Thanks for making this one of the top blogs of the year

Thanks for making this one of the top blogs of the year

What a nice surprise to learn that this blog is a finalist in the 2014 Ragan Awards for employee communications. It’s wonderful to receive the recognition but what I think makes the blog so special are the contributions that many of you add to the comments section of each post.

Hearing from you is my favorite part of blogging. For example, I had no idea that sharing my five favorite books would spark such interesting dialogue. (We have a lot of avid readers in our Providence family.) I also loved all the comments we received when we asked if you had any colleagues you wanted to recognize or successes to celebrate.

A look back at some of our most popular posts

By far, our most popular post is the story of 12-year-old Nico Johnson who wrote to us about the care his grandfather received from Providence.


I think Nico’s story struck a chord because he offers the kind of honest and innocent perspective that only comes from kids.

On the other end of the spectrum, the post titled “Reflecting on the meaning of life at the end of life” gave us a chance to meet some of our hospice patients and be reminded of what’s most important in life.


Josefina is one of a dozen or so Providence palliative care patients who agreed to participate in a moving photo project called Right Before I Die. This blog post generated some of the meaningful conversation to date.

My interview with Aaron Martin, our senior VP of innovation of strategy who came to us by way of Amazon, was also one of our most popular posts of the year.

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It’s always so interesting to hear from Aaron and what he and his team are up to on the innovation front that I’ve invited him to be a guest blogger this year. Expect to see him more on this site in the near future.

10 of my favorite posts that you might have missed 

For those of you who have joined the blog more recently, here are some of my favorite posts that you might have missed:

1. Why Sister Julie Casey thinks we’re the luckiest people on earth

Sister Julie

This interview is sure to make you smile. Sister Julie Casey, president of Providence Ministries, can lift the energy of any room simply through her warmth and authentic presence.


2. Introducing our new Institute for Human Caring


Ira Byock, M.D., is a nationally recognized expert in palliative care who is helping us build our Institute of Human Caring. My favorite quote from the interview is when he said, “I don’t know of another health system that has love as one of its core values. That’s remarkable. That’s why I’m here.”


3. What Providence can learn from Starbucks

dave olsen interview crop2

My very first interview for the blog was with Dave Olsen, a retired Starbucks executive who today serves on the Providence board. Why? “After getting to know Providence,” he said, “I called a colleague at Starbucks and said, ‘You know that values-driven organization we’ve been wanting to find? I think I found it.’”

4. A moving salute to our nurses


Doug Ogden shares his incredible story of tragedy and hope as the keynote speaker at last year’s Distinguished Nursing Lectureship. “To any nurse hearing this today,” he said, “never stop fighting to give the best care possible. Never stop believing that what you have to offer can mean the world to someone. And always remember: If you ever feel like this profession is not worth it or that what you do doesn’t matter, as long as I’m alive, I will never let that be true.”


5. What quality guru Don Berwick has to say about Providence


A challenge from Don Berwick, founder of the Institute for Healthcare Improvement: “As I know Providence as a system, you have a very deep commitment to what Hubert Humphrey called the moral test … (how we treat) those in the dawn of life, the children; those in the twilight of life, the aged; and those in the shadows of life, the handicapped, the disabled. … Here at Providence, you seem to keep that in mind. I hear it in your words. I see it in your deeds. Bravo. But unless we get this right for the nation as a whole, I will tell you the first to pay will be the poor.”


6. The ABC’s of ACOs and Mike Butler’s remarks from the Boeing news conference

rod and joe

We use a lot of terms like “population health management” and “accountable care organizations” (ACOs) to describe our strategy of working with employers. I love this interview with Joe Gifford, M.D., because he helps us cut through the jargon and alphabet soup and explains how the experience will be better for our patients.


Mike Butler (left) with Alan May from Boeing (middle) and Mary McWilliams from the Washington Health Alliance. “We really think it’s a moral obligation of ours to be more than just a health care provider but to focus on healthier communities,” said Mike at the news conference about our new Boeing ACO last summer. “And we believe we have to do it together. I think a great example of ‘together’ is the three of us here at the table today.”

7. Back from a life-changing trip to Guatemala


It’s true what they say about our international service trips. They are life changing. They push you out of your comfort zone and make you grateful for every single blessing in your life. They also force you to face the social inequalities in the world and make you realize that we can’t turn our backs on those in need wherever they are on our planet.

8. Disrupting Cancer: Dr. Soon-Shiong on 60 Minutes

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60 Minutes aired a fascinating story on one of our major partners Patrick Soon-Shiong, M.D., who has a vision for developing one of the most advanced genomic sequencing programs in the country. We’re excited about what these advances could mean for our patients.

9. Hood to Coast Relay: 199 miles, 30 hours, no sleep, nothing short of amazing

Finish Line

Providence was once again the title sponsor of this event, with proceeds benefiting our cancer center in Portland. When our Oregon colleagues first invited me to run with them, I wasn’t entirely sure what I was getting myself in to, but I’m so glad I did it. Crossing the finish line as a team was an amazing feeling, but even more so was the journey it took to get there, together.

10. Five ways Providence is preparing for the future

Healthier Communities Talk

This is one of the most exciting times to work in health care because every assumption we’ve ever made is being turned on its head. During a talk last fall, I outlined Providence’s strategies for the future. Sitting on the sidelines is not an option for a Mission-driven organization like ours. We are called to respond to the times and continuously improve the way we serve those in need.

What topics would you like me to cover in the future?

In the comments section below, let me know if any of the blog posts I mention above resonate with you. I would also love to know what topics you’d like me to cover in the future and any other ideas you might have for improving the blog. I also want to thank those of you who subscribe. I very much appreciate your support and loyal readership. If anyone is interested in getting an email from me whenever I post a new update, you can subscribe by simply providing your email address in the box in the upper right hand corner.

Thank you again for supporting my blogging journey and for helping us create a sense of community and “togetherness” through this forum.