could see my community. I canunderstand the struggles and some of the pain and some of the lack of accessfrom a healthcare standpoint or some systemic things that are structurallyset up as obstacles for US achieving abeuter health. I all O that resonatedwell with me and and for me it was a god sand blessing to have thatopportunity to be at at a president level, which is a dream job of mind andto do it in a community that reflected you know who I I truly am in myupbringing. I just saw that as a divine intervention. To be honest with you, sothat's what brought me here, hat's great se, because I know a little bitabout the woodlands area and know a little bit about the south side ofChicago and those two areas. Car are a little different, yeah yeah. Well, Ithink, if you talk to people that know me they'll tell you I'm a littledifferent as well. I cound I could go from the boardroom to the street cordenand relate with people soi love that, but I mean, but how, how critical right?How important is that in the I, your role right, hit's, very right, becausebecause leaders in the hospitals within communities like you're in reallyyou'ro, you are or become, my guess would be, and you tell me if I'm wrongbut youn a sence, you become a bit of a community leader, colregt, correct andespecially in this role, your spot on Teding, this roll, the President Roll,which was different for me because keeping in mine this is my firstpresident role right. I've always been an operator which your heads downyou're in the building you're making it happen, you're executing on all thoseinitiatives that your boss, Gil, you know, the president dreams up with theteam right. You CAV O make it Yoa H to execute, go make it happen. You have tomake it happen and in this role is definitely a lot more external facing.The fact that you and I having this much needed conversation is- is atestament to that oknow. It's external facing and you're doing a lot withlegislators. You're dealing a lot with community leaders, leaders of faith,and if you know anything about Chicago politics, then you know why they callit the windy city. So it's very robust, so I enjoy every bit of it, but it'sall the challenging and and it's great but you're right. It's a distinctdifference between the woodlands, which is an influent, extremely infloredsuburb, to where I am on the south side of Chicago and even even the southsuburbs, which does pretty well as well. The South Suberbs, but not the same asthe woodness. But I'll last thing. I'll share about this ted is that there arethings that you can learn at all levels and in all situations that help shapeyou and you can imply them if you're willing to be flexible and Winling tolisten and some of those things in...

...terms of how we generated revenue andmargins enable me to bring that skill set here on the south side of Chicagoand ensure that we have margins to meet our mission. Because anon once told me.Why is not once told me? There is no margin, there's no mission, and so Iuse that mentality to help Gil to our mission, to provide the programs thatwe need to take care of our community. I love that, and you know I can't Ican't agree more. Having worked in some nonprofit situations in my career aswell, we run into organizations who were all about ministry and we lovetheir heart right. We love that that's where their passion was, but withoutthe money there is no ministry and the more money you can get the moreministry. You could do all right. So you know there is a means to an endthere that you have to be mindful of when you are purpose driven, you know,but that monetary side of it and the ability to raise funds or generatefunds is is critical because without them you just can't sustain the mission.A great great you have to focus on the way you hit it purpose, driven as longas you center yourself on the Y D. that's something that my team and Italk about. Often that's one of the things that I love about ouorganization. At Avogat wor health, this there's never a day where we'renot centered on the WI at the highest levels of our organization, and thatmakes my job a lot easier and makes the virsion a lot more palpable as well.That's great! So I know there was a lot of things we want to talk about todayand I said to you: We'll get off and I'll start a little slow and then nextthing you know the time will go away and we'll be like wait. We got more totalk about TIORSO, let's Ot, let's dive in a little bit and start to talk aboutyou know. Obviously, staying with our team here is of healthcare. We alwayswant to continue to highlight those people who are selfless and puttingthemselves forward. First- and I know you said- you've got lots of storiesand lots of people who fall into that category, and you know one of theformats. We continue to follow here a little bit since we're just in themiddle of a pandemic. So why not? No rules, let's keep going, but we'rein the middle of a pandemic. So let's start backwards, and let's talk aboutcrazy to believe a year ago, right March of two thousand and twenty we'rerolling into a new chapter for everybody as we enter two thousand andtwenty and life throws us a curve ball, but so tell us a little bit about whatit was like at advocate in a urban center. For you guys when this thingstarted to break out and nobody had answers man I mean you mentioned curbothat