Mark Masselli Gives Keynote Talk at Connecticut Public Health Association
Building a world-class primary health care system for special populations focused in and improving patient outcomes and cultivating healthy communities.
Jonathan, thank you so much, and let me add my voice to the chorus of congratulations to the Connecticut Public Health Association.
If we’re going to solve the most pressing public health issues that our state faces today, and I know that we can all agree that by diverse expertise we mean a commitment to ensure that we have diversity within those experts today, I want to talk to you about our journey at the Community Health Center.
In our development as a national leader in primary care transformation, there are many pathways to transforming primary care. But perhaps because we were born out of a grassroots movement, inspiration has always been an important foundation of our many innovations.
For many of you in the room today, you might think about inspiration as something that comes from a political or social movement leader or religious figures, and those that come to mind are John F Kennedy and Martin Luther King and Mother Teresa. Some of you might look to motivational self-help books. Yet I know my 15 year old gets his inspiration from Chance the Rapper.
All of these are great yet we don’t want to narrow down when and where and from whom you might find inspiration from, and it reminds me of my travels in the early 1980s. His Holiness the Dalai Lama was visiting France and I was somehow found myself along his side for a five-day visit. We started down in Nice and we made our way all the way up to Normandy.
I remember his talk to students in Paris on enlightenment at the Sorbonne. During a question and answer session, a student wondered why it seems like all Bodhisattvas–that’s a term for anyone who has great compassion, somewhat like a saint–and the questioner said it seems like all those Bodhisattvas are Tibetans, what’s that all about?
His Holiness gave this great belly laugh and he told students that you can find a Bodhisattva anywhere where you can see the full moon, and I thought that was a great lesson as we think about where we might find inspiration.
It isn’t always in the traditional places, and it might well be from a family member, friend or foe, so keep your mind open on being inspired. In my remarks today I hope to show you that we’ve been open to, what we have met under the full moon, and that has made all the difference.
This year, the Community Health Center celebrates its 45th year of operation. It was in 1972 that a group of Wesleyan University students and Middletown activists came together under the banner that healthcare is a right and not a privilege.
We were fortunate to have two community leaders among those local activists. Reba Moses, the daughter of a sharecropper who moved from Florence, South Carolina to Middletown in the early 1940s, and was a foot soldier in the war on poverty.