In honor of National Healthcare Quality Week, this month’s staff profile highlights HCIF’s Certified Professional in Healthcare Quality (CPHQ), Susan Cosgrove. Susan has been a member of HCIF’s population health team since joining the organization almost 10 years ago. As Senior Director of Community Impact, she leads our population health team and oversee a portfolio of programs covering health literacy and communication, chronic disease prevention and management, and community health.
How did you learn about HCIF and what prompted you to start working there?
I started at HCIF as a Project Manager in 2013, shortly after completing my Master in Public Affairs. My academic and professional background at that point was in social sciences, health policy, and advocacy. I was in graduate school when the Affordable Care Act was enacted and subsequently challenged in court, and my focus at that time was on its implementation. Joining HCIF drew my focus from federal policy to regional quality improvement and population health initiatives. I welcomed the opportunity to work closely with local partners on meaningful projects.
What has been your most rewarding professional experience thus far? What is your proudest accomplishment during your time at HCIF?
There are two major accomplishments from the past year that I’m incredibly proud of: the growth of our population health team, and expansion of our Cities Changing Diabetes program. In 2022, our team has undergone significant changes including promotions, staff departures, and new hiring. Supporting the growth of our existing staff into new roles, welcoming new staff, and establishing a cohesive and high-functioning team is very rewarding. Some of this growth was made possible through a multi-year funding commitment from Novo Nordisk to support Cities Changing Diabetes activities in Philadelphia. I feel a great sense of pride when we secure resources to expand our programming and engage new partners, especially when it aligns with our staff’s interests or passions.
What excites you most about your position at HCIF? / What is one of the most important things you have learned while working at HCIF?
I’m excited by the prospect of defining HCIF’s role in addressing barriers to health that result in health disparities and inequity. We’re talking a lot about authentic community engagement, proximity to vulnerable communities, and health equity. Like many other organizations, we are trying to identify our role in bringing about a just society and equitable health care system where all can thrive. We know that this can only happen in partnership with others, and I’m excited to think about who we can collaborate with next. If there’s one thing I’ve learned in my time at HCIF, it’s the value of bringing humility and curiosity to collaboration.
What are your long-term career goals?
Overall, I want to continue to hone my leadership abilities, capacity for strategic thinking, and skills as a mentor and supervisor. I love working through challenges as if they were puzzles and working with others to come up with creative solutions; I hope to always be in a role that affords me the opportunity to do so. When I think about policy areas that I would like to touch someday, reproductive justice is at the top of the list. Somewhere down the line, I’d love the opportunity to engage more specifically with this issue and play a role in ensuring that every person has access to high quality, culturally appropriate, full spectrum reproductive health care.
What is a quote that inspires you in your work? / What motivates you both personally and professionally?
The variously attributed quote “Pain is inevitable, suffering is optional” has always resonated with me. Everyone will, at some point, experience a medical crisis of some kind that requires treatment and interaction with the healthcare system. I am motivated by the desire to drive towards a care system that alleviates pain without causing additional suffering or harm, especially for historically marginalized populations. If we can create a system that delivers high quality care for the most vulnerable, everyone will benefit.
Something that you may not know about Susan, is that she has completed two Ironman Triathlons, several marathons, and dozens of half-marathons and shorter races! “Running has always been an important outlet for me to care for my physical and mental health. I have been on an extended hiatus from vigorous exercise for the past few years as we’ve focused on growing our family, but I’m looking forward to returning to it after our third child is born in early 2023.” Feel free to connect with Susan on LinkedIn, linked here!