When one thinks about a large international health improvement and research network of 109 care centers, the word “friend” may not immediately come to mind. But recently, as I attended my approximately 18th ImproveCareNow Community Conference in 11 years, it was this word that kept coming to my mind throughout.

I’ve captured below some of the images shared via social media from the weekend that will stick with me, and that I feel reinforce this notion that we are not just professional colleagues and acquaintances, but friends. Some are decade-long friends, others who are new to the community just met last week and immediately sensed and dove into a shared journey that we are all on together.

As usual, #ICNCC18F was two days chock full of “You too?” moments, which sparked the beginning of generous sharing and support that somehow endures across the miles when we head back to our respective homes (across the US and the globe) and jump back into our own versions of the daily grind:

Coordinators from across the US, and indeed the world, sharing tips, tricks, and hacks for navigating their day-to-day life and work. Like friends do.

Doctors, nurses, research coordinators, parents, and patients within individual care centers strengthening ties as they work to improve care and venture outside clinic walls to learn with others. Like friends do.

All kinds of improvers cheering on the accomplishment of a parent who received funding to lead her own project. Like friends do.

A room full of over 200 people taking time out of the hustle and bustle of learning together to breathe deeply and recharge together. Like friends do.

QI coaches who normally work across the miles just enjoying being together. Like friends do. 

And, as always, patients and parents making sure we brought some fun into our hard work, pushing some of us outside of our more “serious” comfort zone. Like friends do.

Thank you, friends, for another wonderful Community Conference! Let's stay connected in between conferences, in person and across the miles using digital tools like Twitter, and at community events (like our 10/4 Virtual Community Conference). Let's keep reaching out and reminding each other that none of us are in this alone.


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