Our mission at Medic is to advance health and human flourishing with and for the hardest-to-reach communities. Alongside our partners, we build and deploy software that helps health workers deliver equitable care in reimagined health systems. Our global team lives in 30 cities, speaks more than a dozen languages and covers all the time zones. We serve as stewards of the Community Health Toolkit, an open-source project, and software that supports more than 26,000 health workers delivering care and services, door-to-door, through one million home visits each month.
Last month, we formalized a list of core values at Medic. We have been hesitant to codify values with a series of standalone words – perhaps more honestly, I have been hesitant! I continue to believe that culture is continually established by what we do, how we treat one another, and stories about our decisions and actions, both big and small. I was struggling to see what an abstract values statement would add.
I’m glad that a few things changed my mind. First, the research for this project became an opportunity to gather stories from across our community which are broader and richer than the set of experiences I was able to draw on before this proactive exercise. Both the process and results were important, and I would be delighted to see more stories that relate to and strengthen these values. Second, answering the question, “What do we value?” helped unblock me personally, by reframing a potentially abstract “values statement” in reference to how we take action and reveal what matters to us. Third, it is practically helpful to have specific words to reference when we’re working quickly and asynchronously, often in writing, across continents.
With this post, we wanted to share these values publicly. Our hope is that our community – including patients, health workers, and partners – will hold us accountable.
- We value Humanity. Our approach is human-centered everything, seeking to assert, elevate, and celebrate our shared humanity.
- We value Creativity. We seek to bring the right and necessary things into existence. As a community, we imagine what should be – with the goal of creating a more just world.
- We value Initiative. We are self-motivated to take action and recognize that proactive effort adds up and advances our mission. This work requires constant learning.
- We value Solidarity. We are building equitable health systems with a community, within a movement. We stand by one another, our partners, and the communities we serve.
- And finally, we value Openness. We commit to sharing helpful things, staying open to new ideas, and communicating honestly and thoughtfully.
I believe there’s a secret fuel in the unspoken and often under-appreciated way that our community practices these values. In the face of great challenges and daunting odds, embracing a shared sense of why we show up to this work has proven to be a surprisingly bountiful resource. I know that our short, formal list of organizational values can’t capture or contain the complexity, nuance, or grit with which we show what we value. However good the systems–and we are in a stage of growth that requires us to invest in systems–at the end of the day, it’s the people who make the work, work, even and especially when it’s really hard. Nevertheless, as an initial skeptic of this process, I’m happy to say that I’ve benefited greatly from the effort, enough so that I’d like to keep the conversation going. Thank you for showing up, and for offering me the opportunity to talk about humanity, creativity, initiative, solidarity and openness.