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Michigan Medicine

A Minute with Marschall

The Gift of Gratitude

December 15th, 2021

As hectic as it can be, the holiday season often brings out the best in us. It is a time to pause and reflect on what and to whom we are grateful for. And it gives me the opportunity to tell you how much I value your commitment to our mission, your fortitude and perseverance during the toughest of times, and the tremendous care and compassion you have all exhibited to our patients, their families and each other over this past year. 

As we see the COVID-19 cases continuing to rise, we know the first few months of 2022 are not going to provide much relief. Still, when we manage to look back on this past year with gratitude – remembering those who helped us through the difficult challenges –  we are more likely to look to the future with renewed hope.

As I mentioned in my Power of Hope blog, you can tap into that hope, nurture it and even physically and emotionally benefit from it. Gratitude has similar benefits. Not only does it make you feel better when you contemplate what you are grateful for, you spread that happiness when you share your gratitude with others. Here at Michigan Medicine, we are good at helping each other and sharing our gratitude, as proven by this Little acts make big differences Headlines article.

“Gratitude is good medicine,” according to Robert A. Emmons, Ph.D., author of The Little Book of Gratitude. This isn’t just a popular adage. Clinical trials indicate that practicing gratitude can lower blood pressure, improve immune function and encourage people to engage in more exercise and a better diet. Some studies even show that grateful people are less likely to smoke and abuse alcohol. 

Most importantly, gratitude gives us strength when facing adversity and builds our resilience when we’re confronted with stress or trauma. Clearly, we can all use more gratitude in our environment.

It’s been a tough year, but a productive one. No matter where you work, I appreciate your contribution to our mission to advance health for Michigan and the world. I’m so proud when I see team members who exemplify our core values of Caring, Innovation, Inclusion, Integrity and Teamwork. And I see this happening every day!

I hope your holidays are restful and joyous, and that you find a moment to reflect on what you are grateful for – it will do you some good!

For those working during your holidays, please know how deeply grateful I am to your dedication to our organization and to our patients. 

Holidays can also be stressful at times, so if you are experiencing difficulties, remember we have wellness resources for you, and you may also want to visit the Wellness Week 2021 page on Headlines or view the Winter Wellness Short Takes video.

Have a safe and healthy holiday. Thank you for all you do.

Have a gratitude message you want to share? Use the discussion box below.


  • Dr. Runge – I am thankful for the opportunity to work for Michigan Medicine. I work for the BusinessIT under Michael Ward. I really felt welcomed by you when I watched the New Employee Orientation Video. I am happy to bring my skills and talents to Michigan Medicine. I am mostly grateful because last year at this time I was getting chemo – this year I am cancer free. Thank you for sharing your philosophy – it is encouraging and heart warming to know that we have a conscientious leader. You remind me of the wonderful men of faith that I knew when I attended my Lutheran church and high school in Detroit when I lived here in the 1970s. I am grateful for the privilege of living in Michigan again after 35 years of living in other places (Hawaii, Los Angeles and Washington, DC). Go Michigan and Go Michigan Medicine!!

    • Thank you for sharing your warm gratitude message and congratulations on one year cancer free. I’m glad you have returned to the state and have joined our team, Debra!

  • Gratitude by filmmaker Louie Schwartzberg, music montage created and composed by Gary Malkin, and narration, written and spoken, by Brother David Steindl-Rast is six minutes of heaven. A simple message and so deeply profound at the same time!

    Video link:

  • I’m grateful for leadership who take mental health, wellness, and resilience seriously and back it up with action and resources. Thank you.

  • Gratitude is both humbling and empowering if we take the time to recognize the smallest gift and then share that gift, that perspective with others.
    There is always someone with more and someone with less. Find the balance and be grateful.

    • I agree with you, Becky 100%, and appreciate your wise words on this subject. Thank you for sharing this with all of us.

  • Quietly and in the background, the office workers have continued to provide exceptional support to faculty, students, and administrators. While not front line or considered essential workers, our efforts ensure that those who are can continue to do the job of saving lives knowing that the “other stuff”; that ever present and necessary paperwork is taken care of. As an administrative assistant I’ve been fortunate some would say (I call it blessed) to work primarily from home. I’m thankful beyond measure for the blessing of flexibility that has allowed me to be the best possible wife & mom and co-provider for our home while working remotely to continue to deliver quality support to our front line workers! It has not been easy; no, these have been the most challenging 2 years of my life. Yet I’m here, maintaining a sound mind and with a spirit of gratitude for EVERYTHING in spite of COVID & this pandemic!

    THAT is the power of hope! Knowing that the pandemic isn’t winning, but our strong wills have and will continue to prevail.

    • Linda, I appreciate you, and all those who work behind the scenes to keep things running smoothly for all of us, especially the front line. We can never say this enough. What you do counts! I am also happy to hear that you enjoy your remote experience and that you have persevered through these past two years by leaning on both gratitude and hope.

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