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Doctors’ Day is an annual recognition event held on March 30, which celebrates our health care providers – and there is no better year than this one to take a moment to say “thank you” to all physicians and providers for their enormous role in battling the COVID-19 pandemic this past year.

Traditionally, Doctors’ Day is commemorated with thank you notes, treats or small gifts. It began on March 30, 1933, when Eudora Brown Almond, the founder of Doctors’ Day, laid carnations on the graves of deceased physicians to symbolically recognize their contributions.

The wife of an anesthesiologist, she believed doctors deserved more recognition for their hard work. We agree, especially this year when our doctors, and all who work in health care, are answering the call to fight a global pandemic while caring for their patients.

To honor our doctors this year, we can set an example for others to follow. The fastest way to get to the finish line with the pandemic is for everyone to get vaccinated against COVID-19 when they are eligible and to continue to follow safety precautions until the number of cases is greatly reduced. This is also the best way to show your appreciation for doctors and all health care providers.

More COVID-19 vaccine doses are being allocated each week, and we applaud the recent announcement that doses will be available for every American by the end of May.

We are grateful for the ongoing partnerships with our state and local public health organizations to quickly and safely vaccinate eligible patients. Efforts like these remind us that we are all in this together – and we need to take action for the good of the whole.

Another important way to celebrate doctors is to schedule an appointment for an overdue checkup you have been putting off. MercyOne teams are taking every precaution to ensure a safe environment during the pandemic while providing excellent care for our patients.

The past year has been one of stress and anxiety, of heartbreak and loss, of doubt and shifting priorities, of appreciation and hope – including for the amazing and talented physicians and providers who practice at MercyOne across our great state.

For a full year now, doctors have been working tirelessly to meet the needs of our patients with COVID-19, while continuing to care for all of our patients.

As we observe Doctors’ Day on Tuesday, March 30, 2021, it is a great time to say to doctors – and all health care providers – thank you for all you do to help all in need. We are grateful for you!

Bob Ritz, chief executive officer, MercyOne

Kay Takes, president, MercyOne Eastern Iowa

Jack Dusenbery, president, MercyOne Northeast Iowa

Beth Hughes, president, MercyOne Western Iowa

Karl Keeler, president, MercyOne Central Iowa

Rod Schlader, president, MercyOne North Iowa

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