Heroes of Healthcare
Heroes of Healthcare

Episode · 9 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're listening to heroes of healthcare,the podcast that highlights bold, selfless professionals in the healthcare industry focused on transforminglives in their communities. Let's get into the show. Welcome to the heroesof healthcare podcast. I'm your host, Ted Wayne. In today's episode,I'm very excited that we're going to be able to touch upon a topic thatwe have not been able to hit man any sort of depth on the podcast, which is the racial tensions that are going on in this country while we'rein the middle of the pandemic and how does that effect the treatment of service, the treatment of care, the quality of care, quality of care andmarginalized areas. So it's my absolute pleasure today to be joined by Richard Johnson. Richard Johnson is the president of Advocate Trinity and south suburban hospitals in theSouth Chicago Land Region. Advocate Trinity is part of the Advocate Aurora health systems. Prior to advocate for Shad was in the Houston Texas area, where heserved for three years as vice president and Chief Operating Officer at Cchi St Luke'shealth. Prior to Chi, Johnson served five years and the assistant vice presidentof support services for ut southwestern university hospital and clinics in Dallas. Johnson earnedhis master's degree and Healthcare Administration from the universe to your central Florida or Ialso understand he was a heck of a football player. He's a member ofthe American College of Healthcare Executives and the National Association of Health Service Executives.Currently serves on several boards, including the Greater Houston March of dimes, theWoodlands Family why MCA and the Chamber of Commerce. As we get ready tohave this quite provocative episode, it is absolutely my pleasure to welcome Richard Johnson. Thanks to I appreciate you having me. Is excited to be here. Lookingforward to him, my friend. Yeah, let's jump into it.Let's have some fun. So, if you can, I always like tostart off with having the audience here a little bit about you, a littlebit of your background, where you hailed from, where you grew up andwhat's gotten you into healthcare and why are you so passionate about healthcare? Absolutely, thank you. Thank you. Love it, love it. I amoriginally born and raised in in Miami, Florida, and Liberty City Miami tobe exact product of a single parent household. My mother's a teacher, just raisedmy brother and I there and I and that that neighborhood really help shakeme and for me and, to be honest with you, with you createdcreated the man I am today and the executive I am and husband, etc. Is that background and just give it given me a lot of insight onwhat it is to serve under serve communities and those disfranchise. Having come fromthat background, being here in the South Sage Chicago gives me a chance tohit the ground running and really relate with some of the challenges that we have. Played Football at University of Central Florida. Go night shame with plug away slugaway. You see you play. Was Blessed enough to play cornerback thereand they didn't go on to the NFL to my dream. I had someinjuries along the way that derailed me, but stayed and did a master's degreeat central Florida and had an opportunity to do an administrative residency up under theCEO of the Miami va health system and then also a fellowship program up onthe the CEO at Jackson Health System in Miami and that just springboard at mycareer 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 spendsome time in Texas and it's been clear that throughout your career, as Imentioned a little earlier, that you definitely have a heart for giving back andyou've a heart for those communities. So what brought you to your you whatbrought you to the current facility that you're managing now? Yeah, there area multitude of things that brought me here.

I was, at the time ofmarket chief operating officer with hi St Luke's health down in the woodlands area, if you're familiar with Texas, about thirty thirty two miles north of Houston. Really loved it, loved the organization, loved my role and receive the callfrom advocate Aurora health as they were expanding and they were growing and theyhad recently merged, advocate did with the RAW. Advocate was in Illinois legacyand in the raw legacy is it was in Wisconsin. They merged and reachedout because, you know, they felt this though I had what it takesto join the advocate of royal family. Thank God they were right. Andyou know, it was a president opportunity. So was that next step up forme and in a dream, a dream of mine, I had alreadyalready set my eyes on it. I wanted to become a president of CEOby the age of thirty five, which is a lot of people laughed atme when I was twenty four and I told him that. But advocate gaveme that opportunity, leaving me at a very young age to take the role. And you know, when I came here and I had a chance todrive through the south side of Chicago at Advocate Trinity and then in the southsuburbs at advocate south suburban hospital and the two hospitals that I am so blessedand fortunate and oversee, it was a no brainer. It was like lookingin a mirror, you know. I I could see my reflection, Icould see my community. I can understand the struggles and some of the painand some of the lack of access from a healthcare standpoint or some systemic thingsthat are structurally set up as obstacles for US achieving a better health I allof that resonated well with me and and for me it was a godsend blessingto have that opportunity to be at a president level, which is a dreamjob of mine, and to do it in a community that reflected, youknow, who I truly am in my upbringing. I just saw that asa divine intervention, to be honest with you. So that's what brought mehere. That's great, toe if, because, as I know a littlebit about the woodlands area and know a little bit about the south side ofChicago, and those two areas care