In celebration of Public Health Thank You Day, the Health Care Improvement Foundation (HCIF) would like to highlight one of our newest staff members, Sehrish Rashid, for her extraordinary contributions to public health. Sehrish joined HCIF in August 2022 and is a Project Manager for the Population Health Team. In her role, she focuses on Health Literacy, Cities Changing Diabetes, and COACH initiatives. Learn more about Sehrish in this month’s staff profile.
How did you learn about HCIF and what prompted you to start working there? Being a public health graduate, I wanted to pursue a career that is closely related to program monitoring and evaluation. I realized during my initial conversations with the staff that, as a Project Manager, I actually could be a part of the M&E process. I was also told that there would be a possibility of working for health communication. So, both these things truly prompted me to start working at HCIF. And not to forget, the mission, vision, and values of HCIF are also admirable and something that I truly respect.
What has been your most rewarding professional experience thus far? What is your proudest accomplishment during your time at HCIF? I think it’s a little early to talk about my accomplishments at HCIF, since I’ve only been here for a couple months. Yet, if we were to discuss my experience during this time, I feel my proudest accomplishment has been the ability to jump right in the tasks and provide my support wherever it’s needed. I became an active part of the planning team for our Health Literacy Month event from the get go, and everyone supported me tremendously through the process. Together, we all made it a successful event.
What excites you most about your position at HCIF? The fact that HCIF facilitates so many powerful projects is something that truly excites me about my position at HCIF. I’m someone who never hesitates from learning new things, and I feel there’s so much to learn here at the organization. I feel like this position is allowing me to challenge my skills in a number of productive ways.
What is one of the most important things you have learned while working at HCIF? One thing I have learned from HCIF is that it’s important for organizations and leadership to respect and be thoughtful, not only towards its partners, but the staff as well. In my position, I’m learning how to positively model the organizational & professional change that we usually talk about and want to see around us.
What are your long-term career goals? My long-term career goals are related to gaining more experience towards program monitoring and evaluation. I want to be a part of global health projects in the long run, but I also like to have an open mind because the best things have happened to me when I expected the least. If circumstances allow, I’d love to apply for a DrPH program.
What is a quote that inspires you in your work? I don’t think it’s specifically related to work, but in general, the quote that inspires me is that change is the only constant in life. It allows me to keep going regardless of the obstacles and believe that nothing truly lasts forever.
What motivates you both personally and professionally? The ability to be useful for others. I’ve spent enough time thinking about the “meaning” or “purpose” of my life, but at this point, I like to tell myself that it doesn’t have to be anything grand; I can get joy and motivation from all the little things that this world has to offer.
What are your interests outside of work? Outside of work, I like to spend time with my family, friends, and my cat. I also like traveling and being close to nature. I occasionally write poetry in both Urdu and English, and I’m an avid art lover.
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!
In honor of National Health Education Week, this month’s staff profile highlights HCIF’s Certified Health Education Specialist (CHES), Jibreel Clark-Oliver. Jibreel has been a member of HCIF’s population health team since joining the organization more than two years ago. As Project Coordinator, he supports health literacy activities and Novo Nordisk’s Cities Changing Diabetes. He is also an active member of HCIF’s marketing and communications committee, and is currently working to advance HCIF’s internship programs.
1.) How did you learn about HCIF and what prompted you to start working there?
After working in the field of pediatric clinical research and health education, I realized I wanted to make a career shift into project-based public health work. After meeting with the HCIF team, I knew this would be a great place to learn and contribute.
2.) What has been your most rewarding professional experience thus far? What is your proudest accomplishment?
My proudest accomplishment is working to revamp the Pennsylvania Health Literacy Coalition’s (PAHLC) newsletter and marketing strategy. Since the PAHLC marketing team was established, we’ve published six newsletters and written a number of blog posts covering topics like numeracy, health equity, and the fantastic work of our project partners.
3.) What excites you most about your position at HCIF?
