Earlier this week, Jake and Amanda shared their perspectives on how their backgrounds have contributed to the team this year. Today, Dan and May reflect on the knowledge and skills they’ve brought to the table during their time as Health for America fellows.
What did they contribute because of their unique professional and academic backgrounds? How did each of them grow or fill a hole in their experience through their time with Health for America?
With an undergraduate education in biomedical engineering and three years of work experience in consulting, I arrived at the fellowship with a multifaceted background that blended the technical with the financial. My engineering knowledge allowed me to understand how to take our ideas and translate them from the hypothetical into a physical or digital reality. My consulting background was also critical in helping the team see the commercial potential in each of our ideas and develop these potentials through iterative refinement of our business models.
The skill that I developed most over the past year was my ability to manage strategic partnerships. Early on in our implementation phase, we realized that the sustainability of WellRooted could only be achieved through integrating the right partnerships into what we had developed thus far. Through the general business acumen that I brought to the team, I was best positioned to lead this effort and so took the lead on initiating and managing multiple partnerships. Aligning the different perspectives of our commercial partners, clinical partners, organizational leadership, and our internal team in order to collectively move WellRooted towards the best possible outcome has been a fascinating experience that I’ve not only enjoyed, but also learned a great deal through navigating.
I think that the most obvious and evident skill that I brought to the team was design. I have become something like the "resident designer" of this year's Health for America class. I have always been a creative thinker, but my ability to use that creativity in a professional setting was limited until I joined Health for America. I think that the opportunity to think differently paired my background in behavioral health, allowed me with lead and appropriately tailor creative processes such as branding and aspects of our experience design.
In all honestly, it was a skill that I was not aware that I had, but I am glad that I got the chance to explore it and nurture it. This fellowship has allowed me to take a leadership position in designing UX and visual products for all of our ideas. Through reading, Health for America's design curriculum, and contextual experience, I was able to deeply understand and actively practice going through the human centered-design process. Many of the design solutions that I made before the fellowship were based on my "intuition", but now I make design decisions that are based in research and best practices.