resonate with me. You know my son does ten, you travel baseball and itwas more like a Randy Johnson curve. Bu, remember, randy, Johnson imanable exactly right, you know hugecur ball vividly. Remember it divitly, remember it. I remember being in theboartroom just just behind me here with my executive team and my Phositians,and I remember the looks on their faces as it was real a and it hit us like alike a ton of bricks and we begin to see covit patients pile into a into oured and the patients that were coming into the ED, as you mentioned, on theSouth side of Chicago and South Chicago land. These pasents were acutely ill,so they woeld come into the ED. They were going straight into the ICU fromthe ICU they're going on a ventilator and once they were on the ventolatorthey weren't coming off eventally. You know they were leaving and bitle bagsand s. It was the first step to the last step, unfortunately, rightabsolutely absolutely, and so to your point, things were changing rapidly andeven information that we were getting from the government was vacillatand.You would have a meeting in your emergency incident, comand and sort oflay out the plays. I know you're a sports guy will lay out the plays andthen, by the time noon rolls around. You have to audible again becausethey've changed yeah, and so you know I remember focusing on just as a leader ensuring that the mental state of my team is there.The mental state of my physicians is...

...there ensuring that there is calm inthe middle of chaos. Our President of CO, here in Jum scogswhere, he had agreat a great line that we use. Dailyan is faith over far calmover chaos, and Ijust in my head, you know just over and over and over reciting that andinsuring that they see me confident. They see me, leaning in with themwilling to walk the wall to do whatever it is. I need to do and then ensuringthat they knew, regardless of what I was going to give my all and my team.We were going to go our my executive team turning sure they had theresources necessary to do things, even if it means that we had to go againstthe grade somewhat. So those are things that really I mean it resonates with meevery day, yeah every day, so talk to us a little bit share with some of them.You gave me some of the numbers in terms of what you guys were seeing, butit was amazing to me when you said that Ye had ninety five percent covidrelated, so you guys weren't doing anything almost not doing anything butcovid and what were some of the things you were seeing from your team, thedoctors, the nursees the administrative staff and that you were just blown awayby yeah. I think there's there's a few things to it. If I had to hone in on itTed honestly, it would be the sacrifice you kno when you watch a group ofladies and gentlemen, risk their lives. You know, and I've played collegiacfootball at the Hi Division, one at the highest level, and you know whatpressure is when you're, when you're there and you're on thespn and Tere'snine thousand people in I, you know what pressure I've never seen pressurelike this hmm and never seen at this level the intensity and what what's atstake right, and so I think one of th, the most remarkable things that I'veseen sacrifice. I've made. I remember one of our nurse's single parenthousehold and just her and and her son and our daughter and she sent her kidsoff to stay with her mother whowas out of state because she didn't, you know,didn't want to bring risks, bringing anything home to hour. Kids. So here'ssomeone that- and you know as a father as well, your kids are, I mean that'syour your heart and and you're willing to send your kids away in the middle ofa pandemic right because you don't necessarily know what the pandemicholds, even when you send them away. FROR them sure, because of your commitment to your team, to thecommunity, to the south side of Chicago Andto, your passion of taking care ofpatience and you're, putting your life on the line by the way becauseeverything's changing and we don't necessarily know how this thing ismutating and what's going on we're sort of building the plane and flying itright. It felt like that, even though that's Cliche, but it really did- andthat was remarkable to me- and especially from a single being in asingle parent household, raised about my mother, to see a woman- and this iswomen's history month to see you know Woan do that was phenomenal yeah. It is.It just continues to amaze me right because, like you said you know for allof us who have children, they are the most precious thing in our lives and tosay I feel a calling- and I have to be here. You know ' being called to do amighty work right is a go. It goes right and so I'm being feeling thatcalling and as we talked about earlier, the purpose it is right and that'sthose are the things that were leading people through. I love that you saidfaith over fear Com over chaos. What was leading them through those thingswas that feeling a greater purpose that I've got a job to do and I've got to doit agree and, as a leader, you're motivated Bu, I mean I was inspired bythat and the other component of it too. Ted is through that inspiration andhealthcare heroes are naturally built. This way we're in healthcare because wewant to make a difference. We want to save lives, we ging to change lives. Wewant to do things for the better of...