are little different. Yeah, yeah,well, I think if you talk to people that know me, they'll tellyou of a little different as well. I can, I can go fromthe boardroom to the street corner and relate with people self. But now,and I love that, but I mean, but how how critical? Right,how important is that in the in your role? Right, it's veryright, because because leaders in the hospitals, within communities like you're in, reallyyou're all you are, or become. My guests would be, and youtell me if I'm wrong, but you know, sen, you becomea bit of a community leader. Correct, correct, and especially in this role. You're spot on Ted in this role, the president role, whichwas different from me because, keeping in mind this is my first president,Roll Right, I've always been an operator, which is your heads down, you'rein the building, you're making it happen, you're executing on all thoseinitiatives that your boss give. You know, the president dreams up with the team, right, make it. Yeah, the execute. Go make it happen. You have to make it happen and in this role is definitely alot more external facing. The fact that you and I have in this muchneeded conversation is a is a testament. Today. You know, it's externalfacing and you're dealing a lot with legislators, you're dealing a lot with community leaders, leaders of faith, and if you know anything about Chicago politics,then you know why they call it the windy city. So it's very robust. So I enjoy every bit of it, but it's all the challenging in isand it's great. But you're right, it's a distinct difference between the woodlands, which is an influent, extremely influent suburb, to where I amon the south side of Chicago, and even even the south suburbs, whichdoes pretty well as well the south suburbs, but not the same as the woodlands. But I'll last thing I'll share about this head is that there arethings that you can learn at all levels and in all situations that help shapeyou and you can apply them if you're willing to be flexible and willing tolisten. And some of the 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 a nun oncetold me why is none? Once told me there is no margin, there'sno mission, and so I use that mentality to help give to our mission, to provide the programs that we need to take care of our community.I love that and you know I can't I can't agree more. Having workedin some nonprofit situations in my career as well, we run into organizations whowere all about ministry and we love their heart right, we love that that'swhere their passion was, but without the money there is no ministry and themore money you can get, the more ministry you could do. All right. So you know there is a means to an end there that you haveto be mindful of. The when you are purpose driven, you know butthat monetary side of it and the ability to raise funds or generate funds iscritical because without them, you you just can't sustain the mission. A greatgreat you have to focus on the why. You hit it purpose driven as longas you sent on yourself on the why, and that's something that myteam and I talked about often, as one of the things that I loveabout our organization at advocate a royal health is there's never a day where we'renot sent on the Y at the highest levels of our organization, and thatmakes my job a lot easier and makes the vision a lot more palpable aswell. That's great. So I know there was a lot of things wewant to talk about today and I said you will get off to it.I'll start a little slow and the next thing you know, the time willgo away and we'll be like wait, we got more to talk about.So so let's do let's dive in a little bit and start to talk about, you know, obviously, staying with our team heroes of healthcare, wealways want to continue to highlight those people who are selfless and putting themselves forwardfirst, and I know you said you've got lots of stories and lots ofpeople who fall into that category. And you know, one of the formatswe continue to follow here a little bit, since we're just in the middle ofa pandemic. So why not? No rules, let's keep going.But we're in the middle of a pandemic, so let's start backwards and let's talkabout crazy to believe a year ago, right March of two thousand and twenty, we're rolling into a new chapter for everybody as we enter two thousandand twenty, and life throws us a curveball. But so tell us alittle bit about what it was like at advocate in a urban center for youguys when this thing started to break out and nobody had answers. Man,I mean you mentioned curve ball. That resonated with him. You know myson does ten. You Travel Baseball, and it was more like a RandyJohnson curve. But I remember Randy Johnson's table exactly right, you know,huge curveball vividly. Remember it, vividly remember it. I remember being inthe boardroom just just behind me here with my executive team and my physicians andI remember the looks on their faces as it was real and and it hitus like a like a ton of bricks, and we begin to see covid patientspile into into our ed and the patients that were coming into Ed,as you mentioned, on the South side of Chicago and South Chicago land.These patients were acutely ill. So they would come into the ED, theywere going straight into the ICEEU. From the ICEEU they are going on aventilator and once they were on the ventilator they weren't coming off the ventility.You know, they were leaving in body bags and as it was the firststep to the last step, unfortunately. Right. Absolutely, absolutely, andso, to your point, things were changing rapidly and even information that wewere getting from the government was iscilating it. You would have a meeting in youremergency incident command and sort of lay out the plays. I know you'rea sports guy. will lay out the plays and then by the time noonrolls around, you have the audible again because they've changed. Yeah, andso you know, I remember focusing on, just as a leader, ensuring thatthe mental state of my team is...

