America is in its Golden Hour, and we must act now to heal what is broken.

Join the movement to heal America.

  • What Is House Calls to Heal America
  • Our Shared Purpose
  • About Mike
  • Live the Movement

What Is House Calls to Heal America

There is a term used in surgery called the “golden hour.” It’s the time someone has from the moment they are injured—a car crash, a fall, a shooting—to be treated by a trauma team.

After that their chance of survival diminishes.

Dr. Mike Katz knows a golden hour when he sees it. He believes America is in that golden hour now, and that we have a short time—our golden hour—to heal what is broken. The first step is to restore our ability to debate issues while respecting other points of view. Then we can find common ground to move forward.

Mike had an idea. He would go door to door and listen to people, much as he does as a doctor. This time, though, the conversation would be about how to mend the divisions in our country. In 2018 he created House Calls to Heal America, an initiative to bring civility back to our political system from the ground up.

We can heal America by speaking to each other with respect and civility about the issues that divide us.

Our Shared Purpose

Throughout our history Americans have come together to find the best solutions to the challenges we face. It has not been easy, and at times there have been heated disagreements and profound divisions. Ultimately these committed Americans found a way to break through entrenched divisions and find a new, better way forward.

1776

On July 4, 1776, the revolutionary Continental Congress adopted the Declaration of Independence drafted by Thomas Jefferson.

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness…” 
–Opening paragraph of the Declaration of Independence

1787

Eleven years later, in the summer of 1787, fifty-five men gathered in Philadelphia in the Assembly Room of the Pennsylvania State House (now Independence Hall) to draft the four parchment pages of the original Constitution. There were deep divisions and heated disagreements. But they found a way forward, and the Constitution of the United States was ratified in 1789.

“We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.”
- Preamble to the U.S. Constitution

1861 – 1865

The deepest, most tragic divisions split the young nation apart. The fighting between North and South cost close to a million people their lives—soldiers, civilians, and former slaves—from battle, imprisonment, and disease. It took decades to mend what had been broken.

“—that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain—that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom—and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.”
–From Abraham Lincoln’s Gettysburg address

2019

Once again America is deeply divided. But through House Calls to Heal America we have a chance—and the power and opportunity—to heal the immense pain and brokenness that is so pervasive in our country today. We owe it to the nation’s founders who had the vision for a common purpose, to those who died defending these principles, and to those who will follow in our footsteps.
 

About Mike

Mike Katz has spent thousands of hours in the operating room managing the care of tens of thousands of patients over the course of his career as a surgeon and anesthesiologist. They come from all walks of life, from the tiniest infants to frail centenarians, wealthy to the very poor living under a bridge, and immigrants from CEOs to the woman mopping the floors. They may appear to be starkly different, but they share something more important—their humanity. And when they are facing surgery, they share the fear that they will not see their loved ones again, Mike has been there with a steady hand, explaining the risks and the procedures taken to manage those risks to the patient and their family. He never lost a patient in his 18 years in the operating room.

To Mike, the divisiveness in our country right now is like a cancer eating away at the body of our nation. And to address the critical issues we face, like access to healthcare and climate change, we must come together like the team that gathers in the operating room, guided by the values of honesty and integrity.

Michael S. Katz is a physician, entrepreneur, family man and man of faith. Throughout his life Mike has always looked for ways to help other people—from helping his dad clean offices when he was eight years old to getting legislation passed to allow leftover food from cafeterias and organizations to be donated to the needy in the community instead of being thrown away.

Early Beginnings

Coming from a working-class family Mike saw medicine as the best way he could help others. After graduating from Georgetown University School of Medicine in 1989 Mike moved into pediatric anesthesiology with a fellowship with Harvard Medical School’s Boston Children’s Hospital, followed by clinical and teaching roles at Alfred I. duPont Hospital for Children in Wilmington, Delaware. Mike and his wife, Patricia, started a family and settled into the community.

Anxieties run high with any prospect of surgery, but when it is a child the anxiety of the parents is through the roof. There was a one-year-old girl in the ICU who had a very large mass in her neck that was obstructing her airway. When she was brought into the operating room her throat was practically closed. There was one chance to insert the air tube that would save her life—and it had to be done while she was awake. Her parents were huddled in the waiting area, worried and fearful. When Mike approached and said, “We got it in,” they cried. He didn’t know them before that moment but years later he saw the little girl, who had been given a chance to live.

