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This past year was our most challenging, but we’ve survived and thrived

In one year, Southern Oregon experienced two once-in-a-generation catastrophes: A pandemic and devastating wildfires. How we overcame those is a testament to our employees.


It’s hard to believe that one year ago our lives and the way we work drastically changed. I can personally say that the past 12 months have been the most difficult year of my career.

When I finished medical school and residency, I felt nothing would compare to those demands and challenges — until this past year. Words cannot express how grateful and proud I am of Asante’s role in helping to lead the COVID-19 efforts in Southern Oregon and our response to the wildfires.

Who could have imagined a year ago where we would be today. Last March, and for the first time as a system, Asante set up an incident command team to coordinate the COVID-19 response, a team that still meets to navigate the ever-changing elements of the pandemic.

March 2020 also brought Asante’s first COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations. We faced the challenges of PPE shortages and developed the first drive-thru COVID-19 testing site in Oregon.

We implemented virtual care through a variety of platforms to meet our patients’ needs and ensure they had access to the care they needed.

As the months progressed, we too advanced. Our laboratory teams continued to expand testing capacity and our hospitals came together to load-balance between the facilities to manage the surge of patients. We faced a crisis with long-term care patients, with upward of 57 patients boarding for extended periods of time. We safely opened our clinics to in-person visits and advanced our telemedicine capability.

Finally, we led Southern Oregon in vaccination efforts, including the development of vaccine clinics and mass-vaccination events in both Jackson and Josephine counties.

When we were faced with the devastating wildfires, our team came together, stronger than ever. Our employees opened their homes to those they did not know, but who were part of the Asante family. Donations of food, clothing, toys and living necessities filled our Smullin Center. Employees volunteered their time to help those impacted by the fires, and many covered shifts for their co-workers.

What we saw during this time was an outpouring of support and respect for those around us. This experience was humbling in more ways than I can express.

Please accept my appreciation for all that you have done for our community over the past year. We have proven that we can rise to all challenges and succeed together.

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