New Perspective: Creating Action through an Interdisciplinary Approach

Hello! My name is Emme Veenbaas, and I was HealthConnect One’s Communications Intern this summer, following my first year as a graduate student in the Women’s and Gender Studies program at DePaul University. I had the privilege of speaking with Program Director Jeretha (Jere) McKinley about her experience at the Patient-Centered Design Innovation Summit. Below is a little bit of what I learned from our conversation.

Jeretha McKinley has over thirty years of experience in the field of Public Health and has been with HC One since its beginning. With her vast experience in program management, implementation, and evaluation, Jeretha is viewed as an expert in peer-based community programs.

In early April, Jeretha attended the Patient-Centered Design Innovation Summit in Savannah, GA. Hosted by the Institute on Patient-Centered Design, the Summit was held at the Savannah College of Art & Design (SCAD) under the leadership of Institute Founder and President Tammy Thompson.

While design is not one’s first thought when considering birth equity or HealthConnect One, Jeretha believes that the opportunity to collaborate with a diverse team of people in multiple professions enabled her to rethink the ways in which HC One comes together and creates its calls to action. The constant motion, community-centered focus, and action-oriented tasks of the Summit provided her with fresh perspectives on how everyone can be an advocate when it comes to patient-centered community health, regardless of profession.

Participants in the Summit were placed into diverse teams for the weekend that consisted of patients, advocates, healthcare professionals, and design specialists. Each team was responsible for completing small tasks throughout the weekend and eventually producing a larger patient-centered design to be presented at the end of the Summit with a contest for best overall design.

In addition to gaining new perspectives on collaborative engagement, Jeretha noted that the Summit’s commitment to children and family and its intersection with HC One’s values stood out to her. The practice of involving patients, families, and advocates to ensure quality patient care is community-based, for example, mirroring HC One’s approach to program development. Furthermore, participants in the Summit were encouraged to bring their families, stay in the same hotel and attend meals together, creating a family-friendly environment.

The intentionality behind the planning of the Summit and enacting the process of patient-centered design reminded Jeretha that the process – or HOW we reach our goals – matters. Our process often informs our practice. Therefore, while design is not a service HC One provides, the process and tools used to facilitate patient-centered design complements the work of HC One in meaningful ways

To learn more about the Summit, click here.

To learn more about HealthConnect One’s approach to program development, click here.

Please join us on Facebook or Twitter to share your perspective. Thank you.