"We are the Gallery that walks. We are the Patients that wear our stories on our backs."
When I first got hired by Galen, I can remember being asked about my career shift – would I miss Social Work? The person interviewing me acknowledged that the work must be both challenging and rewarding in a way that might be different from working in Health IT. I can remember the conversation as if it was yesterday. I talked about my father’s experience with cancer and how the availability of health information impacted his care, and how I wanted to help make those systems better. I thought maybe once I got a handle on things I might join the board of a non-profit, or volunteer, if I wanted hands on work, but I was confident with my choice.
As I reflect back on this conversation it occurs to me that I am exactly where I want to be. Every day I work with passionate people and imperfect systems. I see opportunities for continual improvement in so many areas, it makes me energized to keep going. As I walk through hospital hallways and clinic waiting rooms, I am ever attentive. I carry with me the story of my father, my sister, and even myself. I am continually looking at the relationship of people to systems and how we can move forward to improve the healthcare systems that support the very important work we all do together – patients, doctors, nurses, researchers, payers, and those of us that create and support the tools that they use. It is because of this that I felt compelled to join The Walking Gallery of Healthcare.
I was honored to have my jacket painted by my friend Melody Smith Jones, who brought me to tears when she presented the jacket to me and said, “I heard you tell your story and talk about how you are always connecting the dots between the stories of your family and what you are doing with your work.”
It is such an honor to be a part of this group and to be able to have a visual representation of my story: what I carry with me when I am in the Health IT space. My drive and motivation were recharged from both receiving the jacket and attending the Walking Gallery gathering. I am going to keep connecting these dots, and the others I pick up along the way, as I continually work to improve healthcare.
So, do I miss Social Work? Not really. I am doing really important work right here.