Q: How did you get involved with the work of Better Health and initiatives related to the Aligning Forces for Quality program?
I started out as a sort of typical statistician, and I fell into public health and health systems research because one of the first people who wanted to collaborate with me was Randall D. Cebul, MD, director of the Case Western Reserve University-MetroHealth System Center for Health Care Research and Policy, and later director of Better Health. Randy had a project that he wanted to do and after a while it became clear that he had a lot of interesting projects. When the opportunity to work on AF4Q came about, I was skeptical at first, but it became clear pretty quickly that there was going to be a lot of work that was not what a statistician typically did. In some cases, this work was simpler than what I was used to, in others it was more difficult. It was much harder in the sense that there were far more varied data to wrangle and a lot more political coalition-building to do. It also gave me the opportunity to play more of a leadership role and to carve out a niche that was useful and meaningful.
My local network in Cleveland is now vastly larger than it would be had I not been involved in AF4Q. I’ve gotten better at communicating ideas to people and motivating people to do things. I now have a reputation as someone who can do coalition building. I’ve met and been inspired by people in all parts of health care, from people on the informatics and analysis side to government, health system and provider leaders, and the nurses, doctors, and technicians who are actually gathering data on the ground.