NICHQ Employee Spotlight:
In celebration of over 20 years improving health outcomes for children, we're sharing insights, memories and goals from the NICHQ team.
Full Name and Title
Kelly Edwards, Project Manager
Time with NICHQ:
How has your background/experiences led you to join a national children’s health organization?
NICHQ’s mission and projects are a wonderful combination of my passions and background. I received my bachelor’s degree in Neuroscience and Cognitive science from the University of Arizona (Go Wildcats!) where I focused on the science of development and aging. During this time, I was introduced to the remarkable idea of health being directly linked to early childhood experiences during the critical period of development. I then attended Boston University to gain a Master’s in Public Health where I learned how changes in arguably every sector (health care, housing, education, environment) can have a direct impact on the health of individuals. While attending Boston University, I interned at a variety of organizations, all linked to maternal and child health, reaffirming my passion for this field. Now, as a Project Manager at NICHQ, I am fortunate to work on two early childhood (ages 0-3) projects helping states and communities across the country improve health outcomes for children by working within these sectors. I am proud to say I work at an organization that strives to continue learning and developing as our society learns more and more about best practices and improvements that can be made in order to improve children’s health.
Favorite moment on a NICHQ project:
One of my favorite memories from working at NICHQ was very early on. During one of my first weeks at work, I assisted with a large meeting for the Pediatrics Supporting Parents (PSP) project. During the meeting, the 18 pediatric practices we work with were invited to share the various changes they had been testing within their practices to promote children’s social and emotional development. As a brand-new member of the project, I was blown away hearing how excited and passionate the pediatricians were. Each practice shared how they were connecting with families, improving referrals, and increasing screening for children and mothers in their community. Just by listening to them, I could hear the impact that our project was starting to have. That passion has remained as I’ve continued to work on PSP and reminds me of the necessity of this work.
Biggest lesson-learned when working on a quality improvement project:
Remembering to start small. Making and perfecting small changes will allow for the larger changes down the line to be more impactful. As someone who has many dreams and is passionate about improving children’s health, I find myself wanting to jump into the bigger changes right away. However, working in quality improvement has taught me to start small, and in fact, fail small. Failing is a part of life and learning, and no change will be perfect initially. Starting small and making changes that can be adapted and improved before spreading will more likely produce the positive impact we want.
Funniest thing that ever happened on a NICHQ project:
While working on the Early Childhood Comprehensive Systems Collaborative Innovation and Improvement Network (ECCS CoIIN) project, we held a three day in-person meeting in Atlanta for our 12 state teams to action plan for the next phase of the project. While in Atlanta, it was very apparent how passionate every ECCS CoIIN member is about early childhood systems building. It also became very apparent how passionate we are about good seafood. The last night of the meeting, our ECCS CoIIN team went out to dinner and found ourselves in a friendly competition of “Who can eat the most seafood?” when literal buckets of seafood were served to us. After many laughs, I’m very proud to say I came in 3rd place! Having the opportunity to bond and make memories with the many wonderful individuals who work on this project is something I am very grateful for and will not soon forget!
What are you most proud of from your time with NICHQ?
I am most proud of being a part of NICHQ’s equity team, working towards making sure NICHQ as an organization and each of our projects directly address racial equity. I am proud to work for an organization that recognizes the importance of addressing racial equity and is committed to doing so.
What are your goals for NICHQ’s future?
My goal is for NICHQ to continue to be a leader in quality improvement while working hard to be equitable in our work to improve the quality of children’s health across the country. I want NICHQ to continue learning and improving as an organization while addressing racial disparities and inequity in communities. I hope that NICHQ plays a major role in closing the current gaps in health care and health outcomes.
Preparing Children with Special Healthcare Needs for Transition of Care
Transitioning from pediatric to adult care can be challenging for any young person, but those challenges are often amplified for children with special healthcare needs. Two young adults with complex medical conditions share their experience with transitioning from pediatric to adult care.
NICHQ Employee Spotlight: Nathaniel Ray Pickett, Ph.D.
Each month, we’re shining a spotlight on a NICHQ employee, asking them to share their memories, advice, and goals. This month, NICHQ Web & Product Manager Nathanial Ray Pickett, Ph.D., shares his untraditional path to working in MCH, while highlighting his passion for equity, resisting oppression, and giving voice to the voiceless.
TRANSCRIPT | Connecting Infant and Maternal Health Outcomes – Prematurity Awareness Month
Our main story this episode highlights he links between maternal and infant health, and the impacts of preterm birth on health outcomes for mothers, birthing people, and babies. Hear from NICHQ VP of Equity and Innovation Dr. Stacy Scott, Ph.D. D, MPA, who shares some equity considerations regarding disparate rates of preterm birth, infant mortality, and maternal mortality. Dr. Zsakeba Henderson, MD, FACOG, NICHQ’s senior health advisor, also connects the impact of maternal health on infant health outcomes while shining a light on the U.S. maternal mortality crisis and current policy initiatives that can help reverse maternal mortality trends.
NICHQ Employee Spotlight: Callie Rowland
Each month, we’re shining a spotlight on a NICHQ employee, asking them to share their memories, advice, and goals. This month, NICHQ Project Manager Callie Rowland, MPH, shares her passion for working to affect change in the system, serving all mothers and children, and working for an organization that aims to help create more equitable systems.
4 Strategies for Transitioning from Pediatric to Adult Care for People Living with Sickle Cell Disease
Whether transitioning to college or a full-time job, it's a time when young adults are going to be establishing their independence from their nuclear family and taking responsibility for their own needs. For a young person with special healthcare needs such as SCD, the responsibilities are compounded by the additional need to begin transitioning from pediatric to adult care. Read more for four helpful strategies for transitioning from pediatric to adult care for people living with sickle cell disease and other special health conditions.
TRANSCRIPT | Sickle Cell Awareness Month: Transitioning to College, Equity Considerations, and Resource Sharing
Our main story this episode highlights the need for resources for people living with sickle cell disease and strategies for transitioning from pediatric to adult care. We also reflect on National Infant Mortality Awareness Month and hear from NICHQ team member about connecting their personal and professional passion for equity. Thanks for joining us!