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February, 2023

We live in unprecedented times, demanding and daily challenging us to bring our very best to the table as we preserve and protect the health of our most vulnerable populations, whether they be suffering from mental or physical disorders.   To ensure that we consistently achieve and sustain excellence under the stress and strain of this very imperfect environment requires daily determination and marathon-level stamina, fueled by the support of our coworkers, families, friends, and our professional associations, such as CHEF.  As CHEF enters 2023, we must shift from the defensive, reactive stance we took in order to deal with COVID to a forward looking, offensive, and proactive stance needed to rebuild and re-energize our healthcare delivery systems.  This requires leadership uniquely adapted to the circumstance we find ourselves in. We must fully capitalize on the innovations and solutions developed under the immense pressure of a worldwide pandemic and apply them to the future. Therefore, we must discover and implement new and updated ways of harnessing and directing a reshaped labor force and leveraging the technology now so readily available to us.   The overarching theme of my term as the 2023 President of CHEF will be enhancing the leadership skills of our members as they pivot to a post COVID world in the age of the virtual teams and a myriad of zoom conferences.  Leadership has historically been largely a face-to-face and in person skill, but now, leaders must engage the many virtual media channels ranging from email to Twitter to excite, motivate, direct, and connect with staff and patients they may have never met in person.

We bring to our work a broad spectrum of finely honed and diverse skills developed over years of formal and on-the-job learning.  Nonetheless, to be fully effective, these skills must be coordinated in their use and application within the multiple sub-disciplines of medicine and management.  To rise to their highest potential, our skills must be guided by wise, thoughtful, and inspirational leadership sensitive to the operational and ethical demands, delivering healthcare in an equitable and efficient manner.  Most importantly, we must know that we can and should learn leadership, practice leadership and Choose Leadership. It is my goal that, for all the members of CHEF, 2023 will be the year of Choosing Leadership to make wise and better decisions for ourselves and those who depend on us.

Jack Ahern, FHFMA
2023 President, Chicago Health Executives Forum
(312) 792 – 5536

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