The Process of Progress

Peter Long, Ph.D.

“Change is the only constant in life, and it is in changing that we find purpose.” –Heraclitus

Recently, it seems we’re experiencing more and faster change at every turn. On a national level, new debates in Congress and the Supreme Court have the potential to dramatically alter the health policy landscape. And on a societal level, we could be witnessing major shifts in response to tragic events in Ferguson, Staten Island, and Cleveland. The resulting demonstrations across the U.S. have elevated deeply-seated social issues and show us that many Americans are ready for change.

As a witness to this difficult and ongoing fight against injustice, I’m reminded of my colleague, Lark Galloway Gilliam, who recently passed away. As a person, and as the founder and director of Community Health Councils, Inc., Lark was a force of nature. She dedicated her life to improving the health of low-income communities and reducing disparities across the race and income gaps. She challenged both friends and foes alike to do more for those in need. She pushed us to stop simply talking, and start taking action. While Lark will be sorely missed, it is incumbent upon all of us to rise to her challenge, and carry on her vital work.

As our nation and society continue to evolve around us, we must be willing to help shape this transformation. Every day we face choices about what we stand for and what we want for the future. Individually, we can choose to #bethesolution to end domestic violence. And together, we can create a healthier, safer California.

Looking back over the past year, we’ve seen remarkable changes in the right direction — changes that reflect real progress. With more than 3 million Californians gaining health insurance, we now have the highest coverage rate in our state’s history. And as we move through a second, successful open enrollment period, the momentum continues toward ensuring affordable health care for all. We’ve also seen more action and attention around the issue of domestic violence than ever before. In addition to a surge in media coverage, we’re seeing more individuals, organizations — even an entire county in California — pledge their support to address domestic violence.

These are dynamic and often challenging times. As we move into 2015, we can expect even more changes ahead - for the nation, the state, the Foundation, and ourselves. It is in finding purpose through these changes that we will make a meaningful difference in the world.



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