Making an Impact

After years in the operating room Mike Katz began tackling broader issues that affected patient care. Hospitals—especially operating rooms—can be terribly inefficient. He took on more management roles at DuPont, conducting a series of studies that focused on ways to improve patient care while optimizing hospital resources. In 2000 he received an M.B.A. from Georgetown’s McDonough School of Business. The healthcare industry was undergoing tremendous change at the time, with new technologies and medications offering opportunities to rethink how medical services were delivered.

The following year he took the advantage of these developments and founded an anesthesiology services company as a complement to the newly emerging outpatient surgery centers. Patients love coming to the centers. The waiting room is calmer, they can park outside, and each patient is attended to from the moment they walk in until they head home. Mike built and managed the business, growing it to provide perioperative care to more than 30,000 patients a year.

Public Service

In 2008 Mike won a seat in Delaware’s State Senate, where he worked to root out corruption and make government work for the best interests of the state’s citizens. In the face of stiff opposition, he pushed through his committee a bill to legalize LGBTQ civil unions making Delaware one of first states to pass a civil union bill. Bucking many in power he restructured the Delaware Health Information Network, a searchable database of patient medical records and history, whose administration was rampantly corrupt into a self-sustaining public-private partnership.

When a Delaware pediatrician who had molested children as young as three months old was prosecuted the state legislature went into overdrive to toughen oversight of the state's medical practitioners, Mike provided valuable input as the only physician in the General Assembly and served as the liaison to the medical community. After passing a package of bills, Delaware was ranked first in the nation for comprehensive legal protections for patients, especially children.

Mike negotiated an agreement between Delaware and Pennsylvania that solved a long-standing infrastructure problem, confronted entrenched politicians about conflicts of interest, and irritated those in power so much that he was gerrymandered out of his seat during redistricting.

Near Tragedy

On December 28, 2010, while skiing in Maine with his family, the cable on the chairlift Mike was riding slipped off the track. He plunged to the ground. His daughters, who were in the chair behind him, also fell. He and his daughter Abigail were taken down the mountain in a sled. He thought he had a torn aorta. Lying on the ground he could only think of his family. On the phone with his wife he reported “not doing well,” and instructed her to get the girls to the hospital. He sustained injuries to his spine, a head injury, punctured lung, blood in his chest, and massive bruising all over his body. His daughter Abigail had multiple fractures to her spine; both she and her sister Emily had head injuries. It took three months of healing and rehabilitation before his daughters could return to school. Despite his own injuries Mike was back in the Senate by the third week in January.

Everything Michael Katz has done has been a fight. The fight for his life only made him more thankful for his family and aware that every day is a gift.

Live the Movement

Our goals are simple:

  • Political debate that is respectful, civil, and focused on issues.
  • Candidates who reject divisive tactics and pledge to unify our country.
  • Lawmakers who demonstrate they can work together in a bipartisan, productive fashion.

 

If you agree with these goals, take action now.

Tackling the big issues facing our country begins with us - a public that actively engages with its government. We can't just blame a divisive political system on lawmakers, candidates, and the media. All of us need to do a better job of understanding other points of view.

 

Here's how to get started:

  • Watch/read a variety of news sources with different perspectives to learn more about the issues and opinions that divide, and also unite, our country.
  • Listen respectfully to people who have different views, be mindful to avoid stereotyping, and not use language that is insulting or derogatory.
  • Encourage and support efforts to bring people of different points of view together in our community to have civil and respectful conversations
  • Invite other people to join House Calls to Heal America by helping to connect people across political divisions. (Share Via Social Media)

 

Engage with your neighbors

Invite your neighbors to join you for a conversation about the future of America.  Use a discussion guide to keep the conversation on common ground. For example, ask each other questions like this:

  • What are you most thankful for about living in America?
  • Why do you think our country is so bitterly divided at this time?
  • What can we do to revive civility and find more effective ways to work together?
  • In spite of political differences, what do you think are some of the main things that a majority of people in our country agree on?
  • What can our political candidates do differently?

 

Civility Tools

Use these downloadable discussion tools and guides from the National Institute for Civil Discourse to help you take action to begin Healing America and its divides through respectful and civil conversations.


File One-on-One Discussion Guide

File Small Group Discussion Guide

File Training and Skills Building Guide

File Text, Talk, Revive Civility for Youth

File Text, Talk, Revive Civility for Adults

PDF icon 20 Questions Card Game

PDF icon 20 Questions Game Instructions

PDF icon Sample Invitation to "Setting the Table" Discussion

Image icon Tips to Avoid the Food Fight Infographic

PDF icon Tips to Avoid the Food Fight Infographic 2

PDF icon Setting the Table Agreements A

PDF icon Setting the Table Agreements B

PDF icon Social Media Tips

 

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