In my 22 years at Endeavor Health, my role has been enriching and full of opportunities for personal and professional growth. There were challenges along the way, where I was underestimated and encountered bias. However, these were exceptions and I’ve remained at Endeavor Health for so long, in part, because I have felt welcomed and supported by our team members and invigorated by the work.

I am proud to work for a health system that continues to evolve to better reflect and serve our communities. My journey at Endeavor Health has been significantly marked by taking the opportunity to lead and contribute to major initiatives like our health equity program and Community Investment Fund.

Collaborating closely with our chief clinical officer, Lakshmi Halasyamani, M.D., we initiated the health equity program to address and reduce disparities in health care access and outcomes. This mission-driven initiative, which includes integrating health equity metrics into our system scorecard alongside our financial performance and quality data, reflects our unwavering commitment to equitable health care delivery.

Similarly, guiding the CIF since its creation in 2021 has opened the door to engage with our community and truly listen to the experts doing important work beyond the walls of our hospitals. As health care providers, we don’t understand how to run a soup kitchen or how to start a Black business hub that creates incredible economic opportunities. By partnering with local organizations and focusing on the specific needs of our community, we have extended our impact beyond traditional health care services.

Central to my leadership philosophy is the belief in “pouring into others” — a principle of investing in and nurturing the potential of our team. This philosophy is reflected in my practice of rounding and engaging directly with staff in their workspaces. Through these interactions, I seek to break down barriers, actively listen and gain a genuine understanding of the experiences of our team. It’s about creating a culture where empathy and inclusivity are not just valued but are a living part of our daily operations.

Looking ahead, my vision is to leave a legacy of compassionate leadership, marked by a commitment to diversity, community engagement and empowering others. Having seen the evolution in our system’s leadership, with six of our nine hospitals led by women, I am proud of the strides we have made towards hiring and promoting leaders who reflect the diversity of our workforce and community.

There is more to be done. I am motivated to continue shaping an environment where diversity in thought and background is not just welcomed but celebrated, driving us towards better health and wellbeing for all in our community.

 

Gabrielle Cummings is the president of Endeavor Health Evanston Hospital & NorthShore Acute and Ambulatory Operations. Please note that the views of authors do not always reflect the views of AHA.

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