...people in general. That's whatgravitates US to healthcare oftentimes! We neglect ourselves during that YEP.In order to give to others, we neglect ourselves, and so a big part of myleadership was an our leadership, as a system wasensuring that my executive team and I hate take careof yourself make sure you take care of the team that reports to you. Let'smake sure we look out for each other. If for Sha, I think you looking alittle tired or your dragon, don't worry about it. Sleep go home. Let metake the incident, come in right right, hose types of things, because it wasn'ta sprint, it wasn't even a marathon. It was more like an iron man and we'restill in it right is we're still in it, and so you have to so. We were keenlyfocus and continue to be keenly focus on our mental state and just mentalwellness rather yeah. So let's move forward a little bit now in time, andthis is a part I wanted to talk about. So in the middle of phase, one willstill call it we're getting into the the summer, and not only are we dealingwith a pandemic, but obviously racial tensions in the United States start toget into a new height orright. How did that impact your organization? How didthat impact the morale, the mental aspect? You know in one of the earlierepisodes we talked about how Mount Sy and I, How some of the administrationfelt that the George Floy situation was a tipping point for mental frugilityfor lack of a bet, a term where people saying okay, I, the pandemic, ispushing me to my limit. Now. This is really pushing me over the edge, andyou know, and obviously in such a deep racial area of the south side ofChicago. How did that affect your team, your environment? What was the kind ofthe scene? You know when that broke out in the middle of a pandemic, yeah andI'll start with how it how it impacted me first, and please will definitelyget into to my team as a proud black man. I was extremely hurt and destruhtby what I saw. What I witnessed- and you know I share at this- and and Ishoed it on social media and also shared it with with my leaders at thesystem level, because I'm full transparency I am who I am an and Ithink as leaders you have to be authentic and all you do and I couldn't.I felt the need the need to speak up in terms of what we all witnessed and theimpact get. I had on me personally and I share sort of the Gut renchingconversation and stories that I had to have with my kids. So I'm a father offour. I have four beautiful kids from my two girls, two boys, my oldestdaughters, thirteen sons, ten youngest daughters, four and my youngest son isseventeen months a and so that, as you have, you know, kids and my wife and Iare sitting there and we have to have this conversation now. My kids are are very fortunate and blessed. I havea great job. My wife has a great job, so they are growing up a lot moreprivilege is night in day Comparato, livery city and for them sho a hugeshot right, a shocker to have this type of conversation and the witness that onTV- and you know we had to have conversations around what it means. Yes,you're in the year in an a fluen area and yes, mommies an education,executive, Daddy's, a health care executive and mummy has two massers.Daddy has a massive degree. Yes, but outside of these doors ar outside ofthese suits, you know it's just in certain areas in our country. This iswhat it is to be a black person in America. That's a big conversation yeah one ofthe toughest things, especially when they're that young too, especially whenright and especially when you've workd your entire life, to ensure you knowthat theyre in...