...there, the mental state of myphysicians is there, ensuring that there is calm in the middle of chaos.Are President of CEO here, Jim Scottsbury, had a great, great line thatwe use daily and is faith over fear, calm over chaos, andjust in my head, you know, just over and over and over,reciting at and ensuring that they see me confident, they see me leaning inwith them, willing to the walk, the walk to do whatever it isI need to do, and then ensuring that they knew, regardless of what, I was going to give my all and my team, we were goingto give our all my executive team turn sure they had the resources necessary todo things, even if it means that we had to go against the grainsomewhat. 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 interms of what you guys were seeing, but it was amazing to me whenyou said that you had ninety five percent covid related. So you guys weren'tdoing anything, almost not doing anything but covid. And what were some ofthe things you were seeing from your team, the doctors, the nurses, theadministrative staff, and that you were just blown away by yeah, Ithink there's there's a few things to it. If I had to hone in onit, ted honestly, it would be the sacrifice, you know,when you watch a group of ladies and gentlemen and risk their lives. Youknow, and I've played collegiate football at the High Division One, at thehighest level, and you know what pressure is when you're when you're there andyou're on ESPN and it's ninety thousand people in the you know, a pressure. I've never seen pressure like this, hmm, and never seeing at thislevel the intensity and what what's at stake, right. And so I think oneof the most remarkable things that I've seen in sacrifice I made. Iremember one of our nurses, single parent household and just her and and herson and her daughter, and she sent her kids off to stay with hermother WHO's out of state, because she didn't, you know, didn't wantto bring risk bringing anything home to her kids. So here's someone that,and you know as a father as well, your kids are. I mean that'ssure your heart and and you're willing to send your kids away in themiddle of a pandemic, right because you don't necessarily know what the pandemic holds, even when you send them away. For them. Sure, because ofyour commitment to your team, to the community, to the south side ofChicago and to your passion of taking care of patients. And you're putting yourlife on the line, by the way, because everything's changing and we don't necessarilyknow how this thing is mutating and what's going on. We're sort ofbuilding the plane and flying it. Right, it felt like that, even thoughthat that's Cliche, but it really did, and that was remarkable tome, especially from a single been in a single parent household, or he'sa by my mother, to see a woman, and this is women's historymonth, to see, you know, women to do that was phenomenal.Yeah, it is. It just continues to amaze me, right because,like you said, you know, for all of us who have children,they are the most precious thing in our lives. And to say I feela calling and I have to be here, you know, being called to doa mighty work, right, is that how it goes? Right,and so I'm being feeling that calling and, as we talked about earlier, thepurpose it is right, and that's those are the things that we're leadingpeople through I loved it. You said faith over fear, calm over chaos. What was leading them through those things was that feeling a greater purpose,that I've got a job to do and I've got to do it a greatand as a leader you're motivated. But I mean, I was inspired bythat. And the other component of it to Ted is through that inspiration andhealthcare heroes are naturally built this way. We're in healthcare because we want tomake a difference, we want to save lives, we want to change lives, we want to do things for the...

