In taking this new role, I am most excited about the ability to work with and for patients and families, impacting their care experience and hopefully help improve health outcomes. I can’t think of any more rewarding work! I anticipate that this role will be working shoulder to shoulder with patients and families and other dedicated UM healthcare providers and staff to identify and close gaps between current state and ideal patient care experiences, and to find sustainable ways to continue the amazing work that the PFCC has already undertaken at UMHS.
My family went through an early loss of my youngest brother (7th born). There was a great deal of sorrow hanging when my mom returned from the hospital empty-handed. Though I was only 5 at the time, it made me realize early on that there were not many opportunities to deal with the grief – nor prevention – certainly health systems at that time were not operating holistically. Later into my teen years, I was diagnosed with Lupus. Spending a significant amount of time being shuffled to different doctors and having multiple procedures that were scary, lengthy, and often seemed not to make a difference made an impact on how consideration for the patient experience piece was missing. As I began volunteering and working with patients and families with physical and emotional health conditions early in my career, I realized that there were opportunities to be gained from patient and family engagement – and really focused on creating person centered programs and services.
Anytime people hear a new “buzz word” I think they worry about it being additional work – or a flash in a new way of thinking. But, in the case of Patient and Family Centered Care – it is not an add-on, but instead offers a new way to operate – a new methodology. Of course, collaborative efforts tend to begin by establishing a shared understanding of the problem. Where it can be challenging, is that PFCC requires partnerships and collaboration – and it can be challenging to develop a unified vision for the future as well as an action plan that clearly sets forth, in measurable terms, how that vision can be realized. I expect that will be that will be one of the biggest challenges – building and sustaining the momentum that has been built, and continuing to adapt as the patient and family needs evolve. The other challenge is creating greater awareness as to the importance of PFCC work, and the value it brings not only to patients and families, but to our health system as well. It’s a continual process to make things better for the end users of our system – the patients and their families!
I was drawn to the position because it has the ability to get at what matters most – improving health – in cooperation with the people that we are all aiming to serve – our patients and families. I want my skills to be put to good use, and to make a difference in meaningful ways. I have had a long track record in putting the community and patients at the center of the programs that I have led, and I did this by cultivating partnerships and relationships. I hope to do the same with the UM PFCC – and would consider it a privilege to help the PFCC continue to focus on patient and family centered care – strengthening and growing this work to the point where it is a part of the everyday UMHS culture. I also firmly believe in reaching out to other organizations to share best practices and look for opportunities to spotlight teamwork that is responsive to individual, organization, and patient and community needs. I am thrilled to be a part of the UMHS PFCC team!