...great areas there safe and go to greatschools Etcet, and you have to have that conversation. So now keepin my youknow, and I wanted to share that with our team and our leaders and everyone,because I wanted them to know that under the suit. Isn't this tough longguy I mean I'm just like you, I'm human. I have a family just like your familyand everyone was having different conversations in their respectivefamilies and then dealing with te pandemic and then dealing with theturmoil of past experience or racial tension. Etcera, and I think youmentioned the scinise story. I mean I think it's spot on. It was like atipping point like okay Wel. You have to release at some point. Something hasto come, so I appreciate the way that that we handled it our organizationwith Arican Aurora health. We embraced it. We O course announce racism andsocial injustice and empowered our team to peak up. We did forms and where ArPersons of Color Black Brown community, lgbt community, anyone that's ever feltmarginalized. Wer were there with our Caucasian white colleagues. All of ourcolleagues were together and we did breakout sessions where we hadconversations around race. You know and we were vulnerable to each other, andwe could ask questions like hey. You know I maybe white, and I don'tunderstand this- tell me how you feel or shot those types of things yeah, andI think that helped us hell a lot to be honest with you. You know to sit downwith your, I mean we're a family right and the sit out with your familymembers and your brothers and sisters from different walks in life and havethose conversations we needed that in that moment, and so I really appreciatehow we handled it because it was sumultuous and you sawl. The uprisingand uproyal was going on and all the pain in English that was there and andprotesting that you know I don't agree with violets, but I definitely agreewith peaceful protests. You know and- and you sawl t at and we needed- and Iactually took my kids and we were a part of some peaceful protest as welljust so they can experience that and that of which you know my grandmotherwho's still living in our ancessors there, the Sindens I fought so hard orto get us to this point yeah. I love that so fe can, let's just go a littlebit deeper with that and in a sense that you know what were thoseconversations like. In other words, when you were bringing the teamtogether and you had all walks of it in there, I said to you before the callI'm a privileged white man, so I don't pretend to understand so I seek tounderstand so I make no assumptions but I'm always curious. I know at times Ifeel hesitant to ask questions because I don't want to offend correct, but theonly way to learn or to grow is to is to ask the questions and as long as youknow the person's heart, then you can take where it's coming from. But howdid you guys foster those conversations because they can be awkward? They canbe difficult. They can be hard to say you know Werchot as a black man Bhy aryou angry about this right or you know what really annoys you about this orexchuse the expression. What pisses you off about this a yeah? No, so definitely content experts being thereright and we lian heavily on our diversity and equity and inclusion team,a Dnit we lean heavily on new and it started with the top two with our chiefdiversity, equaty officer, Erica Joy, Daniels, interviewing our president andCEO, Jim Stogsburg, and I never forget their exchange because hiy help set theton op and he was vulnerable and you know Jim mentioned hey. I can't Somor eYoutet, I'm a white guy and he grew up a lot more. Humble though, in Iowa, sono different than being privileged, but he does understand that he doesn't walkin the persons of colored shoes and he...

...was like. I was always raised, not tosea color and she politely told him Hey as an Africanamerican, a black woman. Iwant you to see color. I want you to embrace who I am because I'm proudwe're proud of that which is true. So it's been able to be vulnerable and tohave those conversation. It was a learning moment right for him how it may be well attention, but then howits perceives on the other side- and I just think, those types of forms and wecontinue to have them but therre I mean there were personal stories that Ishare in terms of being in liberty, city in Carrol City, Miami and as ateenager being pulled over by the cops and profile, and we were just normalteenage kids coming home from football game and a buddy of mine reached theUNBUKU, his seat belt and the guns were caught and loaded and pointed hm. Youknow vividly you know stories. We share those stories. Several. My colleaguesthat ave lived in the floing areas share stories of of them being profiled,while jogging or walking in their neighborhood and and these things arereal n and these things happen, and so it was authentic and it needed you know on both sides ofit is therapy on both sides. It's definitely needed yeah. No, we can hidefrom it. We got to continue to discuss it and as we on the show we talk aboutis the mental health aspect of all of it is so important. You know, as yousaid, being mindful to keep an eye on those people who were sacrificing somuch physically to be there and working long shifts and all of that, but alsomentally how you doing- and you know you got to keep that part as healthy asthe physical part of it. Otherwise, you can't do anything, then you Coul, thenyour have no value exactly right. Exactly right. You have to take care ofyourself afore, you can take care of others, and I mean we did things likerespite rooms and- and we still have them now- set up and all right live.Well out, another shameless plug t allows you to go on there and domeditation and you can do it to running water and I use it. I literally use itevery day whether it's a minute three minutes, five minutes, ten minuteswhatever I go on there and do that and we have those things set up and weencourage. The other part is encouraging our team members, ourpositions to take time, take time off and when you're off like like take offwe're going to have a blody system. I clunk that's right! I'm pluck well haveyour back and that's hard to do it. That's again it's hard and it's hardfor me, but we had to masser that because that again it's an Ironman,it's more than a marathon yeah. So let's well we're just talking aboutthis. Can you share a little bit? What came out of some of those conversations?Obviously I don't want you to share anything that somebody, you might havesaid, or you know specifically, but what was the feeling from the community?Obviously, in terms of- and I don't mean so much- We talked a little bitabout the George Floyd situation and the frustration from the blackcommunity of feeling like when is this going to be over? When can this stop?Why does this keep happening, but how did it manifest itself into thehospital informed with the pandemic and with covid coming in? You know, I'veheard things in the news and again you know I don't I'm not taking any of itfor for fact, but there does seem to be frustration amongst the community. Adisproportionate of African Americans are dying from Covid, yet we're notrecognizing that, and what are some of the feelings that you're you erehearing then, and how does that? Has that changed it all now yeah for us?You know, let's keep in in mind that Covid we'vebeen. This is a conversation we've been talking about for quite some time interms of like health disparities and inequities, and just lack of access,etc. INSTRUCTURAL, systemic racism and things that have been is history. Theseare factual things right and it's something that we've had conversationsaround and in particular, when you look...

