Behind the scenes: change and opportunity

While transitions are rarely easy, the last few months have reminded me of a simple truth: change is always a chance to grow. I could not be more grateful for the commitment, talent, and creativity of our staff and Board in driving HHI’s mission forward during this time, and in finding and seizing opportunities for improvement. Stepping into the Transition Director role and leading through change has been exciting and challenging, and I think it is important to share a peek under the hood. The bottom line is that HHI is strong, nimble, and united around a common vision, and we are clear-eyed with regard to the risks we face.

In March, we co-developed a framework that reinforced the core components of our mission: the empowerment of local health leaders, the strengthening of the primary care system, and the improvement of community and individual health through access, quality of care, and prevention. The framework focuses specifically on ensuring programmatic and financial stability, and was designed to guide us through this period of transition until we welcome a new Executive Director. We have made strategic decisions about where to lean in and where to press pause, and we have been intentional about involving our whole team in the process. A bit about how we have handled these choices:

  1. We decided to focus on maintaining core program activities, assessing current state, clarifying needs, and making quality improvements, rather than prioritizing immediate growth.
  2. We adjusted and even re-designed certain operational, financial, and clinical policies and procedures to meet present needs and realize efficiencies.
  3. We identified strengths, gaps, and areas for improvement in our key programs – Community Health Workers, Chronic Care, Referral, and Sano y Feliz – using a collaborative input gathering process, a thorough review of materials, and objective assessments of performance data (all still on-going).
  4. We analyzed lessons learned from our Diabetes Management & Prevention Project, which concluded successfully in June, and began laying the groundwork for a successful launch of the second phase expansion.
  5. We defined our data collection and analysis needs, and developed plans for strengthening our monitoring and evaluation systems.
  6. We empowered our staff with the tools and trust to make decisions, established professional development plans, and identified training opportunities to enable everyone to step up in their roles and get all hands on deck.
  7. We developed a new fundraising strategy, and got our Board and staff involved in key parts of putting the plans into action.

So, four months later, are our programs and finances stable? Yes, they are, and I am so pleased with how HHI as an organization has handled this transition period and ensured our goals are well on track. None of this would have been possible without the foundation laid by our former Executive Director, nor without the continued trust and commitment to collaboration of our partners at the World Diabetes Foundation, Ministry of Health, National Health Service, and Maternidad Hospital. Most importantly, it would not be possible without the hard work, positivity, open communication, solution orientation, and readiness to collaborate that our staff and Board have demonstrated. I am truly grateful to work alongside these amazing people. Our next Executive Director will be very lucky to step into such a solid team and organization.

At the same time, we have been careful to understand the risks we face. We still have work to do to ensure cash flow is healthy, and that we have secure, long-term sources of revenue. We must make sure we invest time, thoughtfulness, and resources to acting on the opportunities for improvement we have identified in our key programs. We have not yet found the right candidate for the Executive Director role. But, we have strategies in place to address and ameliorate these challenges, and our Board and staff are highly engaged and thinking creatively about our methods and approach. We have made tough choices, and will continue to do our best to find the opportunities that emerge with difficulties, always with HHI’s mission at the forefront.

On a personal note, serving as the de facto interim Executive Director has been wonderful, and also a challenge. Until mid July, I continued my work in US health care policy at Mathematica Policy Research in Boston, and in a few weeks, I will be moving halfway across the country to start a dual masters degree program in Public Health and Social Work at Washington University in St. Louis. I have traveled to Montellano five times this year, and my schedule has been somewhat bizarre. While it’s a lifesaver that running helps keep me physically and mentally well, that I reflexively tend towards optimism, and that my family and friends are always there for me, there are certainly challenges in balancing all of this. But, I believe so strongly in HHI’s mission, in the people that make this organization what it is, and in the power of our values to guide us through times of change. So, to everyone reading this, thank you so much for supporting our work and being part of our community. Whether through donating, advising, volunteering, collaborating, or championing our cause, your involvement makes HHI’s work possible – now as much as ever. We’ll continue to keep you posted as the transition period moves ahead, and please feel free reach out with your questions, comments, and ideas. Gracias, y adelante.

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May 2017 Newsletter

Get to know Francisca and her health improvements, and learn about our recent primary care clinic, and our training for physicians participating in the World Diabetes Foundation project! Our May 2017 Newsletter is available here: http://conta.cc/2r3boAc

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April 2017 Newsletter

Learn about our newest health system strengthening initiative, our collaboration with Maternidad Hospital, and get to know our team! Our April 2017 Newsletter is available here: http://conta.cc/2p4yNk2

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