It is a privilege to be appointed as the new executive director of Healthcare Ready, an organization whose work I’ve had the pleasure of working alongside for years. I am inspired by the commitment and talent of the Healthcare Ready team past and present. Today, we face enormous challenges in health inequities and a lack of community resilience in areas that need it the most.
It’s why I’ve dedicated my career to building innovative domestic and international strategies to localize emergency response operations and build sustainable response programs at the community level. Most recently, I served as the director of emergency response and preparedness for Project HOPE, a renowned global health organization that incorporates capacity building in every aspect of emergency response programming. Prior to that role, I helped build out emergency response programs at non-profit organizations and US government agencies. I am incredibly excited and humbled to join the Healthcare Ready team.
I’ve always been impressed with Healthcare Ready’s comprehensive approach to emergencies- from resilience to response and recovery During the past two years in the reality of the COVID-19 pandemic, the team at Healthcare Ready has excelled at facing the largest healthcare challenges in modern history- bringing together partners in the healthcare supply chain to help fulfill their mission, regardless of the obstacles and challenges they confronted.
Case in point: I recall how, in the early months of COVID-19, Business Roundtable, Healthcare Ready, and (at the time) my own organization, Project HOPE, worked together to establish a unique public-private partnership to deliver enormous quantities of protective gear to America’s healthcare workforce to stop the spread of the COVID-19. This initiative included the leadership of chief executive officers at some of the nation’s most prominent healthcare companies. This unique alliance enabled the distribution of vast amounts of personal protective equipment —three million gloves, 1.5 million surgical masks, and 880,000 surgical gowns to more than ten states.
Healthcare Ready is uniquely positioned to be the connective tissue that cohesively and efficiently facilitates communication between the federal government and local partners or for-profit companies and healthcare organizations on the ground during a crisis. In fact, that’s one of the biggest reasons behind my decision to join the organization.
In my new role, I’m looking forward to leveraging the experience I developed over my career as a public health and emergency management professional. Championing health equity is in the DNA of Healthcare Ready. Over the past 15 years, I’ve seen first-hand the structural and systemic inequities that exist in underserved and marginalized communities to include those defined by race, ethnicity, income, gender, sexual identity, age, disability, health/medical status, geography, and any other distinction that negatively affects access to health services. Every person deserves easy access to quality healthcare, period.
I’m excited to work for an organization that takes an equity-centered approach to all that they do. We are committed to leaning into the realities of health inequities, especially after disaster. Healthcare Ready is committed to working with communities to create a future where, following a disaster or crisis, no one is left behind—where individuals across all communities receive the right level of services and support. Where the impact of disaster is minimized by quality preparedness efforts and building back better is the norm. Thus, it’s an honor and privilege to assume the role of Executive Director and help further Healthcare Ready’s mission-driven work to combat health equity injustices both today and tomorrow.
-Tom Cotter, Healthcare Ready Executive Director