...better of people in general. That'swhat gravitates us to healthcare. Oftentimes we neglect ourselves during that Yep, inorder to give to others, we neglect ourselves. And so a big partof my leadership was, and our leadership as a system was ensuring that myexecutive team and I hey, take care of yourself. Make sure you takecare of the team that reports to you. Let's make sure we look out foreach other. If we shot, I think you looking a little tiredof your dragon. Don't worry about it, sleep, go home. Let metake the incident. Come in right, right, those types of things,because it wasn't a sprint. It wasn't even a marathon, it wasmore like an iron man. And we're still in it right, we're stillin it, and so you have to so we were keenly focus and continueto be keenly focus on our mental state and just mental wellness rather. Yeah. So let's move forward a little bit now in time, and this isa part I wanted to talk about. So in the middle of phase one, will still call it, we're getting into the the summer, and notonly are we dealing with the pandemic, but obviously racial tensions in the UnitedStates start to get into a new height. Or how did that impact your organization? How did that impact the morale, the mental aspect? You know,in one of the earlier episodes we talked about how Mount Cyin I howsome of the administration felt that the George Floyd situation was a tipping point formental fragility, for lack of a better term, where people saying, okay, I the pandemic is pushing me to my limit. Now this is reallypushing me over the edge, you know, and obviously in such a deep racialarea of the south side of Chicago, how did that affect your team?Your environment. What was the kind of just seemed, you know,when that broke out in the middle of the pandemic? Yeah, and I'llstart with how it how it impacted me first and least. Will definitely getinto to my team. As a proud black man, I was extremely hurtand distraught by what I saw, what I witness and you know, Ishare this and and I shared it on social media and also shared it withwith my leaders at the system level because, in full transparency, I am whoI am and I think as leaders you have to be authentic in allyou do, and I couldn't. I felt the need, the need tospeak up in terms of what we all witnessed and the impact get I hadon me personally, and I share sort of the gut wrenching conversation and storiesthat I had to have with my kids. So I'm a father of for Ihave four beautiful kids from my two girls, two boys, my oldestdaughter's thirteen sons, ten youngest daughters for and my youngest son is seventeen monthsand so, as you have you know, kids and my wife and I aresitting there and we have to have this conversation. Now my kids areare very fortunate and blessed. I have a great job, my wife hasa great job. So they are growing up a lot more privilege this nightand day compared it to liberty city, and for them a shot, ahuge shot, right, a shocker to have this type of conversation and thewitness that on TV be and you know, we had to have conversations around whatit means. Yes, you're in you're in a fluent area. Andyes, Mommy's and education executive. Dad He's a health care executive, andMommy has two masters. Daddy has a masters degree. Yes, but outsideof these doors or outside of these suits, you know, this is in certainareas in our country. This is what it is to be a blackperson in America. HMM, that's a big conversation. Yeah, one ofthe toughest things, especially when they're that young too, especially when right andespecially when you've worked your entire life to ensure you know that they're in greatareas, safe and go to great schools,...

...etc. And you have to havethat conversation. So now keep in mind. You know, and Iwanted to share that with our team and our leaders and everyone because I wantedthem to know that under the suit. Isn't this teff on? I mean, I'm just like you, I'm human. I have a family just like yourfamily, and everyone was having different conversations and their respective families and thendealing with a pandemic and then dealing with the term, all of past experiencesor racial tension, etceter and. And I think you mentioned the sign thatstory, I mean, I think a spot on. It was like atipping point, like okay, you have to release at some point, somethinghas to come. So I appreciate the way that that we handled it ourortization with advocate of royal health. We embraced it. We of course denouncedracism and social injustice and empowered our team to pack up. We did formsand where are persons of Color, Black Brown community, lgbt community, anyonethat's ever felt marginalized, were there with our Caucasian white colleagues, and allof our colleagues were together and we did break out sessions where we had conversationsaround race, you know, and we were vulnerable to each other and wecould ask questions like hey, you know, I may be white and I don'tunderstand this. Tell me how you feel or shot those types of things. Yeah, and I think that helped us heal a lot, to behonest with you, you know, to sit down with your I mean we'rea family right in the sit out with your family members and your brothers andsisters from different walks of life and have those conversations. We needed that inthat moment and so I really appreciate how we handled it, because it wastumultuous and you saw all the uprising and up royal was going on and allthe pain and anguish that was there and then and protesting that. I youknow, I don't agree with violence, but I definitely agree with peaceful protests, you know, and and you saw it at and we needed and Iactually took my kids and we were a part of some peaceful protests as well, just so they can experience that and that of which, you know,my grandmother, who still living, and our ancestors. Their the sendants Ihave fought so hard for to get us to this point. Yeah, Ilove that. Tokee count let's just go a little bit deeper with that andin a sense that you know, what were those conversations like? In otherwords, when you were bringing the team together and you had all walks ofit in there. I said you before the call, I'm a privileged whiteman, so I don't pretend to understand. So I seek to understand. SoI make no assumptions, but I'm always curious. I know at timesI feel hesitant to ask questions because I don't want to offend. Correct butthe only way to learn or to grow is to his to ask the questionsand as long as you know the person's heart, then you can take whereit's coming from. But how did you guys foster those conversations? Because theycan be awkward, they can be difficult, they can be hard to say.You know, Rishad, as a black man boy, you angry aboutthis, right? Or you know what really annoys you about this or,excuse the expression, what pisses you off about this whole ration? Yeah,no, so definitely content experts being there right, and we lean heavily onour diversity and equity and inclusion team, add and I team. We leanheavily on them. And it started with the top two, with our chiefdiversity equally officer Erica Joy Daniels, interviewing our president and CEO, Jim Stoggsburg, and I never forget their exchange because I helped set the tone, know, and he was vulnerable and you know, Jim mentioned. Hey, I can'tsimilar you, taid. I'm a white guy and he grew up alot more humble, though, and Iwa so little different than being privileged.But he does understand that he doesn't walk in the persons of color shoes andhe was like, I was always raised...

