Executive Director's March 2024 Message

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March always holds a special place in my heart. It’s Women’s History Month, and I reflect on all the women who have paved the way for me. Lately, I’ve been thinking a lot about my mother, who, in addition to raising eight kids and running our family’s veterinary business, was also a talented artist who loved writing musicals for our local high school. Her mother, my grandmother, was a nurse who cared for the sick during the Spanish Flu or  The Great Influenza. Grandma was also an amazing baker. We still use her dinner roll recipe for our Thanksgiving dinners to this day.

There weren’t a lot of career options for women when I started school, so I only had two criteria: 1.) I could afford to pay for my education with the limited money my dad left for me, and 2.) I wanted to be able to work anywhere. I became a nurse to discover who I was outside of my family’s identity.   

I never imagined I would lead a department like the San Francisco Health Service System (SFHSS) in a city as large as San Francisco. That’s the funny thing about change; it’s constant, and you can seize the moment or you can let opportunities pass you by. Case in point: I think about my colleague, Carmen Chu, the first Asian-American woman to serve as a City Administrator or Mayor London Breed, who is the first African-American woman to be elected Mayor of San Francisco. They didn’t have a career path paved for them; they had to forge their own path.

Today, there are so many opportunities for women that didn’t exist even just a few years ago. You don’t have to look far for trailblazing women because chances are good you already know a few in your own circle. I’m excited for the next generation of women who will take the helm and lead us to a better future. We have several rising stars at HSS, including the team who put together our new Sleep For Better Health campaign. In our last Well-Being survey, sleep was the second most popular topic, and our members wanted more resources to help them.

Supporting your Mental Health and Well-Being is one of our five strategic goals. Getting good sleep is critical for our bodies to heal so we can take on the challenges of a new day. To learn more about how you can Sleep for Better Health, join our program in March. You can learn about How Sleep Works, take a Sleep Assessment, join a 4-week program to build Healthy Sleep Habits, or work with a Lifestyle Coach one-on-one to improve your sleep.

Join our Sleep Campaign in March. With better sleep, you might find yourself forging your own path forward.  

Be well,

Abbie Yant, RN, MA