SPRINGFIELD — Since the phrase COVID-19 came into our lexicon, those working in the broad healthcare field have emerged as the true heroes during a pandemic that has changed every facet of life as we know it.
And over the past several months, the world has paid tribute to these heroes, and in all kinds of ways — from applauding in unison from apartment-complex windows to bringing hot meals to hospital and nursing-home workers; from donating much-needed personal protective equipment (PPE) to people putting hearts on their front lawns and mailboxes to thank first responders, healthcare workers, postal workers, and others.
The Healthcare News and its sister publication, BusinessWest, will pay tribute in their own way, by dedicating their annual Healthcare Heroes program in 2020 to those who are have emerged as true heroes during this crisis.
Healthcare Heroes was launched by the two publications in 2017 to recognize those working in this all-important sector of the region’s economy, many of whom are overlooked when it comes to traditional recognition programs. Over the years, the program has recognized providers, administrators, emerging leaders, innovators, and collaborators.
For 2020, the program will shift its focus somewhat to the COVID-19 pandemic and all those who are working in the healthcare field or helping to assist it at this trying time. All manner of heroes have emerged this year, and we invite you to nominate one — or several — for what has become a very prestigious honor in Western Mass.: the Healthcare Heroes award.
Here are some examples of those who have become real heroes:
• Doctors and nurses;
• Emergency-room personnel, including doctors, nurses, orderlies, techs, triage, receptionists, and others;
• Police and firefighters;
• Nursing-home personnel, everyone from frontline providers to administrators;
• End-of-life care providers;
• Administrators leading the efforts to battle the pandemic;
• Behavioral-health practitioners helping people and families navigate this crisis;
• Individuals and groups from our community who have stepped up to help healthcare workers with everything from hot meals to PPE;
• Companies that have pivoted and commenced production of materials such as PPE to help those in healthcare confront the pandemic;
• Scientists working behind the scenes to develop a vaccine or new types of PPE; and
• Truck drivers delivering supplies to hospitals and other providers.
These are just a few examples, and there are myriad others. In truth, everyone who goes to work in a hospital, nursing home, assisted-living facility, or other healthcare facility, thereby risking their own health, and perhaps their life, is a hero.
In many respects, all these heroes will be honored at the Healthcare Heroes event, now scheduled for this fall at the Springfield Sheraton. And to honor all of them, we want to bring to the podium a number of individuals and groups that represent everyone who has become a hero in these trying times.
To assist those thinking of nominating someone for this honor, we are simplifying the process. All we desire is a 400- to 500-word essay and/or two-minute video entry explaining why the group or individual stands out as an inspiration, and a truly bright star in a galaxy of healthcare heroes. These nominations will be carefully considered by a panel of independent judges, who will select the class of 2020.
The deadline for nominations is July 1. For more information on how to nominate someone for the Healthcare Heroes class of 2020, click here. Videos can be sent via dropbox to firstname.lastname@example.org.