Two years ago, when America’s Essential Hospitals looked to the future with work to develop a new brand, it also turned an eye toward the past. We understood the need to document our history, celebrate it, and ensure our new brand carried forward the deep sense of mission we and our members share.

No simple task, of course: We had more than 30 years of history to sort through. That’s a lot of memories and boxes of documents. In summer 2012, communications team members Maya Linson, communications manager, and Sandy Laycox, senior write/editor, dived in. They spent the next two years interviewing founding members and other key figures, gathering historical images and documents, and weaving all into the whole cloth of our association story.

We unveiled the end products of that work this week, at our annual conference, VITAL2014. Where to Turn: The Story of America’s Essential Hospitals, on display in book form and in a documentary screened for the first time June 25, for conference attendees.

As I watched the video, I was struck by how little some things change. The battles in health care policy today that mirror those 20 years ago, during the Clinton-era reform movement. The shortsighted, bottom-line concerns in policymaking that derail the long-term investment we need to ensure the vulnerable have access to quality care.

But lack of change can be a good thing, too: our members’ dedication to mission and community, for example. That’s as strong today as a generation ago. And that’s the real takeaway and what we hope to share with you through this project.

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Where to Turn: The Story of America's Essential Hospitals