Every Person Counts: Why We Need To Champion Our "Faceless Heroes"

If there's one thing we need to champion in 2021, it's these "faceless" and often forgotten contributors- men and women who've done the job without the glory.
Every Person Counts: Why We Need To Champion Our "Faceless Heroes"
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In 1984, Malcolm X famously said: “When ‘I’ is replaced by ‘we,’ even illness becomes wellness.”

If there was ever a year when those words have had an even deeper meaning and impact, it’s been 2020.

Unprecedented, at least in our lifetimes, when the 2020 global coronavirus pandemic hit us, we were unprepared. We may have galvanized efforts and resources to fight off the worst of it, but every single person paid a toll- personally and professionally.

Even though there were times we were cowed, we were never defeated. And as we turn the corner with several new vaccines, I strongly believe that every hardship comes to teach us a lesson.

So, as we herald a new year, let’s indulge in a little retrospection. What were the lessons of 2020? How did we turn our challenges into our strengths? And where do we go from here armed with a year’s worth of experience?

In a year wrought with health crises, where timely treatment and the right protocols have often been the difference between life and death, we have all been witness to the resilience, fortitude, and grace of healthcare professionals. There are not enough words of praise to communicate what the entire healthcare community has achieved through 2020. Because of their collective hard work, we’ve started the new year with several vaccines that hold the potential to turn the tide, and give us back the simplest and perhaps most beautiful of gestures- a hug and a handshake.

And while the world has celebrated the efforts of frontline workers through rainbow-colored windows and claps of appreciation, we would be remiss if we did not equally laud the endeavors of the wider medical community- of each and every hospital guard, insurance coordinator, janitor, medical receptionist, admin assistant, duty manager and lab technician, among others, who kept the system working smoothly so that people like us could benefit from premium care and attention.

 The International Modern Hospital support staff receiving their certificates. Source: ACCUMED

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I have to borrow words from celebrated NFL coach Vince Lombardi when talking about these “faceless heroes,” because their “individual commitment to a group effort is what made the entire team, company, society, and civilization work” through the darker days.

Ask any corporate leader and they’ll tell you that they are only as strong as their individuals and teams. When your foundations are strong, the whole system functions better.

It’s this same realization -that every person counts- that is the inspiration behind Faceless Heroes, an initiative our company, ACCUMED, started that shares the stories of the backline support staff of hospitals and in the healthcare sector. Through this, we hope to reward and widen the celebratory lens of the media to include backend workers and support staff- people who have contributed as much as the frontliners.

 Faceless Hero nominee Mohamed Fasathi, a Billing Executive at The International Modern Hospital. Source: ACCUMED

We realize that not all heroes wear masks and scrubs- indeed, some of them also wear uniforms, aprons, badges, and audio headsets, and they deserve to be celebrated, because they have shown the same level of daily commitment and dedication to their jobs even in the face of real danger in their workplaces.

If there’s one thing we need to champion in 2021 then, it’s these “faceless” and often forgotten contributors. Men and women who’ve done the job without the glory. The people for whom the world didn’t clap fort or make rainbows. They are as much our saviors, as doctors and nurses fighting the scourge of this pandemic.

The response to Faceless Heroes has been both heartening and faith-affirming, where nominators of heroes are supporting and celebrating unrecognized stories of bravery and fortitude. Hopefully, the campaign will help correct an unconscious yet long-enduring bias against the less “glamourous” professions in the healthcare industry, so that we end up at a place where we celebrate and appreciate all workers equally.

The best thing about a new year is that it gives us a chance to do things better. Most people are making plans to dust off this pandemic, and move forward, to grow, become stronger and more successful. But it’s a good idea to take a measured pause to appreciate the things, relationships, and people we may have previously taken for granted. Because the truth is, if everyone is moving forward together, then success takes care of itself.

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