February 01, 2024
By NMQF Staff
A Message From Chief Executive Officer
2020 was, to say the least, interesting. It was one of the most difficult and challenging years we have ever faced. Not only as patient advocates, data scientists, clinicians, policymakers, and Americans, but as humans all across the world. In March of 2020, “normal” daily things we once did were put to a halt. We were all immediately faced with the “new normal” of living in and surviving a pandemic.
We had to move from in-person to virtual platforms, sanitize everything before it came into our homes, cancel family vacations and trips to see loved ones, and postpone all our programs to make certain we were as safe and healthy as possible as we contended with a novel coronavirus. This was followed by the very public murder of George Floyd, the killing of Breonna Taylor at home in her bed, and the countless other deaths of Black and Brown people whose stories were brought to light through social media, activism, and a relentless pursuit of justice.
These events ignited communities worldwide and brought some important questions to the forefront. Questions like: why are so many innocent Black people killed by officials? Why are Black and Brown people dying of COVID-19 at disproportionate rates than other ethnicities? Why is there a 20-year difference in life expectancy for people living in the same city? And why aren’t we addressing these public health disparities to build sustainable healthy communities?
Like any organization, to survive, we had to be flexible and determine how to provide information to the communities we serve. Through a partnership with the American Medical Association, we began hosting weekly webinars to inform and educate on COVID-19 and policies that would help end health disparities. We have had physicians and public officials, business and community leaders, and experts in general speak to our audience about how to drive real change for the better.
We added more programming around issues that are greatly impacted by COVID-19, like our brain health alliance, expanded sickle cell disease programming, hosted quality improvement events, and published studies. NMQF was also able to add more talent to our roster, including Dr. LaTasha Lee, a 2017 40 Under 40 awardee who serves as Vice President of Social and Clinical Research & Development and Mary Stober Murray, Vice President of Collaborative Networks. And we were still able to host our 18th Annual Summit on Health Disparities, where we convened virtually for the first time in our Summit history.
As we gain a better understanding of COVID-19, we must not forget the issues of race, class, and privilege that put so many of those we work to serve in danger. Over half of a million Americans have died, many solely due to those very issues. Even if we are able to return to “normal,” we must still remember to invest in, to protect, and to provide education and services to all those in need. NMQF will continue to live our mission to “provide data-driven solutions” to improve health and healthcare. And we hope to continue to live that mission with all of you.