UR leadership, especially administrators at Strong Memorial Hospital, have had a tough few weeks. Legionella, the bacteria that causes Legionnaire’s Disease, was found in the hospital’s water supply and is known to have sickened four patients at the hospital in recent days and contributed to one patient’s death.

At the same time as the Legionella outbreak, UR announced it was settling a $9 million law suit filed on behalf of hourly employees who claim they were not properly compensated for missed lunch breaks and overtime work.

UR has handled both of these serious challenges in a respectable and responsible manner.

Throughout the Legionella outbreak, the hospital kept the public informed and took incredible steps to reduce the risk of infection among hospital patients whose weakened immune systems leave them especially susceptible to the disease. Regular e-mails to the university community clearly outlined the problem and the steps taken to minimize infection. Such communication efforts showed strong leadership and responsibility, but more importantly helped to clarify facts and eliminate rumors and misinformation that had the potential to seriously damage Strong’s public reputation,

The same holds true for community e-mails announcing the lawsuit settlement with hourly employees. Clear communication about the problem puts everyone on the same page and helps reassure hourly employees that their concerns are being heard and addressed publicly.

Strong leadership during the recent serious challenges was demonstrated by keeping the entire UR community informed, even when the information is potentially threatening to UR’s reputation. Through these efforts, UR minimized any setbacks that could have resulted and gained confidence from both staff and students.

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