Thanks to all who attended our 2021 Annual Meeting, “Forward Together.”

Thanks to all who attended our 2021 Annual Meeting, “Forward Together.” We were pleased so many of you joined us even though it could not be in person. This year, we were proud to host the following presentations:

  • Keynote speaker Aron Ralston told the harrowing story of cutting off his own arm to save his life during after a canyoneering accident. He related that he did so “with a smile” and described the long hours that led to successfully dislodging himself from the boulder that had pinned him down for 127 hours in the Utah desert. Aron chatted with me and took questions after his speech.

  • Doug Wysocky-Johnson, from Lumunos, shared research and tips on how to reduce provider burn-out and COVID anger. Doug’s advice and information, while targeted at clinicians, were meaningful and useful for all of us.

  • Dr. Maria Mercedes Avila brought a panel of Vermonters who have come from different countries to demonstrate how the health care system often doesn’t sufficiently support people from different cultures. Using clips from a documentary in which they all appear, Dr. Avila and the panelists gave us important improvements we can implement.

  • Bess O’Brien and Sarah Lowry from the Listen Up Project explained how they produced an original musical inspired, created and performed by Vermont teens. Then they treated us to a few clips from a recording of the recent tour of the show and led a Q&A with some of the teens who performed.

  • We premiered our new documentary about Vermont’s response to COVID-19. Thanks to all who participated in making that happen. We’re now planning how to show the piece to more Vermonters and will keep you informed about our strategy.

  • Dr. Mark Levine, Vermont’s Commissioner of Health and our own Dr. Fauci, joined me for an informal conversation. We talked about everything from his career to how he’s managing COVID stress (hint—Star Trek).

We’ll feature more information presented at the meeting in upcoming issues of VAHHS Update as well as links for how you can learn more about these great presenters and their lessons for us all. Again, thanks to all who were able to join us, including our generous sponsors. While we couldn’t see all your faces, your support meant a lot to us.

Annual meeting, whether in person or online, is a major event to plan and coordinate. I want to thank Beth Esmond and her team from Esmond Communications for making sure our meeting had outstanding content and ran smoothly. Beth also directed the documentary debuted at our meeting, a wonderful piece of work we can all be proud of.

Great job, Beth, and thank you for being a partner of VAHHS and Vermont's hospitals!