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Medical Center’s creative problem-solvers inspire others during Strategy Share 2023

Oct. 31, 2023, 3:24 PM

News about upcoming training for employees on how to recognize and combat microaggression and racism was shared during a panel discussion on these issues that featured experts including, from left, Megan Youngblood, MBA, Mamie Williams, MPH, MSN, FNP-BC, Selena McCoy Carpenter, MEd, and Kristy Sinkfield, MEd. (photo by Susan Urmy)
News about upcoming training for employees on how to recognize and combat microaggression and racism was shared during a panel discussion on these issues that featured experts including, from left, Megan Youngblood, MBA, Mamie Williams, MPH, MSN, FNP-BC, Selena McCoy Carpenter, MEd, and Kristy Sinkfield, MEd. (photo by Susan Urmy)

by Jill Clendening

When Vanderbilt Health employees spot a challenge, they don’t wait for someone else to act. They energize, assemble active task forces and committees, gather data, and develop and execute action plans.

That ingenuity and enterprising spirit took center stage last week at Langford Auditorium during Strategy Share 2023, as more than 30  employees presented their problem-solving and innovative solutions.

Strategy Share — the first was held in 2017 — began as part of an effort to sharpen the Medical Center’s strategic focus, spotlight achievements, and encourage multidisciplinary collaboration. During the events, employees and community partners share how they are advancing the three components of the Medical Center’s Strategic Directions: Making Diversity and Inclusion Intentional, Design for Patients and Families, and Discover, Learn and Share.

“Rather than a fixed strategy that sits on a shelf, we use these three Strategic Directions to continuously shape and refresh our strategies,” said Jeff Balser, MD, PhD, President and CEO of VUMC and Dean of Vanderbilt University School of Medicine. “That’s the key to being nimble. In case you wonder if that’s necessary — over half of the companies in the Fortune 500 in the year 2000 are now extinct. Health care is one of the fastest changing landscapes. Being nimble means survival.”

Balser encouraged attendees to view the day’s presentations through the lens of the Medical Center’s mission of “Making Health Care Personal.”

Following the Strategy Share 2023 presentations, a networking reception was held in the Langford Auditorium lobby to celebrate achievements and encourage further collaboration. (photo by Susan Urmy)
Following the Strategy Share 2023 presentations, a networking reception was held in the Langford Auditorium lobby to celebrate achievements and encourage further collaboration. (photo by Susan Urmy)

“If I could sum up Strategy Share in one word, it would be ‘inspiring’,” said Vice President for VUMC Research David Calkins, PhD, who leads Strategy Share efforts. “Those who talked about the creative ways they’re dealing with challenges and overcoming difficult barriers we face as we strive toward excellence are just amazing. And every time I put together a Strategy Share team, they up the efforts of the previous year. They never fail to deliver, and I’m incredibly proud of them.”

On-stage and video presentations were concisely shared over 90 minutes, followed by an extended networking reception to celebrate the shared achievements and encourage further collaboration.

“The whole point of Strategy Share is to get people thinking about how they can apply ideas that have already proven successful to their own work, and we hope the networking reception gave everyone an opportunity to discuss the details of the strategies they learned,” Calkins said.

An anchor of Strategy Share 2023 was a panel discussion on workplace violence in health care led by VUMC Chief Regulatory Officer and Vice President of Health System Emergency Operations Chad Fitzgerald, JD. Other panel experts were Administrative Director of the Surgery Patient Care Center Corrie Berry, MMHC, BSN, RN; Executive Director of Medical Center Safety and Security with the Vanderbilt University Police Department (VUPD) Charles DeFrance Jr.; and Associate Nursing Officer at Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt Andrea Hughie, MSN, RN, NEA-BC.

Another presentation, “Redefining Antiracism and Microaggression Training Through Collaboration, Content and Real-world Experiences,” shared news about upcoming training to help employees recognize and respond to racism and microaggression.

Experts leading the discussion included Kristy Sinkfield, MEd; associate vice president for Diversity and Inclusion; Mamie Williams, MPH, MSN, FNP-BC, senior director for Nurse Diversity and Inclusion; Selena McCoy Carpenter, MEd, senior Population/Public Health program manager in the Office of Health Equity; and Megan Youngblood, MBA, associate vice president of Vanderbilt Health Services and vice president of Vanderbilt Integrated Partners.

“Microaggressions are those actions and verbal communications which communicate bias, discrimination and stereotyping,” Williams said. “While they may be indirect, they may not be meant to harm, what they communicate are discrimination, bias and lack of concern for others, especially those from marginalized groups.”