I’ve connected with so many incredible public health leaders, advocates, health care professionals, and academics in my role with HCIF. Being able to collaborate with them to improve health communication or work on initiatives addressing chronic disease in Philadelphia is an invaluable experience.
4.) What is one of the most important things you have learned while working at HCIF?
The most important thing I’ve learned at HCIF is that curiosity is key to coalition building, facilitating meaningful conversations, and implementing impactful programming. Understanding no one has all of the answers provides a beautiful opportunity to learn and ask questions that often lead to creative outcomes.
5.) What motivates you both personally and professionally?
I’m motivated by the idea that we all have an obligation to take whatever special talents and skills we have, and use them to help others in need. In my context this means supporting health and public health professionals communicate more effectively, and implementing programs that address chronic disease in historically disinvested communities.
6.) What are your interests outside of work?
I’m currently pursuing my Masters of Public Health degree at the University of North Carolina’s (UNC) Gillings School of Global Public Health. In what little free time I have, I enjoy running, art, playing with my dog Stella, and taking care of my legendary houseplant collection.
Kaynaat Syed recently celebrated her 2nd anniversary with HCIF. She is a Project Manager for many of our hallmark clinical improvement programs, including the Pennsylvania Urologic Regional Collaborative (PURC). Additionally, Kaynaat serves on many of our internal committees including Anti-Racism and Marketing and Communications. The HCIF team enjoys when her office mate-at-home, Ayla, (Kaynaat’s one year old daughter) vocally contributes to our virtual meetings. Get to know Kaynaat better in this month’s staff profile.
1.) Describe your role at HCIF:
I am a Project Manager on the Clinical Improvement Team and have been in this role for two years. I oversee the PURC program and provide support to a few other clinical improvement programs, including Pennsylvania-New Jersey Surgical Opioid Stewardship (PENNJ SOS), Partnership for Patient Care (PPC), and a 2-year initiative with HAP which recently ended called the Opioid Learning Action Network (OLAN). As a project manager, I am responsible for planning, organizing, and directing project tasks and ensuring project deliverables are met on time. A lot of my time is spent on PURC, for which I oversee the clinical data registry, plan for collaborative meetings, manage working groups, and complete data requests for participating practices.
2.) How did you learn about HCIF and what prompted you to start working here?
I learned about HCIF after I completed my graduate degree in Healthcare Administration and was ready to make a career move. I was interested in continuing working in the nonprofit space and learned about this particular role through my participation in the American College of Healthcare Executives (ACHE). I was amazed at all the work HCIF does at the local and state-level in bringing together various health care stakeholders with the purpose of advancing quality of care.
3.) What is your proudest accomplishment during your time at HCIF?
I would say that I am most proud of the Opioid Learning Action Network (OLAN) project that I supported from 2019-2021. This two-year initiative brought together over 100 hospitals and health systems across Pennsylvania to assess evidence-based practices for addressing opioid use disorder. There were a significant number of deliverables for this project and a lot of planning and execution behind each one. I am very proud of the hard work put into this project by myself and my team members and more than anything, appreciate the knowledge I have gained through this work. Looking back, I am amazed at the number of clinicians, patients, partners, and community members that we connected with and brought together to address the opioid epidemic.
4.)What excites you most about your position at HCIF?
The most exciting thing about my position is that no day is like the other. Each day I get to learn something new, whether it be something related to my projects or something I learn from the super smart individuals I get to call my colleagues. Working as part of a small team, there is always an opportunity to get involved in various other projects that serve diverse populations, which keeps my work exciting and interesting. Recently, I joined the population health team in working on a podcast series as part of the PENNJ SOS project. This is something I have very little experience with, but am excited to take on!
5.) What is one of the most important things you have learned while working at HCIF?