...at the south side of Chicago, we havethe largest life expectancy gap in the country and why you did a study a fewyears ago, whereas you take the southside Chicago area coat. You knowyour life expectancy, let's do it if you go ten miles north. Your lifeexpectancy is ninety years old, if you're in the south, south of Chicagoand T ho IP colds. It's fifty nine o think about that. Yesh. That's not athat's! Not a that's, not a few year through ten miles right. So when youtake on the pandemic and Covid thisunconfonable disease that recaveit across the world- and you place that on places like thesouth side of Chicago, where historically has been a black of access,lack of investments and education or infrastructure food deserts, I mean youname: It lack of jobs, Wright and good pay employment because, as you know,employment least, the better housing opportunities lease, the fool least,the better healthcare, at least the better educationand. All of thosethings are into twit there. They're not mutually exclusive, so covid should light on what we've knownall a while it not only shed light. It was a spotlight like this creates thedisproportionate death rates that were seeing in persons of colors andminorities. You know black and Brown People Black Hispanics, you KNAT, youknow this creates that over yeah. I understand you, it kind of. I gave aliving example. So Y we've been talking about it. We've been saying we'remarginalized we're saying these communities have food deserts and theyhave less resources. They can't get to all the resources that other people doand whether you believe it or not. You hear about it, but covid to your point,shot a light on it and said: okay. Here's an example: example we're livingin of exactly what we were talking spotlight, the brightest potlight outbecause think about it. The entire world is impacted by this, so you can'tand as a matter of fact, notonly is the world impact t at the entire world isnow shut down and quarantine right and all your focus is on. How do we get outof this right? And all you see is the disproportionate numbers I mean, and Ishare this with you a little earlier. You know in my hosital at one point thedarkest moment that I've ever experienced in my career and in fact,in my life, for that matter, was sitting in this in this boardroombehind me with my executive team and realizing that, as the report wascoming out from one of my vps permission on spiritual care, that Ilmore was that capacity and the funeral homes could not accept anymore and weneeded to order refrigerated eighteen, wollof trucks to hold the bodies yeahthat we have to put right outside of the hospital. As our team members areexident and in Theri I mean- and these were people look like me M Wereit, sothe data and the mortality, the numbers that are seen- those aren't numbers tous. Now they weren't the numbers you were living. You were carrying thebodies into thes, Setuateo, correct. In terms of this it wasn't it's not adatapoint for us now. This is this was our reality right. This is what we'reliving and I think that's why we're so passionane around and I know you'll-probably we're going to get there but the vaccine and what it means forcommunities of color and what it means for all of us rallying to take it,because we need it yeah yeah. We need it sure. So so, let's fass forward alittle bit and we can spend a little bit of time and let's talk about secondwave, was there anything you know thet second surge? was there anything postThanksgiving that lessons learned? What was better? How did you see what thingsdid you see out of that and then let's well transition right into the vaccine,because that's becoming now another...