...not to see color, and shepolitely told him, Hey, as an African American, a black woman,I want you to see color. I want you to embrace who I am, because I'm proud. We're proud of that, which is true. Soit's being able to be vulnerable and to have those conversation and it was alearning moment right for him how it may be well intentioned but then how it'sproceeds on the other side, and I just think those types of forms andwe continue to have them. But there are I mean there were personal storiesthat I share in terms of being in Liberty City and Carol City, Miamiand as a teenager, being pulled over by the cops and and profile andwe were just normal teenage kids coming home from football game and a buddy ofmine reach the unbuckled his seat belt and the guns were caught and loaded andpointed. HMM. You know vividly. You know stories. We share thosestories. Several of my colleagues that have lived in the flooring areas share storiesof them being profiled while jogging or walking in their neighborhood and in these thingsare real and these things happen, and so it was authentic and it needed. You know, it's on both sides of it is therapy on both sidesas it's definitely needed. Yeah, no, I we can't hide from it.We got to continue to discuss it and, as we on the showwe talked about, is the mental health aspect of all of it is soimportant. You know, as you said, being mindful to keep an eye onthose people who were sacrificing so much physically to be there and working longshifts and all of that, but also mentally, how you doing? Andyou know, you got to keep that part or as healthy as the physicalpart of it, otherwise you can't do anything. Then you could, thenyou're of no value. Exactly right, exactly right. You have to takecare of yourself before you can take care of others. And I mean wedid things like respite rooms and and we still have them now set up andour live well out. Another shameless plug allows you to go on there anddo meditation and you can do its running water and I use it. Iliterally use it every day, whether it's a minute, three minutes, fiveminutes, ten minutes, whatever. I go on there and do that andwe have those things set up and we encourage the other part is encouraging ourteam members, our physicians, to take time, take time off and whenyou're off like like take off. We're going to have a body system.Plug. That's right, unplug will have your back and that's hard to do. That's again it's hard and it's hard for me, but we had tomaster that because that again, it's an iron man. It's more than themarathon. Yeah, so let's while we're just talking about this, can youshare a little bit what came out of some of those conversations? Obviously Idon't want you to share anything that somebody you might have said or you knowspecifically, but what was the feeling from the community? Obviously, in termsof and I don't mean so much, we talked a little bit about theGeorge Floyd situation in the frustration from the black community of feeling like when isthis going to be over? When can this stop? Why does this keephappening? But how did it manifest itself into the hospital inform with the pandemicand with covid coming in? You know, I've heard things in the news andagain, you know, I don't I'm not taking any of it forher for a fact, but there does seem to be frustration amongst the community. A disproportionate of African Americans are dying from covid yet we're not recognizing that. And what are some of the feelings that you're you were hearing then andhow does that? Has that changed it all now? Yeah, for us. You know, let's keep it in mind that Covid we've been this isa conversation we've been talking about for quite some time in terms of like healthdisparities and inequities and just lack of access, etc. And structural systemic racism andthings that have been is history. These are factual things, right andand it's something that we've had conversations around...

