Premier Pulse     January 2022

Belcastro_336x336By Marc Belcastro, DO, system chief medical officer, Premier Health

Instead of making a New Year’s resolution, one thing I do each year is choose a word to serve as a goal or guidepost for me. This word is often based on any personal and/or work challenges I may be facing. My word for 2021 was endurance. My new 2022 word is courage. I chose courage when I recognized that some element of fear lingered in me as I reflected on 2021.

As many of you know, I battled cancer in 2020-2021. I also fought through a COVID diagnosis right before the vaccines became available and recently came through another course of COVID. While these illnesses have been difficult and even frightening at times, my faith was extremely important in this fight. I was also able to battle through my fears with the support of family, friends, and my colleagues. Adding to this personal stress, health care is the new battleground for all of us as we have lived through almost two years of a pandemic.

While I indeed faced many personal battles, I have never lost sight of the burden this pandemic has been on our entire team. I am acutely aware each day of the physicians and APPs who have provided continuous care for not only our patients with COVID, but those with many other serious illnesses as well. You are carrying heavy loads day after day, week after week, and month after month. I see nurses, therapists and other workers coming in through the front door to start a shift while others leave exhausted, discarding their mask only to return and do this again the next day. I think about the lab team, the EVS team, the nutrition team, and so many others. As I see this unfold day after day, I am constantly reminded of your incredible courage and endless sacrifices. I also know that what keeps you going during the most difficult times is that you have a co-worker or colleague next to you in the same fight. Together you have been able to face whatever has come your way. 

I share all of this to encourage you to not give up on the hope of what a new year can bring and to not be shy about sharing your personal thoughts with a trusted friend. We may not be able to fix things for one another, but a willingness to share and some transparency can help us find a bit of inner strength and courage we did not know existed.

Let’s stand together and support one another. My door is always open. I will end with a movie quote from Gladiator. “Whatever comes out of these gates, we have a better chance of survival if we work together. If we stay together, we survive.” I will continue to work with you and support you as we stand together. 

Back to the January 2022 issue of Premier Pulse

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