Embracing the Pressures of Change

Every day is a new chance to help create a more inclusive and equitable future.

by Robert S.D. Higgins, MD, MSHA

Liza Swedarsky, MD, meets with patient Gabriela Torres at Southern Jamaica Plain Health Center.

As we approach a third year of dealing with the COVID pandemic, our hearts go out to those around the world who have suffered and lost loved ones. The pandemic has challenged our healthcare workforce, creating stress and burnout. Closer to home, COVID has highlighted stark and longtime racial health and wealth disparities in this country.

These challenges continue to demand our dedication, expertise, empathy, and action. They also create unprecedented opportunities for us to do something extraordinary. Many of our life lessons show there’s nothing we can’t accomplish when we work in solidarity with one another.

Let’s consider every day as an opportunity, a chance to help create a more inclusive and equitable future.

My mother taught my brothers and me to be resilient through life’s challenges, often saying, “Pressure makes diamonds,” after the devastating loss of our father when we were young. My parents lived and worked in a time and place in the segregated South where they didn’t have the same opportunities or rights. But we were able to persevere and grow to contribute in a positive light.

We can all make a difference facing the challenges ahead, having lived through extraordinary circumstances personally and professionally. Our dedication to diversity, equity, and inclusion in everything we do will be a huge force multiplier to improve the health and well-being of all the people and communities we serve. But we must embrace the pressures of change to meet this moment. As racial equity researcher and consultant Dr. Muna Abdi says, “It is not inclusion if you are inviting people into a space you are unwilling to change.”

So let’s make every day an inflection point, a chance to help create a more inclusive and equitable future: for our patients, for each other, and for the generations yet to come. That is The Brigham Way.

Dr. Robert Higgins

Higgins Signature
Robert S.D. Higgins, MD, MSHA
President, Brigham and Women’s Hospital
Executive Vice President, Mass General Brigham