...and in particular, when you lookat the south side of Chicago, we have the largest life expectancy gap inthe country. And why you did a study a few years ago whereas youtake the south side of Chicago Area Code. You know your life expectancy. Let'sdo it. If you go ten miles north, your life expectancy isninety years old. If you're in the south side of Chicago and Tho ZipColdes, it's fifty nine. Who Think about that? Yeah, it's that'snot a it's not a that's not a few years, not a few tenmiles right. So when you take on the pandemic and Covid, this unconscionabledisease that we have it across the world, and you place that on places likethe south side of Chicago where historically has been a lack of access,lack of investments and education or infrastructure, food deserts, I mean you nameit. Lack of jobs, right, and good paid employment, because,as you know, employment leads the better housing opportunities, leaves the food least, the better health care least, the better education, and all those thingsare intertwined. They're they're not mutually exclusive. So covid shed light on what we'veknown all a while. It not only shed light, it was aspotlight like this creates the disproportionate death rates that we're seeing in persons of colorsand minorities, you know, black and Brown people, blacks, Hispanics,you know. You know. This creates that over. Yeah, and Iunderstand you, it kind of it gave a living example. So we've beentalking about it, we've been saying we're marginalized, we're saying these communities havefood deserts and they have less resources. They can't get to all the resourcesthat other people do. And, whether you believe it or not, youhear about it. But covid, to your points, shot a light onit and said, okay, here's an example. We're living in exactly whatwe were talking spotlight, the brightest spotlight, because, think about it, theentire world it's impacted by this. So you can't and it's a matterof fact, not only is the world impact that the entire world is nowshut down and quarantine, right, and all your focus is on how dowe get out of this? Right, and all you see is the disproportionatenumbers. I mean, and I share this with you a little earlier,you know, in my hospital, at one point the darkest moment that I'veever experienced in my career and in fact in my life for that matter,was sitting in this in this boardroom behind me with my executive team and realizingthat, as the report was coming out from one of my my VP's formission and spiritual care, that our more was that capacity and the funeral homescould not accept anymore and we needed to order a refrigerated eighteen will the trucksto hold the bodies. Yeah, that we have to put right outside ofthe hospital as our team members are exiting in there, and I mean,and these were people who look like me, HMM, weren't. So the dataand the mortality, the numbers that are seen, those aren't numbers tous now. They weren't the numbers. You were living, you were carryingthe bodies into is sucharation correct in terms of it was? It's not adata point for us now. This, this was our reality, right.This is what we're loving and I think that's why we're so passionate around,and I know you'll probably we're going to get there. But the vaccine andwhat it means for communities of color and what it means for all of usrallying to take it because we need it. Yeah, yeah, we need it. Sure. So let's fast forward a little bit and we can spenda little bit of time and let's talk about second wave. was there anythingyou know that second surge? was there anything post Thanksgiving that lessons learned?What was better? How did you see? What things did you see out ofthat? And then let's will transition right into the vaccine, because didthat's becoming now another marginalized conversation. That's...

...becoming another political conversation and I've gotsome questions that I'd love to throw at you when we get there. Butlet's talk about second wave. They a second wave was so let me saythis. When you when you go through that storm, we were a lotmore prepared second wave. We had lessons learned. I had lessons learned,things that I could have done better, but we talked about me being anoperator by trade and the cool and this was the first president role. Andyou ask specifically on external communication. Well, I locked in and I was worriedabout making sure the shot was running and I didn't communicate as much asI should have externally and I shared that with everybody because I think as aleader you gotta know you're not perfect. You got to be will them totell people you make mistakes, and football helped create that, because in footballeverything is on the camera. So you can't even want you can't laugh.You once to the eye in the sky doesn't a lie, and then they'llshow it to you. Is Six more times at a right in front,that's right in front of your teenage friends who can't wait the crack jokes onyour right. Now you're on the Jumbotron, then you're roll. When you're onright, you're on the bed part of the ESPN highlights. It's allright, there you go. So I'm a custom to that. So Iknew learning. Okay, I need to spend more time communicating with my boardof directors, more time with the legislators, more time with the pastors of thechurches, more time with the teachers of the school. Like everyone that'sexternally has to get a lot more communication for me, because they're looking atme as the face. Yeah, that's that's so. That's one. Theother thing is we made some moves at advocate, whereas we were outsourcing PPEto China, and when China shut down, that adversely impacted us. Luckily,size doesn't matter and and you know we're twenty eight hospital system in Tusay, so we could lean on Wisconsin for certain things and lean on other areasof Illinois that may not have been as impacted as we were on that Chicago. So that helped. But what we did was we invested in Ppe Company, home grown here in the US, out of Texas, and then nowwe had stopper Ppe, right, because we didn't have to worry about soall those things help, right, and and plus, you know, youcouple that with the fact that things weren't changing through the CDC and of theA. Everyone was on the same track. But I think the big part aboutways too, that was our concern and what we were prepared for,is this flu, the flu season, as you know. So flu seasoncomes around every year and that's a busy time for for any any hospital acrossthe country. And when you think about pneumonia and cl or you think outsome of those other things, it's a big deal. So we were ourepidemiologists were categorizing this as a twin dimmi right. So you got you know, and some people will call it a tried dimmic, if you add thesocial injustice plus pandemic, plus the flu season coming. So it was ahuge push for us to ensure that everyone received their flu vaccines, which weis mandatory here. But we took it a step further and we went outand provided flu vaccines for the community as well, because, as our missionis to help people live well and we knew that we needed to get outin front of this as as much as possible, as quick as possible.So all of our physicians, all of we did a lot more outreach fromflu vaccine than just our employees, all of our patients, all everyone outof even out in the community. So looks take a minute and talk aboutthat because it brings up a point in question. I'm curious to see whatyou saw. So I remember rolling into the fall and everybody saying, youknow, now we're really going to get hit because we're going to have fluon top of covid her and I heard stories saying flu won't be so badbecause we're wearing masks and we never used to wear masks before, so nowwe're not going to spread it as much. And then, most recently, somebodyhad shared that some of the data coming out of CDC around mortalities doesn'tseem to be making sense, in other words, like they're almost no reportsof flu deaths coming out of some of...

