Message from SCICU President and CEO Jeff Perez –
People are in pain. Our nation is hurting.
Where do we turn for relief?
COVID-19 has taken a physical, psychological and economic toll on all of us. Some have endured illness, or, worse, the loss of loved ones. Others have faced the trauma of losing a livelihood. Everyone has been subjected to a physical separation hobbling the personal interactions that bind us together.
A nation already weakened has been wrenched by the murder of George Floyd and the actions that followed. Racism has been laid bare. Emotions are raw. Violence has punctuated peaceful protests.
As we survey all that ails us, we should also observe there are places equipped to provide aid and treatment.
Along with hospitals, our college and university campuses are where people go to get better.
For those suffering from COVID-19, hospitals have provided diagnoses and life-saving treatments. Well-trained hospital staff provide expert care and much-needed comfort and reassurance to patients and their families.
When students return to our campuses this fall, they will not be the same young people we last saw just a few months ago. Many will be hurt, confused, angry, or fearful. They will bring back with them experiences from this long, hot summer they will need help sorting out.
They will feel relief being back at a place they feel secure, and amongst friends. At our faith-based institutions, they will come together in prayer. All campuses will provide a supportive community where students can start to make greater sense of what they now confront, and how they can make their communities, states, and our nation, safe and just for all.
The discussions on campus will often be difficult. As hospital staff must have upsetting discussions with patients and families about illness and treatment options, on our campuses students will address uncomfortable issues and face perspectives with which they may disagree. Our faculty and staff are professionals who are well-prepared to guide students toward personal realization and recognize when they are struggling.
Hospitals and college campuses are also both institutions where knowledge is stored, research is conducted and solutions identified. Possible treatments for COVID-19 are investigated at hospitals, with the most promising used to provide relief to patients.
Where does society turn for answers when it is ailing? From our campuses come the meaning for what is going on in the world. There’s no one perspective that is absolutely right, but our faculty provide the intellectual tools for grasping the significance of events and identifying the means for addressing them.
We don’t agree any more than medical staff always agree on proper treatment. But we can come together and have those vitally important discussions.
To be successful in their missions, hospitals and campuses must both commit themselves to improvement. Like society itself, these institutions can get better. The presidents of SCICU member institutions are committed to identifying areas for improvement and possess the resolve to effect them.
These are times that challenge us. Our colleges and universities will be remembered for inspiring us and our students to become leaders for positive change.
Our campuses are places where we will get better.