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December 19, 2023 in News & Press, Upward Health, Upward Health News

2023 Reflections from our CEO

Friends of Upward Health, 

With 2023 wrapping up, I would like to share three particular events that stand out to me in looking back over a pretty wild year. Upward Health is a mission-oriented company, and we are trying to have impact across as many underserved patients as possible. Prior to working with us, our patients have often slipped through the cracks of the traditional healthcare system, presenting with difficult but addressable medical and psychosocial conditions requiring more time and focus than regular medical groups are equipped to handle. In particular, we work with patients who suffer from numerous chronic diseases, who are frail or elderly or struggle with serious mental illness or addiction. We bring our care right to these patients, wherever they call home, treating them with respect, and working with them on a longitudinal basis.


Walking the streets of the Tenderloin District in San Francisco with our Care Specialist, Alina…

Michael (not his real name) is currently homeless and has few possessions. His life took a difficult turn through no fault of his own, and he now resides among the thousands of homeless individuals living on the streets of the Tenderloin. He was in physical pain, and we learned he had been in an accident. He shared he was unable to obtain food or medications. I watched Alina spring to action, taking steps to secure Michael’s medications and ensure access to food and other needs during his recovery. I was struck by the hurdles Michael faced in managing his healthcare and how critical Alina was to making sure he had his basic needs covered. After that hour-long visit, we spent a half day visiting other patients throughout the Tenderloin. Seeing the huddled bodies, homelessness, and mental illness – interspersed with human warmth and even the occasional smile confronted me with the scope of the need among the most marginalized in society. I’m still processing what I experienced there, but it makes me count every blessing in my own life and strive to make sure Upward Health stays true to our mission.

Announcing our #7 ranking on the Inc.5000 List of Fastest Growing Private Companies…

What a proud accomplishment for our whole team to celebrate! A few of us have made this list before, but never that high! This growth puts us at #3 in all of healthcare and #1 in our home state of New York. Achieving that growth places above-and-beyond burdens on all employees, both from a change and a workload perspective. At Upward Health, all employees are stock option holders, so I was delighted to share this accolade. We are pretty intense about our unique culture that blends soft-hearted ideals like service to those in need with hard-nosed mandates around producing top performance every day. The result is a family-like atmosphere, and we were able to celebrate this extraordinary achievement together! We’re also proud of many other positive business metrics, including 40% reduction in hospitalization rates; a Net Promoter Score of 86; rising HEDIS and quality scores for our hard-to-reach patients; and dramatic improvements in access to behavioral healthcare. It always seems to me that fast-growth ratings come in recognition of high-quality work.


Helping a growing number of individuals and families through Shoulder to Shoulder…

The Shoulder to Shoulder Foundation (S2S) is a 501(c)(3) charity started by Upward Health. We have an independent board, which I chair, and our mission is to provide one-time support for individuals and families in the communities served by Upward Health. We typically identify pressing needs where $500 to $5,000 can make a huge difference. Over this year, S2S has been able to make housing security deposits, purchase needed furniture, supply winter clothing, keep heat running, and pay for childcare. Among all the recipients this year, both Mary and Jeff (not their real names) really left their mark on me. Mary was about to be evicted by her landlord when S2S became involved. This would be terrifying for any one person, but Mary is a single mother to two children. S2S was able to directly negotiate an arrangement with the landlord to keep this family housed and to ensure Mary could get back on track with successful payments for the future. She was so grateful for our assistance and the ability to stop worrying about her family’s housing arrangement. In Jeff’s case, he was homeless at the time his Care Specialist applied for a S2S grant on his behalf. Jeff was seeking new clothing for upcoming job interviews, which S2S provided. I recently learned that Jeff is now employed and self-sufficient in his own apartment. I’m so proud to be a part of a foundation capable of making these differences.

There were so many more moments like these, and I’m grateful for each of them. I’d genuinely like to thank each of you for your engagement with Upward Health’s work over this year. I’d also like to thank the many of you who have supported Shoulder to Shoulder already – every dollar donated goes directly to the individuals and families we serve.

On behalf of the company, we wish you peace and every blessing during the holiday season and new year.



To donate to Shoulder to Shoulder today, click here.