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:
Maddy Schwartz, Project Specialist
Years with NICHQ:
How has your background/experiences led you to join a national children’s health organization?
I graduated from Tufts University with a degree in Biology and Community health. During my time at Tufts, I was on the varsity lacrosse team. We partnered with an organization called “Team Impact” that pairs children with chronic health conditions with varsity sports teams. Through this experience, I saw the challenges that families with medically complex health needs face. Combining my love for working with kids and my passion for creating healthy communities, I decided to join the team at NICHQ. I knew that working at an organization like NICHQ would fulfill my desire to help build lasting, equitable change in the children’s health field.
Favorite memory from a NICHQ project:
My favorite part of my experience at NICHQ has been working on the Florida Children’s Medical Services Learning and Action Network. Throughout this project, we’ve been able to work with several hospitals in the state of Florida. I’ve worked closely with a diverse group of health care workers, such as physicians, social workers, and even patients and families. Seeing all these individuals dive headfirst into meaningful quality improvement work has been inspiring. I also have been lucky enough to work with the best NICHQ co-workers on that project (shout-out to Eliza Nelson & Sandra Widland)!
Biggest lesson-learned when working on a quality improvement project:
My team at NICHQ likes to use an Arthur Ashe quote when we approach quality improvement: “Start where you are. Use what you have. Do what you can.” When we share this quote with our stakeholders, they usually let out a deep exhale. By promising teams to “meet them where they are,” we build a culture of support and compassion. By laying this groundwork, we create more space and potential for improvement!
Funniest thing that ever happened on a NICHQ project:
I loved watching Kenn Harris (Sr. Project Director and Engagement Lead) and Isabel Zuckoff (Sr. Project Manager) race to eat apple cider donuts hanging from a string from the ceiling during our Halloween party last year. Oh, and also hoisting Sandra (Sr. Project Manager) up over a fence to identify her old apartment in Georgetown while on a Learning Session trip!
What are you most proud of from your time with NICHQ?
I’m proud of the authentic commitment and work NICHQ is doing to make our own team and our own work more anti-racist and equitable. I’m also really proud of the work my own project teams are doing to include and amplify family and patient voices.
What are your goals for NICHQ’s future?
I hope NICHQ continues to be a fearless leader when it comes to creating lasting, equitable, and bold change in the children’s health field.
NICHQ Employee Spotlight: Danisha Charles
Each month, we’re shining a spotlight on a NICHQ employee, asking them to share their memories, advice, and goals. This month, Madeline D'Onfro, MPH, a project manager on the Hemoglobinopathies National Coordinating Center (HNCC) project shares her passion for creating systems that protect vulnerable members of society. And improving experiences for those with the highest needs.
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!
NICHQ Employee Spotlight: Danisha Charles
Each month, we’re shining a spotlight on a NICHQ employee, asking them to share their memories, advice, and goals. Here, Project Specialist Danisha Charles, MPH shares her passion for children's health and advocating for those with inadequate resources due to systemic inequity.
For our main story in this episode we are joined by Summer 2023 NICHQ Communications & Digital Strategy interns Amalia Hirschhorn-Martinez and Katie McCormick. They speak with members of the NICHQ team about our upcoming webinar focused on infant safe sleep and breastfeeding messaging and NICHQ’s continued work to ensure health professionals and the communities they serve are supported with the necessary tools and resources to create safe sleeping environments and improve breastfeeding and chestfeeding rates.
Continuing Conversations Around Breastfeeding and Safe Sleep Promotion
Join NICHQ for an upcoming webinar “Their stories are so powerful”: Community-based approaches to infant safe sleep and breastfeeding promotion, on Aug. 23. from 2-3:30 PM EST. The webinar will highlight findings from a recent NICHQ-led study titled “Community-Based Approaches to Infant Safe Sleep and Breastfeeding Promotion, a Qualitative Study,” published in BMC Public Health in March.