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Meet a Regional Leader: Five Questions for Valerie Pracilio

By IHI Open School | Thursday, August 6, 2015
The Open School network is growing — and our Regional Leaders are here to support your Chapter whether you’re a start-up or well-established. 

What do Regional Leaders do? They’re long-time members of the Open School who can help Chapters on a one-to-one basis. Try them out when you have questions about planning events, finding resources in the Open School, connecting with other Chapters in your region, or brainstorming activities for your Chapter.

To highlight the expertise of our Regional Leaders, we’re bringing you the "Meet a Regional Leader" series on this blog. So far, we’ve heard from Jo Inge Myhre, MD, who supports Continental Europe from Oslo, Norway, and Andy Carson-Stevens, MD, who supports the UK and Ireland. Today, we’re featuring Valerie Pracilio, who is one of two Regional Leaders in the Northeast. Contact Valerie at ne.ihi.openschool@gmail.com.


OS: Why did you go into health care?

Valerie: I always saw myself working in the health care industry. During high school, I worked in a few outpatient offices, but the one that left a lasting impression was a physical therapy practice in New Jersey. It was there that I met a woman who was suffering from multiple sclerosis, a disease which seemed to cause her mobility to suffer more and more with each passing week. Eileen was strong, and always brought a positive attitude with her to each session, regardless of the pain she was feeling that day. She was the first patient that I built a relationship with. I looked forward to seeing her each week and hoped that she would gain the strength needed to preserve her mobility. It was the opportunity to build a relationship, participate in her progress, and help her achieve her goals that led me on a path toward a career in health care.

OS: Why does quality improvement matter to you?

Valerie: Health care is founded on an enormous amount of trust that patients place on their health care providers. Patients rely on their providers to listen to what they are feeling, determine if there is a problem, and if so, how to manage it. That is a huge responsibility, and I’ve always felt that there was a role for me to play in helping providers to meet those expectations. Any disruption in health is difficult to understand and accept, but all patients should be able to trust that their provider is giving the best care possible to help them be healthy. By focusing on quality improvement, I can impact the conditions in which patients receive care and providers administer it to make sure the experience is good all around.

OS: What was your best moment with the Open School community?

Valerie: Watching members of the community learn of an experience where quality was poor and it infuriated them to the point where they turned it into a passion for quality. There have been a few of these moments since I got involved.

OS: Tell us something that most people don’t know about you.

Valerie: I have edited two texts and authored eight book chapters, two of which have been with fellow Regional Leader Andy Carson-Stevens. 

OS: What one piece of advice would you give a new Chapter?

Valerie: Take advantage of all the IHI Open School has to offer, especially the connections to like-minded colleagues within your Chapter, Region and across the world. It is an incredible group, and it offers a vast network of colleagues to draw on. Use it to your benefit — you never know who will be your next mentor, colleague, or employment contact.

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