February 15, 2021 - Our Deepest Condolences

On behalf of the ACHE MN Board of Directors we express our deepest condolences to the families and staff affected by the recent tragedy at the Allina Health Clinic in Buffalo, Minnesota. 

On, Tuesday, February 9, word of mass causalities at the clinic in Buffalo, Minnesota, came quickly.  Even before the reports in the media, ACHE members texted, called, or emailed each other.  Many of us have personal connections to colleagues and to the Buffalo community. Collective sorrow seeks expression. The need to share that burden hasn’t diminished in the aftermath of the shooting.  We sense that condolences seem inadequate.  We recognize that the trauma and pain may be with those who grieve for some time to come.  Our hearts go out to those affected.

The tragedy brings an awareness of our vulnerability as healthcare professionals.  We are keenly aware that our healthcare colleagues continually face both physical and psychological risks. As healthcare leaders we strive to keep our patients and staff as safe as possible. We feel the burden of working through the pandemic to care for our communities with no end in sight. And, we are so very grateful for the caring dedication of the healthcare workers we see every single day.

Whether we work in a direct care setting or a related healthcare field, we are privileged to serve. Every day we have the opportunity as part of the larger healthcare community of providers to celebrate private joys and miracles.  And we also witness the personal tragedies of our patients and our communities.  We honor the healthcare leaders who use their talents and their voices to make every-day joys a reality and to bring community in times of grief.

We also recognize that resilience can be fragile. At a recent Chapter event, our speaker observed that healthcare leaders share the risks of burn-out which have become so prevalent in healthcare.  In our collective sorrow, please care for yourselves. Do ask for a listening ear when needed.  Make it known to a colleague that you’re in a position to empathize. ACHE MN is the professional society for leaders dedicated to improving health. To fulfill that promise, we care for ourselves and each other.


Additional resources from the Minnesota Department of Public Health include learning materials on psychological first aid.  These tools provide an evidence based approach that all of us can use to assist survivors and fellow responders impacted by a disaster or emergency event. 

The American College of Healthcare Executives has a podcast on crisis leadership. Rulon Stacey, PhD, FACHE, is managing director of Navigant’s Healthcare Strategy business unit but also has ties to Minnesota.  He reflects on his experience in a high-profile crisis and what he learned about leading honorably.

Kathy Zavaleta, FACHE , MHSA
President, ACHE MN