...the data and and I don't wantto say CDC because I could be wrong, but what did you guys see?Did you see a diminished amount of flu? Did you see higher rates? Is Flu and COVID getting those lines getting blurred and overlapping? So that'sa great question and, to be honest with you, I'm not the expertin that, but I work with the experts. You know, around aroundthis were from our from our end, we were prepared to see a muchgreater spike. Now we're not. Well, we're just coming through flu season now, forgot is the year is flying. It's already bring you know, yeah, it's yeah, yeah, we are so mark. We didn't seeas a robust flu season as we were prepared for. And on the sametoken, if we're really looking at it from us, from our perspective,and it could because we got hit really hard through the gate on the southside of Chicago, we were probably one of the first in the country tobe slam like we were slam we didn't see the CODD number spike as highas they did during the first way. So those were all right and I, and I continue to hold my breath on this, because you never countyour eggs before they hatch, you know, right, a count of chicken threeforethe heads. But those are all positive signs for us. I'm goingthrough it. So we you know, I don't know now. I can'ttell you. Yes, this is called because of this and this. I'mnot going to sit here and pretend that I, like I know the answerto that. But it'll be interesting to see. It'll be interesting to seehow the data comes out and how it flushes out because, right again,conspiracy theorists sit there and say, well, the government's counting everything is covid.Now every death is covid death, even if it's not, or ifit's covid related death, and they're counting flu is covid. So it willbe interesting to see how those numbers, yeah, shake out. So let'stalk about with the time we have left here, let's talk a little bitabout the vaccination. What are you seeing in southside? What's going and youknow, the thing that I'm hearing, as again as everything gets politicized,is concern that the marginalized communities are going to get the Johnson and Johnson vaccineand that's not as good as the vaccine. So they're not going to give us, you know, they're going to give the not so good vaccine andyou know, you just I just roll my eyes when I hear that stuffbecause it's frustrating that all the data and the facts aren't always out. Butwithout me putting any more words in your mouth, why don't you share withus in the listeners kind of what do you what are you guys experiencing?Good and bad? Yeah, so the good part is, let me say, we have the vaccine here and it's rolling. We have Maderno, wehave fires are and then we will be getting Johnson and Johnson and soon,and so being in a marginalized area where, you know, we had we haveit, we have it. The bad part, so I've taken theshot as well, right, and I didn't plan on taking it right away. My Primary Care Doc and I release another podcast or around our my experience, and that that's a whole nother segment, but he really convinced me to takethe vaccine. So you know. So let's let's talk about that,right. So, if you have hesitants, that's there at the president 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'thave a lot of information, etc. So what we're seeing on the southside is we're making a huge push to one embrace sort of the systemic challengesand racism that has been in medicine, from the Tuskegee experiment to a numberof other things. I mean we can go down the line. You know, I shared a story with everyone and I and my son's baseball team.One of the parents great, great friend of my White Guy, we arevery close friend, and we were having a conversation. He's like, well, we're shot. You're a president of the hospital and to hospitals and whydon't you, you guys, just make...