Other Strategy Share 2023 topics were:

  • Virtual Nursing: A Virtual Nurse program piloted at 7 Medical Center East (Ventricular Assist Device and Heart Transplant Unit) uses a patient’s in-room television for teleconferences with nurses to complete tasks such as documentation. The program has improved both patient satisfaction and patient throughput.
  • Empowering Efficiency: How a Nurse Redesigned Flow to Increase Revenue: Dilan Stacy, RN, BSN, a nursing resident at the VUMC Medical Weight Loss Clinic, led the development of educational videos about the clinic’s services patients can watch independently. Appointments can then focus on patients’ personalized treatment plans. This has improved efficiency to the point that nearly 100 additional patients could be seen weekly.
  • Embracing Wholeness: Expanding Mental Health to Include Spiritual and Emotional Well-being: Jess Hansen, MDiv, MAT, spiritual director for Vanderbilt Health Affiliated Network (VHAN), shared how a service connects Metro Nashville Public Schools employees with nurses, social workers and chaplains via telehealth to better support their spiritual and emotional health.
  • Breaking Barriers: How a Consult Line Improved Children’s Behavioral Health Access: Meg Benningfield, MD, MSc, division director of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry and VHAN Behavioral Health Consultation Team lead, and Rebecca Sebastian, LCSW, MPH, shared the successes of the VHAN Behavioral Health Line, an innovative consult service connecting pediatric practices throughout Tennessee to resources and knowledge. Lauren Lim, DO, a Tullahoma-based pediatrician, called the service “a godsend.”
  • Coming Home to Yourself: Spiritual Care for LGBTQ+ People: Meredith Cox, MDiv, MA, BCC, is the only full-time chaplain dedicated to serving LGBTQ+ individuals at an academic medical center in the United States. They shared about their work with VUMC’s Vivid Health, a clinic that supports the physical, mental and spiritual well-being of adults of all sexual orientations and gender identities.
  • Breaking Language Barriers: Improving Medication Access for Patients with Limited English Proficiency: Erin Neal, PharmD, MMHC, BCPS, senior director of Population Health Pharmacy Services, discussed innovative approaches to improving medication access for one out of every 10 patients at VUMC who have Limited English Proficiency (LEP). Changes have been made to break down language barriers and better ensure equitable care. Examples include medication labels and instructions printed in the patient’s language and the addition an iPad at a pharmacy site to improve access to Interpreter Services.
  • Reimagining Residency: The GOLLD Project: Ryan Buckley, MD, curriculum lead for the Health System Science and Innovation GOLLD (Goals of Life and Learning Delineated) Project, shared work to address professional identity development in graduate medical education. GOLLD is a partnership between VUMC and the University of Mississippi Medical Center. The group hopes to infuse health equity, leadership and advocacy, and health systems science training into all specialties.
  • Fighting Food Insecurity: A Study at Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt: Cristin Fritz, MD, MPH, assistant professor of Pediatrics and Hospital Medicine; and Justine Stassun, VUMC research coordinator, shared how a team developed a way to screen Monroe Carell patients for food insecurity. Those identified as struggling to access food are provided information on resources in their communities such as food banks.
  • Project ADAM Saves Lives: A Study at Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt: Angel Carter, BSN, RN, NE-BC, shared about Monroe Carell’s Project ADAM (Automated Defibrillators in Adam’s Memory) program which has helped place hundreds of automated external defibrillators (AEDs) in Tennessee schools. Monroe Carell staff train school personnel on emergency preparedness and use of the devices. Aarti Dalal, DO, FACC, FHRS, CEPS-P, associate director of Pediatric Electrophysiology, shared the story of a teen whose life was saved through Project ADAM who then had targeted ablation at Monroe Carell to correct his heart problem.
  • Birth Equity: Paving the Path to a Fair Start: The United States has a high rate of maternal and infant mortality, particularly for persons of color. A team is educating Medical Center staff about factors that contribute to these health inequities and how to mitigate them. The team has also worked to better integrate and welcome doulas — non-medical individuals who provide physical and emotional support — as important members of patient care teams. Doulas are most often used by women of color.
  • Tissue Rehabilitation for Transplants: Caitlin Demarest, MD, PhD, assistant professor of Thoracic Surgery, and Ciara Shaver, MD, PhD, assistant professor of Medicine in the Division of allergy, Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine, gave a presentation on how pigs can be used to rehabilitate lungs that would otherwise be rejected for transplantation. This work could be applied to other organs in the future to “change the landscape for organ rehabilitation and recovery.”

In addition to those who attended Strategy Share 2023 in person this year, 250 individuals viewed the event’s live stream.

Members of VUMC’s Employee Resource Groups introduced the Strategy Share presentations. They included Kelsey Rodgers, FP-C, manager of LifeFlight Ground and Veterans ERG member; Mia Garchitorena-Scancarelli, senior communications specialist for the Department of Biomedical Informatics and Healthcare Alliance of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders member; Pepper Heifner, associate program manager of the Program for LGBTQ Health and PRIDE ERG member; James Liddell III, customer care specialist/clinical informaticist with Health IT and African American ERG member; Ashley Akin, senior talent consultant with Human Resources and Disability ERG member; and Talissa Smith, business process manager for the Surgery Patient Care Center and African American ERG member:

Members of the Strategy Share 2023 Committee are: Lindsay Miller, MSN, associate nursing officer for Adult Ambulatory; Jillian Williams, MBA, committee chair; Vic Sorrell, clinical and translational research coordinator III for the HIV Vaccine Program; and Del Ray Zimmerman, director of the Vanderbilt Program for LGBTQ Health.

The full video of Strategy Share 2023 can be viewed at Members of the VUMC community are encouraged to use these videos in meetings and work going forward.


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