Message From Dr. Lavonne Ansari: Concluding Tenure as CHCANYS Board Chair

Message From Dr. Lavonne Ansari
Concluding Tenure as CHCANYS Board Chair

As I come to the end of my journey as Board Chair of this amazing organization, I find myself looking back at a historic… life-changing … and life affirming experience.

I want to acknowledge Rose Duhan, President & CEO, and the CHCANYS staff for their guidance, diligence, and commitment to the work of CHCANYS. Without the CHCANYS team, the work of a Chair is impossible to do. 

On Sun., March 1, 2020, CHCANYS named me the new board chair to succeed Dr. Neil Calman.

And on Mon., March 2, I had my first opportunity to speak to hundreds of advocates gathered in Albany at CHCANYS’ annual Advocacy Day.  And in fact, I was reminded that I shouted that WE DESERVE! the funding we were requesting.

Never in my wildest thoughts did I think we were going to need those funds to begin to fight a once in 100 years global pandemic! And as we were trying to come to grips with what we were going to do to defend and save our communities from this new disease called COVID-!9…

… an equally ferocious “second fight” exploded when on May 25, 2020, George Floyd, a 46-year-old African American man, was murdered in Minneapolis. It set off the largest racial justice protests since the Civil Rights movement.

Today, racism in healthcare is shown to be a real threat to the communities that we serve. Systemic racism is now noted as a public health crisis.

So, we began fighting on two fronts to save our communities. And we all have been right there on the front lines together!

In closing, I am grateful to be part of the leadership team along with and our CHCs staff that has displayed an eagerness to learn what we didn't know; ability to brave the unknown; empathy for others; resilience to accept problems with courage, trust, and most importantly, mutual respect with one another. So, as I take my seat back on the bench, I look forward to continuing my work on the periphery and assisting the team where I am needed.

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