By: Bruce Austin
I attended a Harris Health’s naming of their new executive conference room to honor Harris Health Governing Board member Elvin Franklin, Jr. This was outstanding to listen to the details of the naming ceremony. He had served in a non-paid appointment. He was a successful businessman and had taken every opportunity to advance a much needed medical entity for the poor of Harris County. Mr. Franklin advocated system readiness in the largest county in Texas. He worked to create a public health system that was equipped to meet head on, the challenges faced in the modern medicine.
I soon realized that the general public had no idea of Elvin Franklin’s contributions. It’s great when people take civic responsibility seriously. Thinking of this concept of “civic responsibility,” I found that term to be the active participation in the public life of a community in an informed, committed, and constructive manner, with a focuses on the common good.
This ceremony reminded me of a discussion of former members of the Supreme Court. They were disturbed that millions of American students and adults are unfamiliar with how their government works. In fact O’Connor emphasized that many states around the country are no longer teaching or requiring civics education for young people, young people become adults! How are we preparing future citizens came to mind.
Mr. Franklin took responsibility to better the delivery of health care to those most in need. He took public responsibility. The district’s board affirmed that after his initial appointment, he served with distinction, dedication and commitment for a span of three decades.
He championed Harris Health System’s strategic growth. His imprint is shown in the two well positioned hospitals in Harris County, 18 community health centers, the first in the nation HIV/AIDS treatment facility, same day clinics, homeless shelter clinics, school-based, specialty clinics, a dialysis center, dental center, and mobile immunization and medical outreach program.
The Board took note of his actions in co-founding the Harris County Hospital District Foundation to benefit the Harris County Hospital District and residents. There were other accomplishments mentioned, but his attention to the responsibilities of public service and the common good was greatly emphasized. This was an inspiring ceremony, one that thanked him for his service and should stimulate others to follow a path of dedicated public service for the common good.