One of the most important things I have learned is the value of collaboration-both at the organizational level and in working with different healthcare professions. People’s skill sets are very specialized, and when a group of individuals come together and contribute their expertise for the benefit of a shared objective, it helps with problem-solving and improves efficiency. Specifically in patient safety and quality, collaboration amongst multi-disciplinary teams leads to improved patient care and outcomes. HCIF’s mission is largely based on this type of collaboration and something that I have appreciated during my time here.
6.) What is a quote that inspires you in your work?
“Your talent determines what you can do. Your motivation determines how much you’re willing to do. Your attitude determines how well you do it.” —Lou Holtz
7.) What motivates you both personally and professionally?
On a personal level, happiness is my motivator. I choose things that make me happy, whether that’s food, good company, or Fall weather. On a more professional level, things that motivate me include working well as part of a team, overcoming challenges, learning new things, and coming up with creative ideas to improve something.
8.) What are your interests outside of work?
Outside of work, I enjoy spending time with my husband, my 16-month old daughter, and our dog, Fitz. I also enjoy true-crime podcasts and documentaries, although most of my time is spent chasing a very active toddler!
If you’ve been a long-time partner of HCIF, chances are you know Pam Braun, who has the longest tenure of any other HCIF employee. Joining the organization in 2008, Pam serves as VP of Clinical Improvement. Pam has overseen the growth of our clinical quality and patient safety program portfolio and has led our signature Partnership for Patient Care Program for many years. She also provides leadership for many organizational initiatives, such as staff development and strategic planning. Her warm and calm demeanor in the midst of complex and challenging issues serves her well in her role. Learn more about Pam in this month’s staff profile.
How did you become interested in healthcare quality, and what are you most passionate about within the field?
After being a bedside nurse for many years, I returned to school to earn an MSN. My coursework included classes on healthcare quality. I loved learning about the different theories, principles and approaches. Soon after, I accepted a position as a quality analyst. I’ve worked in healthcare quality and patient safety for over 20 years and never looked back!
What accomplishments are you most proud of from your tenure with HCIF?
I would have to say that I’m most proud of the formation of our regional safe table, a program that HCIF leads in partnership with ECRI PSO. The idea for this program came from our Clinical Advisory Committee members. They wanted to build on the trust and transparency among our region’s patient safety and quality leaders , so recommended a program where these leaders can discuss and learn from actual events of harm, a departure from our traditional topic-specific programs. After many months of planning and gaining support from the region’s hospital attorneys and executives, we launched the program nearly 5 years ago with the hope that enough people would be interested in participating for a 1-year trial period and that participants would be comfortable sharing their experiences and solutions. I’m pleased to say that this program has been far more successful than I thought it would be. I’m honored to continue to support this program and am humbled by the level of expertise and commitment towards patient safety of safe table participants.
How do you apply your nursing experience to the work you do at HCIF?
I have worked many years as a nurse in acute-care and ambulatory care settings both as a direct care provider and as a quality/safety leader. Through this experience, I feel as though I can relate to the numerous challenges that providers/administrators face, appreciate all of the competing priorities that organizations undertake, and can help develop realistic and effective improvement strategies to implement. When I work with individual teams on improvement efforts, it also works to my advantage that I am viewed as a peer.
You’ve been with HCIF longer than any other current employee – how has the organization evolved over time?
When I started at HCIF 13 years ago, I was one of four employees and we supported 2 major programs. We now have eleven employees and have supported MANY programs. The focus of our work has expanded from Quality/Patient Safety to include population/community health. We’ve also expanded our regional work to include participants across Pennsylvania and into New Jersey. It’s been very exciting to be involved in HCIF’s growth!
What are some of your personal interests?
I’m a parent of 3 daughters, 20 y.o., 18 y.o and 15 y.o. My 18 y.o daughter has Trisomy 21 and Autism, so my husband and I like to get involved in school and community activities that promote awareness and inclusion of people with special needs such as the Special Olympics, Buddy Walks, and Best Buddies. I’m always inspired by the abilities and strengths of these amazing individuals!