To honor and celebrate Black History Month, HCIF would like to recognize and amplify the work of Black health care professionals in our region. As such, we had the pleasure of interviewing Joanne Craig, M.S., Chief Impact Officer at the Foundation for Delaware County. Joanne also serves on HCIF’s Board of Directors and offers valuable insight to the Board with her unique experience in health care. Read below to learn more about her and the important work she does.
What drove you to pursue a career in health care?
I came into the healthcare space in more of a supportive role. I developed community-based programming that created supportive resources. I then started working in maternal and child health and discovered that the Black infant mortality rate in Chester City was worse than in third world countries. Black children were dying at an unconscionable rate. I found myself in a position where I was able to work within the community and begin to address the high and disparate rates of Black infant mortality and high Black maternal morality so maternal and birth outcomes could be improved. I have spent the better part of my career working in Delaware County and seen firsthand when people struggle to find and access resources and services. In Delaware County for example, there are a lot of folks that do not speak English as their first language and/or are undocumented. I want to make sure all people know where, how, and when to connect to resources.
What are some of your favorite parts of your role?
I do a lot of work in advocacy and policy to make sure “upstream” changes are made. I love the work to achieve health equity and working with all kinds of folks. I always try to keep an ear close to the ground as I want to amplify, raise, and elevate voices. I enjoy being able to do this work because it’s fulfilling to me when policy changes occur, a health concern gets resolved or people’s needs are met.
What has been the most rewarding part about serving on HCIF’s Board of Directors?
Being in this space with HCIF and having the opportunity to listen and learn. Serving on the HCIF Board of Directors is a great connection to the work that I’m doing. Additionally, being on the other side of health care, I know that I can carry the messages and voices from the folks who are receiving services and make sure those people are represented in Board meetings.
What excites you most about the future of health care?
The opportunities and the possibilities. Health care practitioners recognize that they can only do but so much. Early on, when I was teaching health literacy I used to say that you need to be a partner in your own good health. It’s a collaboration and partnership. The best health care practitioner is one working in partnership with their patient, listening, educating them, and being available to them so they can make informed decisions.
What is a recent memorable experience you have had as a healthcare professional?
Hearing from those that we serve. When I’ve worked with an individual or family, you spend a good length of time with folks. When the child gets older, they may age out of the program. I’m always grateful to have that mom, grandmother, or other family member express their thanks and talk about how they have benefited from the program.
When you’re not busy working to improve the lives of others, what do you like to do?
I’m a trained florist. I love to garden, decorate, and make floral arrangements.