A Message from the Director: Welcome 2021
January 5, 2021, Posted by AHW Endowment
Looking back on 2020, a sentiment I heard repeatedly was: “I can’t wait until this year is over.” I heard it from family, friends, and colleagues. To be honest, I uttered those words more than once myself.
There are many reasons I’m happy to say goodbye to 2020. The year was, truly, unprecedented. But as I look back over all that we have overcome, I can’t help but feel an enormous sense of gratitude; 2020 was difficult, but it was also full of progress and accomplishments.
The year gave me the time to pause and watch my son Ethan grow from taking his first steps to full-on running down our hallway backwards. The time to say goodbye to our beloved pooch Maddie, and to welcome two new furry friends, Sam and Ira, into our home. The year gave me the time to pause and watch my son Ethan grow from taking his first steps to full-on running down our hallway backwards. The time to say goodbye to our beloved pooch Maddie, and to welcome two new furry friends, Sam and Ira, into our home.
The year also gave me a chance to reflect on the incredible power of medicine and science. I am grateful that I have been able to wear a mask, and stay safe while continuing to serve my patients in the operating room – and that I have been lucky to receive two doses of the COVID-19 vaccine – a critical tool which we must collectively embrace to keep our communities safe.
Instead of trying to make sense of 2020, I would urge all of us to create a sense of purpose for 2021. We must ask ourselves, “what ought to be prioritized,” and “why.” That “why” will help us move into a new light and a new beginning as we start the new year.
At AHW, we have a renewed vision and purpose to our work. During 2020, we rapidly shifted our grantmaking to respond to the pandemic, while also launching a funding cycle aimed at advancing health equity in Wisconsin.
We also committed to taking on the difficult, but necessary work to identify and make changes to our own operations to advance racial justice in health.
So, as I welcomed 2021 quietly at home, I couldn’t help but feel a sense of excitement for what lies ahead as we work to improve the health of the people of Wisconsin.
In the coming year, we will be furthering our work to support Wisconsin’s response and recovery to COVID-19, while also investing further into those working to improve health and advance health equity statewide.
We will be expanding our current programming, reimagining how we can better support our grantees, build the capacity of those working to improve Wisconsin’s health, and bring the knowledge of trusted experts to people across the state.
We have a blank slate ahead of us for the year – I’m looking forward to working with you, our partners across Wisconsin, to continue to make positive change possible statewide.
Jesse M. Ehrenfeld, MD, MPH
Senior Associate Dean and Director
Advancing a Healthier Wisconsin Endowment
Medical College of Wisconsin