In recent months, all of us have had a front-row seat as our nation grapples with important health policy issues at the federal level, with still uncertain results. Decisions on these issues will have far-reaching impact, directly affecting the health of our entire population.
In turbulent times like these, the value of an independent, highly credible organization working at the state and local levels—an organization like United Hospital Fund—is more apparent than ever.
Over the past decade, I've been an avid consumer of UHF products, as well as a proud partner in many UHF activities. It is therefore with great enthusiasm that I join UHF as its president.
It is with great humility, too, that I succeed Jim Tallon, who, for as long as I can remember, has been a larger-than-life presence on the New York health policy scene. I have a profound respect and gratitude for UHF's accomplishments under his leadership. And yet, of course, as with any leadership transition, it is natural to ponder what will be next for this historic institution.
Despite progress across many fronts, there are still signs and symptoms of a health system under duress. Over 1 million New Yorkers still lack health insurance, and access and affordability challenges cast an even wider net. We have some of the best health care institutions in the world, but there is still wide variation in the quality of care. Health outcomes for New Yorkers overall are less than optimal, but even more disturbing are the large and persistent disparities in disadvantaged communities.
United Hospital Fund has many tools at its disposal to address these challenges—our policy analysis, convening power, and ability to develop and implement innovative programs among them—but where and how we focus our resources in the years ahead requires serious reflection. To help inform our deliberations over the coming months, I will learn all that I can from our talented staff and board, our grantees and partners, and our stakeholders and health care thought leaders. I also welcome any thoughts that you might have on the most critical challenges facing our health care system in New York.
For 138 years, UHF has been a force for improving health care in New York, with special attention paid to our society's most vulnerable populations. I am proud to lead our efforts as we continue that work into the future.
Anthony Shih, MD, MPH
President, United Hospital Fund
To learn more, see A New Chapter: Anthony Shih, MD, MPH, Becomes UHF President