A New Year Means Exciting Opportunities for #HealthITChicks

Welcome to 2018! We’re over a week in and I’m already glad I didn’t make any formal resolutions. Though the advent of a new year does, for me, mean the opportunity for fresh starts personally and professionally. It also serves as a great springboard for taking my ever-expanding list of ideas for the #healthITchicks community from paper to publication.

Before I get to those, however, I’d like to offer a quick recap of the 3rd Annual #HealthITChicks Holiday Giving Campaign, which concluded on December 31, 2017. Twenty-four donors helped us raise over $1,000 for the women’s programs of Samaritan’s Purse – a faith-based charity I first became familiar with through its Operation Christmas Child program. That money will be used to fund programs for women in Bolivia, Cambodia, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Haiti, Kenya, Iraq, Liberia, Myanmar, Niger, South Sudan, Uganda, Vietnam and the Philippines. Programs will focus on maternal child health, vocational training,  and Bible-based literacy classes. Samaritan’s Purse Community Health Advisor Cindy Uttley is particularly excited about a new program the organization will jump start this year in Nepal. “We hope to connect women with debilitating pelvic organ prolapse with corrective treatment, counseling and support,” she explained. “This is a prime example of responding to the existing and often unique needs that women face.” Check out my recent #healthITchicks interview with Cindy to learn more about the programs, and how you can become involved with Samaritan’s Purse throughout the year.

Those who donated to the giving campaign were offered a spot on the #healthITchicks Outbreak Challenge team. I’m excited to see how we’ll all fare in this six week, app-based fitness challenge. The folks at Fitness Interactive Experience kindly offered us the opportunity to participate in what is typically an employer-based offering. (Check out the Outbreak Challenge along with FIE’s other activity-based competitions here.) I’ll be interested to see how many team members stick with it, not to mention how many zombies we’ll slay!

Now back to my list of ideas …

I’m sure most of you can identify with the happy problem of having a plethora of ideas but not enough time to put them into action. As I previously mentioned, I’ve developed a bad habit of keeping a running list of the amazing things our community could be doing. To keep myself accountable, I thought I would share those that I believe have a good chance of being set in motion in 2018:

  • Invite more voices into the #healthITchicks community from pharma, med device, biotech, and the payer space.
  • Feature inspiring women who embody #healthITchicks values, but work in other industries.
  • Create a #healthITchicks advisory board.
  • File to become a nonprofit.
  • Partner with health IT companies and organizations to offer academic and/or tradeshow scholarships.
  • Develop a “#HealthITChicks-Approved” label for companies and organizations that are making strides in being women-friendly work places.
  • Develop a mentoring-focused section of the website.

I believe the items on this list are entirely doable, but I’ll need your help! Our community is just that – a group of passionate women (and men) who are motivated to make positive changes within our industry. I firmly believe that the #healthITchicks community has helped to bring a number of gender-focused issues to the forefront of the health IT news cycle over the last 12 months, and so we can’t let up on the momentum now! If you’d like to become involved with any of the above, or have additional insights and goals to share, please email me. And, join me for the #healthITchicks tweet chat on Wednesday, January 17 at 1pm ET. I’m selfishly taking the opportunity to host so that I can gain a better understanding of how YOU want this community to evolve over the next 12 months. Together, we’ll make 2018 another fantastic year of “Connecting Women. Doing Good. Giving Back.”

@JennDennard / @healthITchicks

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