Message from Ruth Perot, SHIRE Executive Director / CEO
My 25 years as Executive Director/CEO of SHIRE have given rise to countless blessings. I have learned some tough lessons, gained new knowledge, created innovative programs, influenced policies on behalf of people of color, and most importantly developed meaningful relationships at many levels. I have been privileged to work with hundreds of community residents in the District of Columbia and across the nation and seeing them take charge of their health has brought me much joy. My relationships with community partners, faithful supporters, representatives of government agencies and private sector entities have also meant a great deal to me. Particularly meaningful have been my connections with colleagues—members of SHIRE’s Board of Directors as well as staff and consultants whose commitment to SHIRE and to me has been steadfast and deeply moving. I have so much to be thankful for and truly much to celebrate as I commemorate my 25 years with SHIRE.
I am also deeply aware that the past can be and will be a prologue to the future. As a consequence of the COVID-19 pandemic, we all became aware of the shortcomings of healthcare institutions, particularly as they interact with people of color. It became even more clear to me that the door was open to a new approach to our health care systems based on our enhanced sense of empowerment and self-determination. This is not a new realization because I am a veteran of the civil rights movement in the 1960s and I saw firsthand what empowered people can do to change the institutions that impact their lives. Therefore, I am excited by the prospect that we at SHIRE can offer experiences and successes to the broader community as we launch our next phase.