...marginalized conversation, that'sbecoming another political conversation, and I've got some questions that I'dlove to throw at you when we get there. But let's talk about second wave, hesecond way was so let me say this when you, when you go through that storm, wewere a lot more prepared. Second way, we had lessons. Learn. I had lessons,learn things that I could have done better, but we talked about me being anOperato by trade and the COO, and this was the first President Roll and youask specifically on external communication. Well, I locked in and Iwas worried about making sure the shop was running and I didn't communicate asmuch as I should have excerdenly, and I shared that with everybody Ecaus, Ithink as a leader you'R, not a no n you're, not perfect. You got to bewilling to tell people you make mistakes and football help create that,because in football everything is on the camera. So you can't even you can'tlaugh. You want to the eye and the sky does a lot an then Yeu'll show it yousix more times a right in front right in front of your teenage friends whocan Wat t crack jokes on you right now, you're on the jumbo Tron, a Rowhen you're on right you're on the ED part of the ESPN, highlights I allright there you go so I'm accomfomed for that. So I knew learning. Okay. Ineed to spend more time communicating with my border directors more time withthe legislatires more time with the proscess of the churches more time withthe teachers of the school, like everyone, thats externally, has to geta lot more communication for me because they're looking at me as the face yeahS, that's thats! SO THAT'S ONE! The other thing is we made some moves atadvocate, whereas we were outsourcing PPE, the China and when China shut down,that adversely impacted us. Luckily size doesn't matter and- and you know,we're twenty eight pospital system in to say so we could leave on Wisconsinfor certain things and lean on other areas. Ot Illinois hat may not havebeen as impacted as we were on Nouthou Chicago, so th that helped. But what wedid was we invested in PPE company home grown here in the US out of Texas andthen now we had SPAKO PP right because we didn't have to worry about. So allthose things help right and and plus you know you couple that with the factthat things weren't changing through the CDC and the FDA. Everyone was onthe same track right, I think the big part about Wav to that was our concernand what we were prepared for is this flu, the flu season. As you know, so,flu season comes around every year and that's a busy time for for any anyhospital across the country and when you think about pneumonia and cl or youthink, gout some of those other things, it's a big deal. So we were ourepidemeologists were categorizing this as a twindemic right. So you got youknow, and some people will call it a tridemic. If you add the socialinjustice plus pandemic, plus the flue season coming. So it was a huge pushfor us to ensure that everyone received their flu vaccines, which we ismandatory here, but we took it a step further and we went out and providedflu vaccines for the community as well, because, as our mission is to helppeople live well and we knew that we need it to get out in front of this asas much as possible as quick as possible. So all of our physicians, allof we did a lot more outreach from flu vaccine that just our employees, all ofour patients, all everyone out even out in the community, so look's like aminute and talk about that because it brings up a point, an question. I'mcurious to see what you saw. So I remember rolling into the fall andeverybody saying you know now: We're really GOINGTO get hit because we'regoing to have flu on top of Covid Lright, and I heard stories saying fluwon't be so bad because we're wearing masks and we never used to wear masksbefore so now. We're not going to spread it as much and then mostrecently, somebody had shared that some of the data coming out of CDC aroundmortalities doesn't seem to be making sense, in other words like they're.Almost no reports of flu deaths coming...

