Last week we celebrated Veterans Day and Thanksgiving is on Thursday. Among the many things we can be grateful for, it’s important to include our veterans. They have protected our country through thick and thin, wherever the fight might be and whether the wars were popular or not.

We can give thanks in tangible fashion by caring for, as Lincoln put it, “he who has borne the battle, and his widow and his orphan.” In our community, we take care of those who have borne the battle at the Louis Stokes Cleveland VA Medical Center, one of the top VAs in the country.

Our faculty – and residents, staff, and students – work hard to render top-flight care for Cleveland-area veterans and to discover the next generation of treatments for relief of their disabilities. We are particularly strong in studies of antibiotic-resistant bacteria and in rehabilitation strategies for those who have become paralyzed. We work hard on providing top-notch primary care and are in the lead nationally in studies of interprofessional education for this vital patient population. Recently Mimi Singh, MD, became the national lead for the Center of Excellence in Primary Care Education at the Stokes Center, a tribute to the success of our program. The center’s new chief of staff, Brian Cmolik, MD, takes over a great entity and is committed to making it the destination of choice for veterans in our area to receive their care.

We can give thanks, too, for our 175-year heritage in the School. This is what we celebrated on November 1 at our gala: a proud heritage of emphasizing the scientific basis of medicine, of a research-intensive medical school, of inventive curricula, and overall, a culture of great discovery. And very importantly, a heritage of early acceptance of women and minorities in medicine. It is an extraordinary base on which to build our own legacy. We continue to develop innovative curricula and conduct impressive discovery science in cancer, imaging, and neuroscience, among numerous areas. We have increasingly attended to bringing our discoveries to patients. We are systematically setting up the systems to improve health in our community.

I give thanks for our remarkable faculty – researchers, educators, and community experts alike – as well as dedicated staff members who advance our goals every day and outstanding students who will carry on our legacy. I am also thankful for the alumni who have helped to make us who we are and the friends and donors who make our progress possible. Truly we are blessed.

As we prepare to celebrate Thanksgiving and enter the holiday season, may you enjoy the blessings of quiet satisfaction in your accomplishments, gratitude for what has gone before us, and hope in what is to come.

Happy Thanksgiving!