Patricia Isherwood and Meredith Sullivan

Two Bayhealth Staff Members Work to Find Solutions for Healthcare Challenges in the Community

Tuesday, June 27, 2023 | Community Outreach

For many years, Patricia Isherwood, FACHE, CLSSGB, and Meredith Sullivan, MS, CCC-SLP, FACHE, MBA, have been making a difference in healthcare — both in their professional roles and by bringing together leaders from diverse healthcare backgrounds to help foster learning and partnerships.

Currently chair and vice chair, respectively, of the Local Program Council (LPC) of the Health Leadership Network of the Delaware Valley (affiliated with the American College of Healthcare Executives [ACHE]), they spearhead speaking events that address healthcare challenges faced in the state of Delaware.

“Bringing different hospitals and organizations together helps us learn from each other and create partnerships across networks,” said Isherwood, who is senior manager of operations, Oncology Service Line at Bayhealth. “This is particularly important and valuable in a small state.”

Most recently, Isherwood and Sullivan organized a program focused on the topic “Equity of Care.” Based on guidelines from ACHE, and thoughtfully combined with another ACHE-related event that featured a speaker on diversity, the event at University of Delaware featured panelists from three healthcare systems (including Bayhealth) and covered a wide range of content and perspectives. Speakers shared information including: details on the Joint Commission Equity of Care policy requirements; insight on how a primary care doctor is teaching residents about Equity of Care; a case study detailing how, during the height of the Covid-19 pandemic, a minority group in a city was underserved; and the training approach a doctor uses to increase providers’ sensitivity to the LGBTQ+ community.

No strangers to extracurricular leadership roles — they’re both on Bayhealth’s Leadership Development Planning Team — Isherwood and Sullivan were thrilled to see the outcome of the event.
“Diversity in healthcare — it is such a large topic!” said Sullivan, who is Rehabilitation Services manager, Speech Pathology at Bayhealth. “I’m glad that we had a chance to open up the conversation and create some connections that would never have happened without this program.”

She noted that the speakers didn’t know each other and were excited to meet at the event.

“After the session was over, I saw them interacting with each other saying things like ‘Please call me. I want to talk to you about that. I want you to come speak to my doctors,’” Sullivan said. “They really made a connection with each other and that’s exactly what we were trying to do.”

“It was so rewarding,” said Isherwood, who posted about her enthusiasm on LinkedIn. “Meredith and I could see during the event that things were going really well. The topic was well received and the speakers were well received, too. Before the event was over, we could already anticipate positive feedback.”

Isherwood added that what she and Sullivan are most excited about is the great things that are going to happen because these speakers now know each other.

“A domino effect of connections will occur now,” she said. “The beauty is we’re a small state. Sometimes that’s good, sometimes not so good. [In our roles on the LPC], we have the ability to help drive change through connections, and the Equity of Care event was an example of that.”

“My gut tells me that those five individuals will have conversations we’ll never know about, and patients and communities will benefit from that,” Isherwood added.

Soon, more work will begin as Isherwood and Sullivan plan the next face-to-face, credit-eligible program to take place this fall. Attendees can be assured of a worthwhile learning experience.

“I personally try to select speaker topics that [lead to learning] people can walk away with and apply the next day,” said Isherwood.

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