...out of some of the data N and I don'twant to say CDC because I could be wrong. But what did you guy see? Didyou see a diminished amount of flu? Did you see? Higher rates? Is Flu and Covid?Getting? Are those lines getting blurred and overlapping? So that's agreat question and, to be honest with you, I'm not the expert in that, but Iwork with the exroverts. You know around around this wat from our fromour end, we were prepared to see a much greater pike. Now we're not well we'rejust coming through flu season now forgot is the year is flying it'salready almost prin. You know yeah t's, Yeah Yeah. We are so more. We didn'tsee as a robust flu season as we were prepared for and on the same token, if we're reallylooking at it from us from our perspective, and it could be because wegot hit really hard through the gate on the South Soute of Chicago. We wereprobably one of the first in the country to be slam like we were slam.We didn't see the COLID number of spite as high as they did during the firstway. So those were all right and- and I continue to hold my breathon this because you never count your eggs before they hatch. You know righty con, the chickens before they hedge, but those were all positive signs forus, I'm ging through it. So we you know, I don't know now. I can't tell you yes,this is cals because of this- and this is I I'm not going to sit here andpretend the that, like, I know the answer to that, but it'll beinteresting to see it'll be interesting to see how the data comes out and howit flushes out, because again conspiracy, theorists, sit there andsay well the government's counting everything is covid. Now every death iscovid death, even if it's not or it's covid related death and their countingflu is covid. So it will be interesting to see how those numbers yeah shake out.So let's talk about with the time we have left here, let's talk a little bitabout the vaccination. What are you seeing in south side? What's going? Andyou know the the thing that I'm hearing as again as everything gets politicizedis concern that the marginalized communities are going to get to Johnsonand Johnson vaccine and that's not as good as the vaccine. So they're notgoing to give us, you know they're going to give the not so good vaccine-and you know you just I just roll my eyes when I hear that stuff, becauseit's frustrating that all the dat and the facts aren't always out. Butwithout me putting any more words in your mouth. Why don't you share with usand the listeners kind of what d? What are you guys experiencing good and badyeah? So the good part is, let me say we have the vaccine here and it'srolling. We have Maderna, we have fizer and and then we will be getting Johnsonand Johnson sum and so being in a marginalized area. Where you know we wehave it, we have it the Bakpart, so I've taken the shot as well right and Ididn't plan on taking it right away. My Primary Cardocand, I released anotherpodcast or around our my experience and that that's a whole another segment,but he really convinced me to totake the vaccine. So you know so L T's.Let's talk about that right. So if you have hesitance that's there at thepresident level. Imagine the hesitant that you have, that is at other levels of the organizationdown to the front line who may not trust or sure. Maybe I don't have a lotof information etce. So what we're seeing on the south side as we're,making a huge push to one embrace sort of the systemic challenges and racism that hasbeen in medicine from the Tuskegis experiment. To a number of other thingsI mean we can go down the line. You know I chared a story with everyone andand my sons, baseball team, one of the parents, great great friend, of mine,White Guy. We are very close friend and we were having a conversation. He'slike well we're shot, you're, a...

...president of a hospital and twohospitals, and why don't you you guys just make, make it mandatory foreverybody to get the Flu Vaccine? And I told him was because some people don'ttrust the vaccine. They don't trust the government, they don't trust thehistory and, like my people like black people, would it would not be good forright and he was like well why I was like well for one there's, a Tuskegeeexperiment and the first thing he said was were shot that was so long ago yeah.But then you know I have to explain to him. My grandmother is still livingright and it's not long ago to her, because thethings that she's experienced in our country and from being the help andfrom picking Cott in them from being sic. These are real things that when weare at you know Thanksgiving and Christmas and and she's Tellin stort Imean these are real real life experiences and h. He was appalled andhe apologize, and I was like it's fine. You don't have to apologize. That'swhat diversity is all about. THAT'S WHA! We have to have diversity in theboardroom and people from different walks of life, because we won't makethat mistake. You right so to that in where I was going with. That is, is weare about addressing you know, what's been out there what's happening in thepast? Okay, this is happen. This is how we address it, but as leaders of color,this is our story. This is why I'm taking the shot. This is why you shouldtake this shot. This is why our physicians are taking the shot, and soI stepped up because there was a hesitance really to get on board and tothe point that you made earlier, which was being disproportionately impactedby covid and having chronic illnesses ro rampant throughout our communitywith COPD and CHF and diabetes and hypertension yeah. We can ill affordnot to take