Paying Tribute to My 'Letterman'

Posted October 01, 2015 by Scott Berns

New CEO Reflects on Predecessor's Legacy, Looks Ahead

Scott Berns, MD, MPH
NICHQ CEO Scott Berns, MD, MPH

Stephen Colbert recently began his run as host of the Late Show by paying tribute to David Letterman, saying that without Letterman, “There is no way I would be here right now.”

I feel the same way about my predecessor, Charlie Homer.

As I prepare to take the reigns as the new President and CEO of NICHQ and look ahead to the organization’s bright future, I also find myself reflecting on the past and this man’s impressive legacy.

NICHQ was founded in 1999 when Charlie and a few of his close colleagues had become increasingly concerned about the inconsistent quality of children’s healthcare, particularly care for at-risk children. Unwilling to accept the status quo, they were determined to fix this issue—and NICHQ was born.

Charlie was the driving force that took NICHQ from that original concept to—nearly two decades later—its current status as the lead organization in our country for enabling improvements related to children’s health and healthcare.

NICHQ’s original focus was on the clinical office setting. Its critical work helped to standardize and transform care for children with ADHD and asthma, among other conditions, and widely promote the patient and family-centered medical home model. In recent years, Charlie expanded NICHQ’s focus beyond clinical settings to include an emphasis on many other social and community determinants of children’s health, leading to important gains in areas such as childhood obesity and infant mortality.

His accomplishments are vast and his impact is indelible. Charlie threw a little pebble in a pond and the resulting ripples have improved the lives of thousands, perhaps millions, of children and their families.

Speaking further about Letterman, Colbert said, “For the record, I’m not replacing David Letterman…We will try to honor his achievement by doing the best show we can.”

So it is with me. I salute you, Dr. Homer. I stand in admiration of all of your achievements and plan to carry your ideals as far as we can to continue helping children and families everywhere live healthier lives.

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