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Reflecting on a Year of Challenges – and Hope

By Mary Beth TeSelle, Special to The Union

Hospital President Grateful for Staff, Community

Signs like these expressing appreciation for health care workers helped to boost the spirits of employees and physicians at Dignity Health Sierra Nevada Memorial Hospital this year, says Dr. Brian Evans, Hospital President and CEO.

While the nation’s hospitals have truly been the epicenter for the COVID-19 pandemic, they are also places where we can find hope amid the darkness of 2020. This is particularly true at our local community hospital, Dignity Health Sierra Nevada Memorial Hospital.

Dr. Brian Evans

Reflecting on the past year, Hospital President and CEO Dr. Brian Evans knows it is a year of loss and struggle for many, including here in our community.



“This has been an extraordinarily challenging year for the entire community, and particularly for our staff,” he says. “The pandemic has disrupted families, and lives in so many ways, and it has caused suffering for many throughout the world.”

However, when asked about the hospital’s nearly 800 employees and more than 100 on-staff physicians, Evans is inspired and grateful.



“I want to tell the staff thank you – and I know I’m not the only one who is grateful for them,” he says. “The environmental service workers, pharmacists, nurses, doctors, techs, kitchen team, registration people, medics, and everybody else at SNMH has been unbelievable all year. I see signs thanking health care workers on fences and buildings on my way into work. The community knows that they are heroes and they’ve been trying to give them that message all year long. I would like to echo that simple message of gratitude.”

Evans credits the hospital’s success this year to the unwavering commitment of his team.

“Our health care team has been relentless in its mission to provide outstanding care to our community despite the many uncertainties of Covid-19,” says Hospital President and CEO Dr. Brian Evans. “I’ve been so impressed and grateful for the hard work and optimism of our entire team, just doing all the things that are required, regardless of the challenges of 2020. From wildfires, power outages, equipment failures, and of course a pandemic, nothing has stopped them from taking care of this community. And they’ve done that job with excellence, kindness and tremendous compassion.”

Evans recognizes that while the pandemic has been felt by each of us in unique and individual ways, it has also brought us together in battle against a common enemy – the COVID-19 virus. He thanks the community not only for their support of the hospital staff and physicians, but also for doing their part to reduce the spread.

“Your support is so appreciated,” Evans says. “The messages of kindness have meant so much to all of us. And so many of you have been incredibly diligent about reducing the spread of Covid-19, and that has truly helped our hospital avoid being overwhelmed with patients. It hasn’t been easy for anyone, but those daily decisions and sacrifices have been crucial.”

Looking ahead, Evans believes that commitment and cooperation will continue to be important as we begin to see light at the end of the tunnel.

“This is a critical time,” he says. “We have vaccines now, and a resolution to this pandemic is in sight. However, we must continue to be extremely careful to reduce spread until a significant percentage of the population is vaccinated and has some protection against Covid-19. That means continuing to wear masks, socially distance, wash hands, and avoid gatherings. Many hospitals are really feeling the strain of this pandemic and we don’t want them to become more overwhelmed.”

Evans says he is filled with optimism – not only for an end to the pandemic, but also because of what he has witnessed in our hospital and our community the past few months.

“The hard work of our health care team and the support of this great community gives me tremendous hope for getting through this pandemic,” he says. “We have learned how interdependent we all are, and the support of our community has been truly inspiring. We can learn from this pandemic and come out stronger on the other side.”

And when we do find ourselves on the other side – Evans says that will be cause for celebration.

“I’m looking forward to celebrating the end of this pandemic with the entire community. I am not sure exactly when that will be, but I can visualize it and I hope it will be a moment where our community can come together and express gratitude for one another.”


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