Genesis Recognizes Mission Month
One of the earliest stories of Genesis tells of an 1873 cholera outbreak in Davenport.
The city’s Board of Health rushed to create a makeshift “pest house” for the desperately ill victims. In its haste to create an emergency hospital, however, one thing had been overlooked: Who would take care of the highly contagious patients?
Three Sisters of Mercy walked through the door, offering their services.
For 143 years, Genesis Health System and its predecessors have responded to community needs with compassion and quality to the patients and their families. That tradition began with the founding institutions of Genesis -- Mercy Hospital in 1869 and St. Luke’s Hospital in 1895. It has continued for generations as the health system has grown with more hospitals, services and providers into an integrated system of health care.
Of course, the days of cholera outbreaks have passed, but the Genesis mission to provide “compassionate, quality health services to all those in need” endures.
During the month of May, Genesis will celebrate the first-ever Mission Month and re-invigorate a sense of mission that goes all the way back to 1869, when Mother Borromeo and the Sisters of Mercy opened one of the first hospitals west of the Mississippi River -- Mercy Hospital in Davenport.
“Our mission is a sacred commitment that acts as our ‘true north,’ guiding the organization forward,” Doug Cropper, Genesis President and CEO, said to employees.
“In a world where the pace of change accelerates every day, it’s comforting to know our mission never changes. It is the rudder that keeps Genesis on course no matter how the winds and waves of change may slow our progress. Mission Month will provide us with an opportunity to renew our personal and collective commitment to our mission.”
In 2009, he urged employees to take the Genesis mission to the streets and volunteer for projects that make the area a better place. Since then, through the “Taking it to the Streets” initiative, employees have collected food for area food pantries; supported fellow employees in need during the holiday season; volunteered at an event providing services to homeless veterans, and hosted a baby shower for the VNA’s Bright Beginnings Program.
They have built a Habitat for Humanity House; spruced up the Humility Mary shelter; and, removed garbage from area waterways during Xstream Clean-up.
“Our mission is health care, but we also feel it’s important to be a good community steward,” Cropper said.
Just last weekend, Genesis employees volunteered at a Rebuild Quad Cities workday. And in March, Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad and Lt. Gov. Kim Reynolds helped employees load up more than 17,000 donated items for Quad City-area domestic violence shelters.
“We had boxes upon boxes of items for women and children in crisis,” said Tina Ervin of Information Technology, a cochair for the Domestic Violence Shelter and Necessity Drive. “You put up a box in a general location at Genesis, and the quantity of donations you get is unbelievable.”
Ervin added, “Our employees care. I think people who work in health care generally want to give back to their community.”
Last September, Cropper named the Rev. Becky David, Director of Spiritual Care at Genesis, to the additional role of Mission Officer for the health system. As Mission Officer, she is responsible for making sure Genesis maintains an unwavering commitment to its mission in a time of rapidly evolving technologies, steadily tightening regulations and mounting financial pressures.
“Our formal mission may be to provide ‘compassionate, quality health services to all those in need,’ “ said the Rev. David.
“But relieving suffering -- whether it’s hunger, the need for housing, or cleaning our part of the planet -- is part of our mission, too. Our commitment is not only to the people who come to us, but it’s to the larger community in which we work, and play and live.”
Mission Month kicked off Thursday at the President’s Mission Breakfast. It will continue with plans for an employee appreciation picnic at Niabi Zoo, a night at Modern Woodmen Park, and a special drive to collect birthday party supplies and gifts for children who are hospitalized or whose parents who are unable to give a party because of their own illness or hospitalization.
A Genesis Mission Scholarship will be awarded to help a Genesis employee take part in a local, national or international mission effort. Throughout the month, Spiritual Care chaplains will “bless the hands” of employees as a simple reminder of the sacredness of health care work.
The Rev. David concludes, “Mission Month celebrates the work we do, reminds us there’s more to be done and encourages us to roll up our sleeves and get our hands dirty. It’s that involvement that makes Genesis a special place.”