Saluting the end of the road

July 22, 2022

This month we’re granting two salutes – one to an organization and the other to a person – for reaching the end of the road. For the organization, it’s the end of the road through an award process that honors and recognizes departmental performance excellence. For the person, it’s the end of the road to an enriching retirement after a long and successful career in publishing.

First up, we salute Sacramento, CA-based Sutter Health for earning the 2022 Supply Chain Department of the Year award. Feel free to read their inspiring profile inside the covers a few pages in. As referenced last month, this year’s competition – and winner – achieved a bit of history. How?

1. We received the most nominations ever in the 19-year history of bestowing this annual and anticipated honor. The collection of supply chain intelligentsia included some of the most prominent and respected healthcare organizations in the nation. Rest assured, I read each and every one of them.

2. Every few years or so, we receive a nomination I consider unique. For example, we’ve received nominations from international facilities (Canada and Europe, specifically), we’ve received nominations from sizably staffed facilities. In fact, one year we received a nomination from a facility whose department comprised a single gender. This year, we received a nomination from the smallest department on record with us – two staffers. I doff my fedora to that facility.

3. This year’s winner makes history for us for several reasons: Sutter Health’s Supply Chain team hails from California, making it not only the first winning team from California but also the first from the entire West Coast, which means this award now has been given to worthy organizations from coast to coast and from sea to shining sea!

4. This year’s winning team earned the top spot for its foundational strategic planning and solid implementation tactics rather than for investing in lots of new equipment as part of a mammoth expansion and/or renovation program. And, like its immediate predecessors during the last two years, they did it during the COVID-19 pandemic and ensuing global supply chain challenges. Like Banner Health (2021) and Dartmouth-Hitchcock Health (2020), Sutter Health improved performance operations while satisfying soaring customer demands in what may shape up to be a component of the model of the future.

5. Sutter Health also cemented its legacy while experiencing changes in the executive suite, reinforcing the leadership contributions of an entire empowered team.

Next up, we salute one of our own, a long-time Healthcare Purchasing News veteran with me during the 21st century and third millennium-to-date. How’s that for epic?

After more than two decades at the helm of HPN (and several sibling publications inside and outside of healthcare), Kristine Russell officially retired on July 1, but that doesn’t mean she’ll be vanishing without a trace. She’s only shedding day-to-day operations and will continue her posts as an emeritus.

Russell faithfully has served as the dedicated and devoted face and name of HPN on the conference, exhibit hall and trade show circuit for many years, a staunch advocate of and evangelist for healthcare supply chain operations, sterile processing and distribution (SPD), surgical services, critical care, infection prevention, information technology and laboratory. While all of these departments and specialties form the turbocharged engine of a healthcare organization, Russell can best be hailed as the spark plug for these topical areas and the important ECM (Engine Control Module) chip of this vaunted publication, now celebrating its 45th year covering these industry segments.

In fact, these industry segments, which fuel the industry, owe a debt of gratitude to Russell, who helped rescue HPN and make it part of a publishing family that appreciated, favored, recognized and valued its legacy.

Kris, on behalf of HPN readers old and new, thank you for all you’ve done for HPN and for this industry.

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