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Director's Message January 14, 2022

Dr. Robinson's picture on gold banner.

Each year on the third Monday of January we observe Martin Luther King, Jr. Day and reflect on the work that still needs to be done for racial equality. This holiday is more than just a day off; it’s a time to reflect and take action on civil rights issues across the globe.

Martin Luther King’s unparalleled contributions to racial justice for Black Americans have been revolutionary. On Martin Luther King, Jr. Day or “MLK Day,” schools and offices are closed, but people fully participate in remembering and honoring everything King has accomplished. His values and historical place in American history are discussed and advocated to educate communities and coming generations on the importance of equality and King’s influence. Movies and documentaries on his life are shown, and businesses and organizations run by and for the Black community are shown some support.

Although King considered himself a pacifist, he lived life as a warrior, unafraid to battle against the injustices he experienced and saw to make the union of our nation more perfect.  King saw himself as a servant of humanity.  He approached the issue as one problem affecting all Americans, black and white, rich and poor.  King taught us that love and peace are yoked to respect and kindness. 

At the VA Pacific Islands Health Care System, we strive to demonstrate empathy and compassion, respect and kindness in everything we do, knowing that some Veterans we treat are compromised in many ways: mentally, physically, emotionally, psychologically and spiritually from having served our nation in the military.  As staff caring for our nations’ veterans, we recognize that what we say, how we say it, what we feel, and how we convey those feelings reflect how we care for patients.  In short, our words and actions demonstrate our values.  As King continually showed us, respect, care, compassion, empathy, and recognition of our common humanity begins with an attitude and mindset.

An open mindset is the engine that allows us to grow, improve and make the necessary changes to meet the evolving needs of our veterans.  We consider it a privilege to serve veterans and foster the sense of camaraderie, community and care that helps them feel that VA health care facilities are their home, where they are treated with dignity and respect, where they receive comfort and relief during hard times, and where seeking help for mental health issues is akin to seeking help for any other physical issue.  We encourage veterans to enroll in VA health care, to join our community of caring providers focused on offering quality and comprehensive care.  We welcome veterans to partner with us and to have a say in how we can best meet their needs.  

Like a warrior killed in battle defending our liberty, King sacrificed his life for the words embodied in the Constitution, “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all Men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness.”  King strove to help us create a more perfect union, the same thing that our nation’s service men and women in uniform do every day.  While there can be many paths to the same goal, King showed us that by treating each other with respect and dignity, by applying the Golden Rule, by recognizing and valuing the common humanity of all of us, we all benefit as a whole. 

At the VA Pacific Islands Health Care System, our path is to treat all veterans with the respect and dignity they deserve.  Years after King’s death, his call for unity, kindness, compassion and empathy remains as urgent and vital now as it did then.

I wish you all a good holiday, and I hope each of you takes the time to reflect on unity and common purpose, and how we can better achieve those things in our personal and professional lives. 

Combined Federal Campaign (CFC)

As 2022 begins, the 2021 Combined Federal Campaign (CFC) comes to an end. Jan. 15 is the final day to pledge and Be the Face of Change. If you haven’t already pledged, start your new year off with a gift that will keep on giving all year long through a recurring payroll deduction, and Be the Face of Change with all of us in this caring federal community.

You each have inspired me in your own ways, and you each represent the face of change through the caring CFC community – one I am very proud to be a part of. In these last days of the CFC, we are looking to show the strength of the federal community and make the greatest impact possible. Some people might say it takes an extraordinary person to care enough to give, but it’s more common than you think, and the CFC makes it easy. Anyone can be a changemaker through the CFC. 

Your actions today empower a world of change tomorrow. Pledge your gift by visiting GiveCFC.org. Thank you for Being the Faces of Change.

Windward CBOC

Remember that the new Windward CBOC is accepting patients now. veterans on the Windward side of the island can transfer their care at any time. The new CBOC is located at 46-001 Kamehameha Hwy Ste. 301 in the Adventist Castle Professional Center. If you would like to transfer your care to the Windward CBOC, call 1-800-214-1306.

Get Your COVID-19  Booster & Flu Shot 

The COVID-19 pandemic continues, and everyone is safer when they are fully vaccinated. Studies have shown that getting your Flu shot, COVID19  vaccine and your booster shot can significantly reduce your risk of getting the virus and lessen the symptoms if you do get sick. However, the vaccine is just one layer of protection. It’s also very important for everyone to wear masks and practice good hand hygiene and continue to avoid large crowds . We must remain vigilant for as long as it takes to keep everyone safe.

One Team, One Ohana!
Adam M. Robinson, Jr., MD, MBA, CPE 
Director, VA Pacific Islands Health Care System
VADM, MC, USN, (RET)
36th Surgeon General, USN

 

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