Under the theme “Black Health and Wellness,” this year's Black History Month recognizes the contributions of those who have committed their lives to countering economic and health disparities that Black Americans often face in their communities. At AdventHealth, we pride ourselves in our team members' transformational stories and are excited to share them as our organization continues on its journey to address equity gaps in underserved communities.
For Adam Maycock, president and CEO of Adventist Medical Centers Hinsdale and La Grange, part of AdventHealth’s Midwest Region, the mere mention of Black history elicits conversations around health and wellness within Black communities.
“Health and wellness are at the heart of Black history,” he said. “When you think of the nucleus of the Black family, some of its common challenges can be tied to mental health, diet and nutrition. There is also the challenge of access and health equity.”
For example, according to the Institute of Medicine, “racial and ethnic minorities tend to receive a lower quality of health care than non-minorities, even when access-related factors, such as patients’ insurance status and income, are controlled.” This, combined with multiple historical, socioeconomic and environmental factors, often leads to earlier deaths related to development of chronic disease such as diabetes, hypertension, stroke, heart disease, decreased quality of life, loss of economic opportunities and perceptions of injustice.
As part of efforts to address these racial disparities, Maycock acknowledges the significant contributions of providers and clinicians who have given back to vulnerable communities by setting up health clinics to influence outcomes of various diseases that disproportionately affect Blacks.
“The fact that racial disparities that weren’t on anyone’s radar before are now being discussed, is a huge step in the right direction,” he said. “That's a trend I'm hoping continues to grow and evolve, because you can only manage what you measure.”
Maycock is big on reputation. His team considers him a trusted leader in the organization – the one thing he’s most proud of. He attributes his impact in his work and community to the amazing efforts of his team.
“I've made small contributions, but through my team we've made a big impact, like being recognized as a top hospital,” he said. “Outside our walls, we’ve been able to set up food pantries in partnership with local food banks and churches, and also facilitate educational sessions and access to professional opportunities within the communities we serve.”
Maycock is personally invested in how patients receive care throughout their entire health care journey. In 2015, his father was diagnosed with a brain abscess and needed brain surgery, a condition that required him to spend a total of six months in the hospital, including one month in the ICU. Maycock continues to look back and draw inspiration from what was one of the most difficult moments in his life.
“I’m always questioning what impact I can have. I want to make sure everyone who has a father, mother or family member in our hospitals can have the same experience I wanted for my father when he was in the hospital,” Maycock said.
From the first time a patient arrives at an emergency room or a physician’s office, to the point when they finish treatment, Maycock finds himself challenging the status quo in how he can help create an enriched experience along the entire journey.
Reflecting on AdventHealth’s equity journey, Maycock said he’s proud to see momentum growing as discussions around measuring impact and addressing health disparities continue to be prominently featured in the agenda of executives within and outside the organization.
Beyond the month of February, Maycock recommends taking a collective responsibility to remain conscious of Black history by creating more intentionality around our organization’s hiring practices and diversity efforts.
His biggest career advice has been shaped by his upbringing as a pastor’s child: “Trust God” and “don’t be afraid.”