June 1, 2020

Transcript: Special Message from Dr. Jeff Balser, President and CEO, on VUMC’s role in offering hope and healing

Dr. Jeff Balser talks about VUMC as a place of healing not only of illness, but of inequality and injustice, and how the Medical Center must comfort and provide hope and healing to those who are hurting, whatever the source of that pain.


Hi, everyone.

For the past several months we have faced a tremendous challenge with the COVID 19 pandemic.  We have talked a lot about COVID … and as you know… that crisis is not over… but because of your hard work and courage we are beginning to reopen activities here at VUMC, and throughout the Nashville region.

Jeff Balser, MD, PhD

However, the pandemic has not erased the ongoing challenges our country and our city face with injustice and inequality, and in many ways has made those challenges more visible. With the senseless killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis this past week — and before him, Breonna Taylor and Ahmaud Arbery — racial injustice and the struggle for civil rights has been thrust again into the spotlight. I am horrified and saddened by these deaths. I stand with all those who mourn.

As you know, the response to George Floyd’s killing sadly resulted in violence in cities across the country, and this weekend in Nashville.

At VUMC, our role — our mission — is healing. Our duty and our privilege are to heal; healing is a broad idea and doesn’t only mean cure — it means to comfort and to provide hope.

Our city — and our country — desperately need healing and hope.  That’s easy to say, but it will only become real if we all confront injustice and inequality in our own spheres of influence.

At VUMC, our sphere, we bring healing and hope by caring for everyone, with the same compassion, extraordinary skill, and relentless intensity, regardless of their skin color, their resources or their story.

We can bring healing and hope by listening to those who are hurting — not only with physical pain, but with understandable fears over the tragic events around us, and with mental anguish over terrible losses of loved ones, jobs, and now with the events of this weekend, storefronts that sustain livelihood.

We can bring healing and hope by treating the wounds that come to our EDs and our trauma areas and by rejecting violence through our words and our actions, here at VUMC and throughout our local communities.

These are troubling times, but providing for the care and well-being of the people in this region is our highest calling. It means bringing our very best at times of crisis. Our “very best” is more than this Medical Center’s many, extraordinary capabilities. It’s also your caring spirit — the people of this region need that from us, now more than ever.

VUMC must always be a shelter in the storm. So, during these times, here — at

this place — all of us working at VUMC, our students, our patients and families should only experience healing and hope. Thank you for your leadership, and for the way you work day and night to bring healing and hope to this community.

We will talk again.