...make it mandatory for everybody to getthe Flu Vaccine? And I told him, well, it's 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 begood for right. And he was like, well, why? I was like, well, for one, there's a Tuskegee experiment in the first thinghe said was we're shot. That was so long ago. Yeah, butthen, you know, I have to explain to him my grandmother is stillliving right and it's not long ago to her, because the things that she'sexperienced in our country and from being the help and from picking and cotton thenfrom being sick, these are real things that when we are at, youknow, Thanksgiving and Christmas and and she's telling a story. I mean theseare real, real life experiences. And he he was a Paul and heapologized and I was like, it's fine, you don't have to apologize. That'swhat diversity is all about. That's why we have to have diversity inthe boardroom and people from different walks of life, because we won't make thatmistake right, so to that in where I was going with that is iswe are about addressing, you know, what's been out there, what's happenedin the past. Okay, this is happened. This is how we addressit. But as leaders of color, this is our store. This iswhy I'm taking the shot, this is why you should take the shot andthis is why our physicians are taking the shot. And so I stepped upbecause there was a hesitants really to get on board and to the point thatyou made earlier, which was being disproportionately impacted by COVID and having chronic illnessesrun rampant throughout our community with colpd and CHF and diabetes and hypertension. Yeah, we can ill affort not to take the shot right. So that's that'sreally what we've been focused on with our organization and then, and not onlyour organization but our partners throughout the south side, other other healthcare assets thatwe have has all been focused on getting that going. So if people inyour community want to get the vaccine, they can get it right at yourfacility and they're scheduling and how are you handling that capacity right? That's awhole new other logistical issue, right, because you not set up to havethousands of people come through the doors for even even if it's for half anhour or an hour. It stakes on a whole other logistical thing, plusrefrigeration. Again correct. So size and scale does help, being a partof a system, and so we have assets that we can do a huband spoke. I have some really bang up CNOS, chief nurse and officersand sharing IAT and and Gwen Olgus be Oldham at Trinity and these these youngladies are they run they run the shop like they they source the team membersand they're doing the logistics and doing all the meeting and it and so thatthat helps. And then the other component of it is keep in mind thevaccine distribution, and it varies from state to state, but are we havevaccine for trinity that comes from the city of Chicago and then we have vaccinefor a South sub that comes from Cook County. And okay, in termsof the allotment that you receive, is based off of not only the demandbut ensuring that we don't lose it any dose behind, right, and andwe have a program for you senior sixty five and although that are within thattier can't come in. Then who we call into ensure that we don't wastethis dose right, because your point, there's a time, a time framethat's there. So lots of logistics, lots of communication, oftentimes several timesa day, and just team work. That's and that's that's how you makeit happen. And just know two days are like and you have to beflexible and know that in life, you know, three things are guarantee youknow, death, Texas and change. Gosh, so, so much totalk about and I know we're kind of running a little lot tight on timeand I appreciate all the time you're giving, especially in the middle of everything that'sgoing on. So thank you.

We will continue to talk you andI will circle back. I'd love to talk to you again, maybe inthe fall and see how things are going and check in and and keep thisconversation going. But before we head out, I always have my standard, youknow, departing question, which is so growing up, current, pastoror present. Who is your hero? Who's the hero for Rashad Johnson?That's the undoubtedly. That's my mother. That's my mother, undoubtedly. Andas a man now and a father for a husband, you know, Idon't know how she how she did it in single parent household and a mother'steacher and and that's less than fifteen of what my wife and I are fortunateto bring in, and so for her to raise two boys and that typeof an environment and then to go and get her master's degree, I literallywatch my mother in the S and Miami get her master's degree. I wasback then you can leave kids in the car. So brother and I wasin the car and see at the very university in Miami to get a master'sand I watch her improve our life, our lifestyle. Yeah, and thatshowed me the power of education. And she's always say education is the key. But seeing is believing and what I can see is close to closer toachieve and so for her to do that, it is driven me and she's justtaught me so many life lessons. I mean it. Even going throughthis pandemic, I can remember, you know, ordering ventilators and they weresaying, well, we don't necessarily need all of these ventilators, and andI and I shove them to story, my mother told me it's it's betterto have and not need then to need and not have. Yeah, andso many different stories I could share, but she is undoubtedly my hero.I think God that she's still around and I spoil every chance, every chanceI get, and I'm grateful to have a wife who appreciates that that relationshipas well. And they get alone great. So and what's her name? Benny, Betty D Johnson, is my mom and my wife is done yourJohnson. Those are my on my queen. So they meet, they keave meit's right. It's good to have some strong women around you. Right. It gave me folk got some good guard rails. That's right. HappyWomen's history, Mont to. You know. That's that's all. That's awesome,that's great. Well, it was my privilege to have you on.Thank you for allowing me to be direct and ask questions and and seek tounderstand, and I think we need to continue to do that as a society. I heard an article recently and they said we've lost the art of civildiscourse. Right, so I can't talk, we can have different opinions and havea conversation about it anymore. It's we can have a conversation and immediatelygets heated or it gets personal. So let's cope that this conversation leads tosome more civil discourse where we feel comfortable asking those questions of each other andbeing okay with that, that maybe, whether we agree or don't disagree withthat answer, we can respect each other for having an answer. A greatagree. I can't, can't thank you enough to have for this opportunity,powerful conversation, powerful podcast and for the work that you're doing to further themission of uplifting our heroes on the front line. God bless you. Iappreciate you and called me at any time. Our fraid I enjoy it. Thankyou. Sorry, my privilege. I appreciate a going bye bye.You've been listening to heroes of healthcare. For more subscribe to the show inyour favorite podcast player or visit us at heroes of healthcare podcastcom.

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