This is a time to celebrate and review the past year. This has been a year of challenges and triumphs for our Gaudenzia team. Indeed, the challenges have been consistent across the world with the COVID-19 pandemic and the ‘Great Resignation,’ but where it is a bit different in our industry is the increasing number of people dying from overdoses– an unbelievable 28.5% increase from the previous year to over 100,000 dead in 2020. But unfortunately, we still have so many people to help.
Despite the challenges experienced last year, we’ve had many triumphs. Thanks to you, our dedicated staff, we were able to quickly pivot and remain operational during an unprecedented global pandemic. While many providers were forced to restrict access or close programs altogether, Gaudenzia remained open and accessible to all who needed our services—both in-person and increasingly via telehealth services. Further, with your help, we were able to forge creative partnerships to meet the needs of our most vulnerable community members, including partnering with local government in Philadelphia and Washington, D.C., to provide behavioral health support to individuals sheltered in city-run quarantine sites and opening Philadelphia’s first 3.1 level of care where children can accompany their mothers to treatment. However, perhaps our most significant triumph collectively was introducing and embracing our new treatment model. We have modified our beginnings as a thriving therapeutic community to an evidence-based, trauma-informed, gender-responsive treatment program while simultaneously dealing with a global pandemic. We are enormously proud to provide individualized care that respects the individual and meets them where they are – even providing medication-assisted treatment to help support a life in recovery.
Over the last year, we have made strides in reshaping the culture of our workplace. We have asked you how we can do better and have responded with increased wages, increased educational contributions, clearer expectations through competencies, and more opportunities for input and recognition. Our goal is to make this a safe, diverse workplace where engagement and connection are the cornerstones of our success both within our work environment and with our clients. But, although we have made progress this year, we still have a way to go.
I am grateful for your resiliency and commitment to change this year. We will continue to strive to make Gaudenzia the best option for treatment in the communities we serve and a place where we can be excited to come to work every day. I wish you a wonderful holiday season and a happy start to 2022.
Dr. Dale Klatzker