My Mission to Ensure My Patients Get What They Need
You don’t find these roles. These roles find you.
As an African American woman that has had a fulfilling career, my life has been a series of opportunities to show up, do my best, connect with great people, laugh a lot, cry on more than one occasion, take advantage of every moment to learn, make things better for others and above all else: trust that no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should!
I practiced obstetrics and gynecology for 25 years and truly loved it! Much of what I learned while caring for women formed the basis of my leadership philosophy (there’s a book in there someplace, the chapter titles exist, but that’s for another day). I stopped practicing 14 years ago when I received an invitation to step into a full-time administrative role. Along the way, I have led or worked with others on issues facing marginalized communities, especially my own.
Taking the road less traveled creates the opportunity to do more and be more.
My life and leadership journey has brought me to a shoreline I never could have imagined, yet one that makes perfect sense in retrospect. I believe my entire career has been a dress rehearsal for the opportunity to serve as CEO and president of Craig Hospital, a national neurorehabilitation and research hospital that specializes in the care of people who have sustained a traumatic or acquired spinal cord or brain injury. Those we serve at some point in their lives woke up with one reality and went to bed with a very different one.
Now, they can find themselves marginalized in an instant. Society sees and treats them differently. Some cease to see them as capable and able. Intersectionality can create another dimension of challenges when the person is LGBTQ+, socioeconomically disadvantaged or has other characteristics in which they experience life as an “other.” I am motivated to work even more intentionally on behalf of those we serve.
I am a warrior for those who have been historically marginalized.
Questions that I ask continually include…
- What would staff or patients think if they overheard this conversation?
- Who might bring clarity and direction to our decisions if we invite them into the discussion?
- What opportunities exist to make life better for others?
- What am I doing to assure that a culture of inclusion and belonging is experienced by all who enter here?
Thus, I have added an “A” to our DEI work: we must consider Accessibility in all of its forms. The built environment. Reasonable accommodations. Residential and commercial housing. Our work spaces. Economic opportunity. Education and learning. Policy decisions.
What an incredible and challenging leadership journey this has been! I am confident that I will continue to get up every morning and do my best. I will don my “warrior costume” and get after it, in no small part because the greatest leadership lesson I have learned over a lifetime is, “I have to do it myself and I can’t do it alone.”
Jandel Allen-Davis is the chief executive officer and president of Craig Hospital.