“We have all known the long loneliness and we have learned that the only solution is love and that love comes from community.”
– Dorothy Day, American journalist
The other day I was reflecting on the events of the past two years or so. On the COVID-19 lockdowns. On the transition to virtual gatherings and meetings. On the “new normal” — hybrid meetings and last-minute event cancellations. On the many blogs about the strength and resilience of the human spirit.
And, while I heard from many of you that you are tired of the word “resilient,” I would like to pose this question: Have you ever stopped to ask what makes us strong and resilient? Some say that it is good genes. Others think it is an innate survival skill.
I believe it comes from building community with other people — our co-workers, neighbors, families and members of our broader community. It is our relationships with other people that make us strong as individuals.
Much research has been done on the power of community in the workplace, and the studies have shown that feeling part of a community can increase employee productivity. Connections with co-workers help us find meaning in our work and contribute to our overall job satisfaction. Workplace community is also good for our health because a sense of belonging helps increase our “feel-good” hormones and decrease our stress levels. And community at work leads to rich collaborations. Collaborations that — in health care — have the power to transform lives and entire communities, which is the very heart of our ambition at The Ohio State University College of Medicine.
To reach our transformative ambition, we must first be a community right here at The Ohio State University College of Medicine.
How do we do that? Here are some ideas: Seek out new relationships. Instead of thinking about what you might receive from a relationship, focus instead on what you might contribute to someone else’s life. Communicate openly and transparently. Encourage diverse perspectives. Join an Employee Resource Group to connect with people in situations similar to yours. Plan in-person gatherings. Celebrate accomplishments, work anniversaries and birthdays. Practice gratitude.
These pandemic years have certainly caused what journalist Dorothy Day calls “long loneliness.” She wisely said that the only solution to long loneliness is “love and that love comes with community.” I love being part of the Ohio State community, and I am excited to continue to build community with you, my friends.
Carol Bradford, MD, MS
Dean, College of Medicine
Leslie H. and Abigail S. Wexner Dean’s Chair in Medicine
Vice President for Health Sciences, Wexner Medical Center