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Dr. David Brailer was the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology from 2004-2006. I had the privilege of getting to know him during this time--mostly by bothering him about coming to work for him at the newly created Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT (ONC). We had great conversations about the possibilities, but the reality of it was that he didn't have a budget or an office and I couldn't afford to move my family from Connecticut to DC without a little more confidence that this would be an enduring venture. Instead, I was able to talk Pfizer into moving me to DC, where I continued to hover around the ONC, focusing on policies and standards for getting our health information into electronic form and enabling health information interoperability.

After two years, Dr. Brailer was ready to move back into a more private life. One of his staff members asked if I would write a song for him for a party they were throwing for him back home in San Francisco. Initially, they were wanting to do a roast and wanted something humorous, but we eventually settled on something a little more meaningful.

The result is "One Voice." It's about David, but it's also for anyone who sees a calling and makes a difference by challenging the status quo without the advantage of having authority over people or significant resources.

One Voice

They raised their glasses to the one
Who was heading far from home
From his love, from his son
Like many warriors before
He was called to leave his comforts
In pursuit of something more

He saw the goal
He made his choice
So armed with nothing
Save his vision and his voice
He set out to seek a plan
To heal this broken land
As he traveled many roads
He saw people full of doubt
Burdened down with heavy loads
He painted pictures on the way
Of the people of this land
Living better than today

You see the goal
Now make a choice
It comes to nothing
Without your vision and your voice
Join together in this plan
To heal our broken land

And though the battle had just barely begun
He knew the war was already won
For he saw from across this frame
As far as sight could reach
A thousand ready warriors
All standing in the breech
Saying -

We see the goal
We've made the choice
We have the power
Of one vision and one voice
We'll stand together in this plan
To become a healing hand
For the healing of our land

We raise our glasses to the one
Who is heading back home
To his love and to his son

2006 Ross D. Martin, MD, MHA
5 May 2006

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