Published by: Gilbert Salinas on 12/3/2012 8:49:44 AM
It’s hard to imagine that a whole year has gone by since the last Institute for Healthcare Improvement’s 23rd Annual Forum. It was my first Forum experience and definitely the best gathering of health care innovators to date.
Upon arriving to the Forum last year, it was pretty daunting to know that I would be among more than 6,000 attendees. Based on my “wheelchair user” perspective, my biggest concern was making sure I didn’t run over anyone’s foot. In a matter of seconds, it became apparent to me that the “Blue Shirts” team was there to help out. They are the most welcoming and accommodating team and will help to navigate you throughout your time at the Forum.
As I delivered a keynote address with Senior IHI Fellow Tom Nolan last year, it was very evident that IHI is an organization dedicated to supporting Americas Safety Net Hospitals. Maureen Bisognano opened the conference with a strong message of inspiration and showed us all the power of utilizing patient stories to create positive change in health care. There are so many great learning opportunities at the Forum and the networking is excellent. Since then, I have established many great friendships and opened up opportunities to collaborate with people all over the country. The keynotes were very inspiring throughout the event, with a closing moment that made me both emotional and empowered. Dr. Don Berwick ended the Forum with a speech that helped me get through the days during this past year when I felt the weight of having to do more with less – the tough days that we all have when we question our commitment to this great cause – and it helped me through the days when I felt so tired at the end of my work day that it hurt just to lift my wheelchair and legs into my car for the drive home.
This year I was also honored to be selected as a co-chair for the 24th Annual Forum. It has been a humbling experience to work with an organization that has the sole purpose of improving the health of millions around the world. Through my time spent with IHI, I have learned to think about the powerful impact we have as “change-makers” in the field of health care. With more than two decades of dedicated practice on quality improvement efforts, their guidance and leadership has inspired me more than ever to move from good to great!
This year, Rancho Los Amigos National Rehabilitation Center has been ranked as the number one rehabilitation facility in California by U.S. News & World Report. This is a great sign that we are moving in the right direction. In Los Angeles County, we have innovative leaders, such as Dr. Mitch Katz, driving change at all levels. This past year was a year full of uncertainties related to health care reform. Thanks to the guidance from IHI, the National Association of Public Hospitals and Health Systems, and the California Association of Public Hospitals/Safety Net Institute, we have been kept up to date with changes that will affect us all.
This is our time; Together, let us all “seize the moment.” I am looking forward to seeing all of you at this year’s 24th Annual IHI National Forum!
Gilbert Salinas, BS, MPA(c)
Director of Patient Centered Care/Patient Advocate
Rancho Los Amigos National Rehabilitation Center