Be a Second Responder

Richard Citrin Ph.D., MBA
Richard Citrin Ph.D., MBA

Back in February I wrote about the car accident I was in when someone broadsided and totaled my car. I mentioned about how quickly the police and fire fighters were on the scene and how they checked me out for any physical damage. While not having any physical hurt, I was very upset about the accident and as I became frustrated, one of the officers screamed at me to “relax and calm down.” I knew that his approach was not going to work, and it was not until one of his supervisors came over and politely asked me, “how he could help?” that I began to feel as if things would get taken care of properly.

First responders are magnificent at saving lives and ensuring that people receive the emergency care they may require.

Second responders help people put their lives back together again.

It is clear that 2020 is going to unrelenting in its stress as we face a surge in the Pandemic and a Presidential election unlike any others in recent history. How can we all as second responders help each other to navigate these uncertain waters?

One of the tenets of Alcoholics Anonymous is to “suit up and show up,” meaning that while you may not know exactly what you have to do to start one’s sobriety, the recommendation is to just keep coming to meetings and one will  figure it out.

It’s a bit of the same strategy for being a second responder which means that we want to be around and available for people. Check in with family members and make sure they are safe. Reach out to neighbors and see what they need. Take time from your meetings to check in with your colleagues about how they and their family are doing and see how that can turn people’s day around

The simple ask of “how can I help?” gives each of us the badge of a second responder.



  • I shared my latest ideas on resilience including this concept of Second Responders with over 150 global consultants this morning. Folks from Europe, Asia and Australia as well as the United States were in on the Webinar. I had to start off by saying, Good morning, Good afternoon, Good evening!

The Leadership Café
We released 2 amazing interviews last week

  • Jessica Brooks is head of the Pittsburgh Business Group on Health and the founder of the healthcare start up Health Desk. Jessica discuss the impact of our health care systems of communities of color and what she is doing to address issues of health disparity.
  • Marvin Ferguson is a triple threat splitting his work as as a Pharmacy Manger of Clinical Operations, founder of nonprofits such as ‘Let’s Get Healthy Cleveland,’ and has recently started his own radio show “Ask the Pharmacist.” 

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