Executive Director at Kentucky Voices for Health
Education: Studied nonprofit management as an undergraduate at Indiana University and received my master’s in public health from University of Illinois at Chicago.
Hobbies: Hiking, reading, cooking and traveling.
What was your first job in healthcare? What did you take away from that job that you use today?
My first job in healthcare was with Family Health Centers in Louisville. I actually moved to Louisville after college to participate in a program called Louisville Urban Corps, which is similar to Americorps. I started out at Family Health Centers’ Phoenix Healthcare for the Homeless site and developed a program to get medications to patients experiencing homelessness at no cost. I can’t think of a better place to learn about health equity and how our health is impacted by a complex web of social and economic factors that can’t be healed by medicine alone. That experience sparked my passion for public health.
How do you approach management and leadership at Kentucky Voices for Health (KVH)?
Leading a coalition is a lot different than leading a single organization. I strive to work as a partner with KVH’s member organizations while at the same time facilitating our shared goals and initiatives.
As a leader, we all face many challenges. What challenges do you face in your role that are unique because you work in healthcare?
We all operate in a world of unknowns and that’s not unique to healthcare. But stepping into this role as we are faced with an uncertain future for kynect and Medicaid expansion has been a real challenge. But we wouldn’t need a coalition like KVH if the challenges to Kentucky’s health were easy to solve. I feel like I’m in the right place at a very difficult time.
What opportunities do you see for Kentucky Voices for Health in 2016? Challenges?
Without a doubt, access to care is going to be the biggest challenge we face in 2016. But with that comes a real opportunity for legislators, business leaders, providers, consumers and advocates to come together and work with the new Administration to develop a solution that’s right for Kentucky. I want to be sure we get that opportunity.
If you could eliminate one of the healthcare industry’s problems overnight, which would it be?
Silos that separate the body, mind, mouth and eyes into completely different systems of care. We need regulations, licensure and payment models that encourage integrated care so we can start treating the whole person again.
Where do you do your best thinking?
When I’m talking it out. I get very little done in my head.
What was the most significant event/development at Kentucky Voices for Health in 2015?
My start date! I came on board August 31st and every day has been a significant development.
How do you revitalize yourself?
Playing with my dog, Frodo.
What’s one piece of advice you remember most clearly?
I recently asked my former boss for some words of wisdom and I’ll always remember what he said to me, “You have taken charge of the voices of the folks served by the ACA at a very challenging time! We have been in the struggle for universal coverage and access for a long time. Occasionally we hit walls, but we always seem to have a net gain even after the set-backs. So don’t let people get you down and always look forward with hope.”