Celebrating Healthcare in El Paso
A belated—but no less enthusiastic—happy Fourth of July to all of you. This year’s celebration was more muted than years past: there were no parades, no big fireworks shows, and no public events. But observing this holiday is no less important, even as we must find new ways to do so. Though more quietly celebrated this year, this holiday was an opportunity to reflect on familiar topics—our history, our present, our future—but it was also an opportunity for new discussions, around topics like resilience, which have become more urgent as we continue to face down the COVID-19 crisis.
Though we planned our themes out for the year many months ago, it is fitting that our focus for July should be healthcare. The Chamber has long been a strong advocate of and ally for public and private healthcare. Innovation is a pillar of the Chamber’s mission, and we see the promise of El Paso’s healthcare industry to transform business and improve lives in our region. To champion the healthcare industry, we have several different means of support. Our Healthcare CEO Roundtable is an important group we host, not only to learn about the overlap of healthcare and economic issues, but also because the roundtable provides an important linkage between the healthcare industry and business. Our Leadership class this month focuses on the health field across El Paso and the impact that COVID-19 has had on our community, hopefully encouraging more collaborative partnerships between health and other fields. Even our coaching efforts—which we have expanded considerably during the COVID-19 pandemic to address reopening safely—are a way to tackle the intersection of business and public health.
For the Chamber, advocating for the healthcare field is an obvious choice. Healthcare is a significant part of our local economy, and many of the Chamber’s members come from the healthcare sector of El Paso. I consider our region lucky because of this, especially now when we are confronted with a worst-case scenario. We have excellent healthcare leaders to guide us towards innovation, and we have exemplary healthcare professionals to meet our community’s healthcare needs. We are home to a top four-year medical school and to institutions like UTEP and El Paso Community College, both of which educate nurses and medical support staff. All of this is further strengthened by the spirit of El Paso: graduates of these institutions often stay to serve their community, and they are deeply committed to ensuring El Paso succeeds—like UTEP & TTUHSC teaming up to produce ventilators for hospitals during COVID-19.
Of course, we also are cognizant that healthcare is often politicized. At the Chamber, we are ardent supporters of healthcare in El Paso, and we also recognize that our healthcare leaders can always use advocates to connect their needs to agendas at the local, state, and federal levels. The Chamber has and will continue to advocate on the behalf of its healthcare members, recognizing that the most efficient healthcare system is one that benefits all of El Paso.
Throughout this health crisis, we have been committed to providing high quality advice and insight into the pandemic, and during this month of health at the Chamber, we once again reaffirm our commitment. At both the state and the city level, lawmakers are working to adjust rules for businesses, and we are working alongside our members to ensure they remain safe, both in terms of health and finances. We know that caution must be exercised in reopening businesses, but we also recognize that business is the engine that can pull us through these tough economic straits.