the shot right. So that's that's really what we've been focusedon with our organization and then, and not only all organization, but ourpartners throughout the south side, other other health care assets that wehave has all been focused on getting that going. So if people in yourcommunity want to get the vaccine, they can get it right at your facility andtheire scheduling, and how are you handling that capacity right? That's awhole new other logistical issue right because you're not set up to havethousands of people come through the doors for, even even if it's for halfan hour or an hour. Yes, paks on a whole other logistical thing, plus erefrigeration, again correct so size and scale does help being a part of asystem, and so we have assets that we can do a Hubbin spok. I have somereally BANGUP CNOS chief nursing officers and Sharon Atan and GwenOgusbe Oldm at Trinity, and these these young, ladies, are they run. They run the shop like theysource, the team members and they're doing the logistics and doing all themeeting and Andso that that helps and then the other component of it is keepin mind the vaccine distribution and it varies from state to state. But we havevaccine for trinity that comes from the city of Chicago, and then we havevaccine for south sub that comes from Cook, county and Ikot in terms of thealotment that you receive its based off of not only the demand but ensuringthat we don't lease any dose behind right and we have a program for yousenior, sixty, five and older that are within that ter can't come in then, whowe calling to ensure that we don't waste this dose right because to yourpoint, thereis a time time frame this there. So lots of logistics, lots ofcommunication oftentime several times a day and just Tam work. That's andthat's that's how you make it happen and just now two days are alike and youhave to be flexible and know that in life you know three things areguarantee. You know death, Texas and Change. Oh Gosh, so so much to talk about- andI know we're kind of running a little lo tight on time- and I appreciate allthe time you're given us, especially in the middle of everything that's goingon. So thank you. We will continue to...

...talk you and I will circle back I'dlove to talk to you again, maybe in the fall and see how things are going andcheck in and and keep this conversation going. But before we head out, I alwayshave my standard. You know departing question, which is so growing upcurrent pastor or present, who is your hero, who's, the hero for BoshatJohnson? That's that undoubtedly that's my mother, that's my mother!Undoubtedly, and as a man now and a father for and a husband, you know I don't knowhow she how she did it in single parent, household and mother's, a teacher andand that's less than fifteenth of what my wife and I arefortunate to bring in and so for her to raise to boys in that type of of anenvironment and then Tho go and get her masters degree. I literally watch mymother in th S and Miami get her master's degree. I was back, then youcan leave kids in the car, so ro A. I was in the car as she went toBery University in Miabi to get a masters and I'll watch her improve oulife, our lifestyle yeah, and that showed me the power of education andshe's always say education is the key. But seeing is believing and what I cansee is closeo closer to achieveand. So for her to do that, it is driven me and she just taught me somany life lessons. I mean it even going through this paademic. I can remember,you know ordering venerlators and they were saying well, we don't necessarilyneed all of these venilators and- and I show story what my mother told me-Is it's better than Hale and not need, then to need and not have yeah and somany different stories I could share, but she is undoubtedly my hero. I thank God thatshe's still around and I spoil every chance every chance I get and I'mgrateful to have a wife wholl appreciates that that relationship aswell and they get alone great so and what's her name, Benny Benny D Johnsonis is my mom and my wife is Donejia Johnson. Those are My al, my Queens, sothey they keep me. It's right. Have some strong women around you right itCav me Fallo got some good guard rails. That's right! Happy Women's history!Month to you know: that'sthat's allthat, awesome, that's great! Well, it was myprivilege to have you on. Thank you for allowing me to be direct and askquestions and and seek to understand, N. I think we need to continue to do thatas a society. I heard an article recently and they said we've lost theart of civil discourse right, so we can't talk. We can have differentopinions and have a conversation about it anymore. It's we can have aconversation and immediately gets heated wor. It gets personal. So, let'scope that this conversation leads to some more civil discourse where we feelcomfortable, asking those questions of each other and being okay with thatthat maybe whether we agree or don't disagree with that answer, we canrespect each other for having an answer agree. I agree. I can't can't thank youenough ter for this opportunity, powerful conversation, powfom podcastand for the work that you're doing to further the mission of uplifting ourherows on the front line. God bless you. I appreciate you and call me at anytime my friend I enjoyed it. Thank you SAR my privilege. I appreciate E. GO byY, you've been listening to heroes ofhealthcare for more subscribe to the show in your favorite podcast player,or visit us at heroes of healthcare. Podcastcom.

In-Stream Audio Search

NEW

Search across all episodes within this podcast

Episodes (31)