Dear HealthierHere partners, colleagues and friends

It is with deep gratitude and a heavy heart that I say goodbye as I move on from my role as Chief Executive Officer at HealthierHere.

It is hard to believe that just over 5 years ago, we started this incredible journey of building HealthierHere. It has been my incredible honor and privilege to serve as HealthierHere’s founding Executive Director and Chief Executive Officer. This has been one of the most exciting, challenging, educational, and rewarding positions I have held, and I will cherish all of the memories and experiences.

In the first 5 years, HealthierHere has become a thriving organization in the King County region, building a brand of trust, respect, and leadership and living out our values of Equity, Community, Partnership, Innovation, and Results. We have an amazing 27-member, multi-sector Governing Board that is diverse and representative of the many sectors and communities in our region and by the end of this year we will have 26 HealthierHere staff, all committed to advancing equity and eliminating health disparities in King County. We are viewed as a leader in health system transformation and Accountable Communities of Health locally, statewide, and nationally. And most importantly, we are collectively making a difference, improving the health and wellbeing of people and creating a more equitable system for all.

There are too many accomplishments to highlight in this brief note, but I would like to call out a few notable successes. In the past 5 years, HealthierHere:

  • Earned 100% of our pay-for-reporting available resources across all years of the first Medicaid Transformation Project (MTP) waiver
  • Invested over $100 million in system transformation in a manner that centers equity and ensures the resources go to the people and places that need it the most
  • Co-designed Connect2 Community Network, a first of its kind, community owned Community Information Exchange that is setting the bar for the state and across the country. C2C includes a multi-sector advisory group, a growing network of clinical, community, and tribal partners, a foundational infrastructure to protect the privacy and security of clients and partners, and very soon we will have our Unified Network Instructure and our first integration/interoperability complete! CIE is something our community envisioned and requested from the very first planning days in 2017 and today we are testing use cases and creating purpose-built networks to advance care.
  • Centered the voices of community in all our work. This ranged from including and supporting community members to participate in committees and workgroups to resourcing community-based organizations to gather input directly from community members through our Community Listening Project to convening our Community and Consumer Voice Committee and Indigenous Nations Committee who collectively helped create a project equity tool, our HealthierHere Equity Definition and Guidelines, and our HealthierHere Land Acknowledgement and protocol. Building this infrastructure and supporting community capacity allows us to share power and decision making with those most impacted by racism and health disparities.
  • Supported 40+ community behavioral health providers in our region with the transition to integrated managed care and then convened primary care and behavioral health partnerships to tests innovative models of delivering whole person care. Additionally, HealthierHere has established statewide leadership in the planning and implementation of the Washington Integrated Care Assessment tool and process.
  • Expanded access to Traditional Medicines and began work on a sustainability/payment model to maintain accessibility
  • Launched a number of clinical, community, and tribal innovations to advance whole person care, address social determinants of health, and improve health and wellbeing for our communities, especially the Black, Indigenous and other communities of color throughout King County.
  • Were awarded over $5 million in grants and contracts to support HealthierHere and our partners in Covid communications, health literacy, community health worker workforce, CIE, and clinical-community innovations

I want to say a huge thank you to Betsy Lieberman, Esther Lucero, Shelley Cooper-Ashford, and Jeff Sakuma for their ongoing guidance, support, and mentorship as co-chairs of the board. And to all our Governing Board members, current and past. I have learned so much from watching you and observing your leadership. You have always been available to me, for anything I needed, and I remain in awe of the commitment and passion you bring to HealthierHere every day.

I want to thank the HealthierHere staff. They are an incredible team of smart, passionate people who know how to get @#$% done!! Each of them brings a unique perspective, lived experience, and knowledge/expertise that helps HealthierHere be the best organization ever!

And finally, I want to thank all our clinical, community and tribal partners. You have guided us every step of the way, while responding to a pandemic and while continuously innovating and pushing us and the system to be more responsive.

I will miss working with all of you and with this great organization. However, I know I will continue to work with many of you in this region as I take on my next adventure.

Forever Grateful,
Susan

 

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Read about HealthierHere’s leadership transition plan.