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Introducing the Newest Member of the Open School Team

By IHI Open School | Monday, July 27, 2015

Hi, Open School community! My name is Becka DeSmidt, and this summer I started my new role at IHI as Community Manager on the Open School team. I’ve been a big fan of IHI’s work for a long time now, and I’m thrilled to join the organization.

I’m a relatively recent transplant to Cambridge, Massachusetts. I grew up in the lovely San Francisco Bay Area, which didn’t prepare me for the impressively long and harsh winters of the East Coast, to say the least!

Before joining IHI, I spent several years working in health care from the provider perspective — first at the Advisory Board Company in Washington, DC, where I helped hospital leaders develop strategies to grow service lines and plan for clinical technology investments, and then at Partners Healthcare, an integrated health system in Eastern Massachusetts, where I worked on initiatives related to population health management and transitioning from a fee-for-service model to value-based care. It was fascinating to learn so much about the business of health care, but my heart has always been in population health — designing new models of care, investing in the health of communities, tackling social determinants of health, and reforming systems to produce higher quality outcomes.

Now, I’m very excited to make a move to an organization that focuses not only on improving health care systems, but improving health for all. Joining the Open School team gives me the chance to support students in their trajectories toward becoming forces for change in health care, equipped with knowledge of topics like patient safety and the Triple Aim, a strong foundation in quality improvement, and the shared passion that comes from being a part of a huge community of learners.

One of my first priorities as a new member of the Open School team will be the IHI Change Agent Network — including the eight-week course, Leadership and Organizing to Improve Population Health — which will hopefully give me the chance to get to know many of you! 

Other things you should know about me: In my spare time, I love getting outdoors as much as possible — biking, hiking, swimming, running, and so on. I also love baking and, of course, enjoying the finished products.

I’m looking forward to the chance for us to get to know each other through the Open School community and the I-CAN project. Drop me a line any time at bdesmidt[at]ihi.org!

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