Who I Am and What I Hope to Achieve


Posted by Jacob Victory

While inaugural game-day outings, presidential swear-ins, or grand openings of the local laundromat tend to have a lot of noise, glamour and “a 15 percent discount on your first five pounds of laundry,” my premier blog post comes with a large dose of humility, a little about who I am and what I hope to achieve with this blog.

 About Me: As a kid, I was the one who batted a home-run but couldn’t catch the ball (the mitt was too tight remains my excuse). As an artist, I paint my portraits to zoom-in on what I think is going on behind the mask of someone’s face. As a person, I believe in merit and in understanding that the ego doesn’t matter. As a professional, I seek to make an impact in serving those who are vulnerable—in other words, those who are rich, poor or like spicy foods, anyone who needs health care, healthy or otherwise, is always in a vulnerable spot. Why am I sharing my thoughts? Well, I want to give you my angle and I remember what is was like to be a student or what it was like early in my career and I’d like to share my thoughts because I’ve learned a thing or two from my experiences that others could benefit from. I also want to open up a discussion so we all can learn more, too.

My Blogging Roadmap: My blog will primarily focus on two areas. First, I write as an NYU-Wagner alum whose goal is to encourage current students and fellow alums to focus on what is relevant, what I consider smart things to do and not do, and how to work with others to chip away at making an impact. I’d like to address the need for mentorship, for reflection, and for relationship building. Also, I think students and alums always need strategies for job hunting or an understanding of how to network and find who may seem to be an elusive mentor.

Second, as a quiet observer of, but an active participant in, the theatrics of health care delivery, outcomes and, these days, reform, I wish to offer the practical viewpoint of what matters, what gets in the way, and what, in my self-exalted viewpoint, we should focus on. I’ll zero in on the need to maintain the viewpoint that “patient care is the only reason we are here” and what is needed to support this view; the need for collaboration between clinicians and “those business folks;” how performance improvement and succession planning must be priorities; as well as what I think the federal, state and local levels need to tackle in order to help health care organizations, clinicians, and administrators make this health care reform work..

Perhaps most importantly, I’m looking for a dialogue with you. If I can stretch your thinking (or make you chuckle), I’ll consider this blog successful. I’m flattered to write and excited to share.

Jacob Victory, an NYU-Wagner alum, is the Vice President of Performance Management Projects at the Visiting Nurse Service of New York. Jacob spends his days getting excited about initiatives that aim to reform and restructure health care.  He’s held strategic planning, clinical operations and performance improvement roles at academic medical centers, in home health care and at medical schools. Jacob also exercises the right side of his brain. Besides drawing flow charts and crunching numbers all day, he makes a mean pot of stew and does abstract paintings, often interpreting faces he finds intriguing.


Introductions


Posted by Kaite Magoon

I thought it appropriate to simply introduce myself for my first blog entry.  It is my hope that my introduction will offer readers some context for my future entries.

A native of Canton, Ohio, I grew up with abstinence-based sex education.  As a result, I knew many people that I believe suffered because of the lack of information and education, which should have been offered at a critical time period in our lives.  It is mainly this first hand experience that has led me to be an outspoken and fierce defender of reproductive health education and options.

In college and directly after, I was lucky enough to do some work with Planned Parenthood as a volunteer, then as an intern on a grant funded by People for the American Way.  This initial work, ranging from stuffing bags of condoms, to actually providing sexual education for court-mandated classes and at a Juvenile Attention Center (this is what we call them in Ohio instead of Juvenile Detention Centers) offered me with valuable insight into the reproductive health world.

I am now a nurse practitioner at The Door Adolescent Community Center.  The Door is a stand-alone clinic (aka not connected or affiliated with a particular hospital) that provides free healthcare to young people ages 12-21.  Unlike many other “free” clinics, The Door offers all services with no cost at all (in fact, we rarely bill insurance to protect the privacy of our patients).  The clinic is mainly funded by Title X, and therefore largely functions as a family planning clinic.  My days are filled with pregnancy prevention and other reproductive care issues such as STD testing and treatment.  We also offer some primary care services, as well as dental and dermatological services.  The entire clinic is set up to serve the needs of adolescents.  We have an on sight pharmacy and dispense all our own medications, and have open access scheduling which means that we do not schedule most appointments more than two days in advance (perfect for adolescents!).

The health clinic itself is a part of a wider center that offers many other services for young people, including a homelessness/runaway program, GED classes, legal services, among other programs.  It is also an LGBTQ safe space and works hard to be a neutral place, free from gang affiliations, bullying, and violence.

In my personal life, I am a daughter of two parents with chronic illnesses, who are each navigating our complex healthcare system to the best of their ability.  Like many people in this country, I have come to understand first-hand the heartbreaking ways in which our system can, and too often does, fail.

From bedside as a patient’s family member, to bedside as a nurse and nurse practitioner, my personal and professional experiences have led me to Wagner, in search of learning more about how to make our healthcare system more effective, equitable, and healing.

I hope you find my musings somewhat thought-provoking and/or entertaining.  I am still a student (as I hope to be for the rest of my life, in an informal capacity), am figuring out my own views and insights, and reserve the right to be a work in progress.  I do not claim to have any answers to the overwhelming problems facing our healthcare system and welcome pushback on any arguments that I may make. I hope you enjoy!

Katie Magoon is a North Canton, Ohio native who currently works as a nurse practitioner at an adolescent community center in Manhattan.  She is an HPAM student, specializing in policy.