Community Health Management

Swati V. Bhardwaj

By Topic: Diversity Leadership Equity of Care By Collection: Blog
Rekindling Our Passion for Healthcare

It is an understatement to say the world as we’ve known it has changed dramatically over the last couple of years. While healthcare is still one of the most exciting places to be in, hospital staff members have endured a burden like never before. They are not only tired and burned out, but they are also emotionally drained and psychologically frayed. Yet, they keep going and use opportunities to reignite the spark that led them to healthcare in the first place, serving their communities, which include an ever-growing diverse population, an amalgamation of color, race, ethnicity, gender and beliefs. 

For example, my healthcare leadership peers and I were able to get the inspiration to rekindle this spark at the 2022 Congress on Healthcare Leadership. We were able to see the drive to inculcate diversity in the very thread of our being, the push to energize, the power to influence and understand the support needed to make an impact. My first Congress experience was all of that, and I could really feel the energy in the air! With close to 4,000 attendees, the atmosphere was super-charged with meaningful conversations, an exchange of ideas and brisk networking. It was amazing to see so many future healthcare leaders eagerly absorbing all they could learn, taking advantage of career tips, resume review and the professional headshots. Personally, the stories of ACHE’s President/CEO Deborah J. Bowen, FACHE, CAE, and ACHE Chair Anthony A. Armada, FACHE, were awe-inspiring. More highlights included meeting ACHE staff who support our chapters and programs and my committee predecessor, Steven D. Chinn, DPM, FACHE, as well as connecting with some of my peers from the inaugural 2021 Career Accelerator Program. Abundant resources, stimulating conversations and enthusiastic speakers created the perfect storm for channeling positive energy into our environments.

I was inspired by historian Jon Meacham, our opening keynote who talked about “Hope Through History.” It was a conversation on values, the importance of divergent thinking, being able to recognize the value each one of us brings to the table and then focusing on bringing out the best in each person. It is important to recognize the impact of this pandemic on our lives, the shift in our values and the change in the equilibrium of life as we knew it. We need to reinforce and reinvigorate our values, to enhance compassion and understanding, to be tolerant and patient, yet, persistent and resilient. It is time to engage with the world at a new level, one that is more personal with greater intent than ever. It is time to explore a new level of adventure and reach new heights of connectedness.

As leaders in our own organizations and communities, and champions for greater causes, both personal and professional, I encourage you all to pursue your calling, seek with earnest what each one of us is looking for, and be mindful and in the moment to make the best of what life has to offer. As the chair of the Asian Healthcare Leaders Community Committee, I know we already have a head start in affecting the lives of leaders of tomorrow who rely on our expertise, guidance and support to serve the complex needs of our diverse populations. Our patients and communities are depending on us to be accessible, engaging, and to be intentional listeners and excellent communicators. We have been trusted to help carve a mission-focused pathway for leaders of tomorrow. While we must be open, transparent, honest and realistic about the difficulties we face, we must be grateful for the opportunity to make a difference. Now is the time to engage with intent and to try and make an impact, slowly but steadily, and influence the future of healthcare, one patient, one community and one boardroom at a time. There is no time like now to rekindle the passion that led us to healthcare and express our gratitude for this opportunity we’ve been given and make the best of it.


Swati V. Bhardwaj, FACHE, is director of operations, Southern Atlantic Healthcare Alliance, Cary, N.C. She also serves as chair of ACHE’s Asian Healthcare Leaders Community Committee.