Women’s History Month: celebrating colleagues who provide healing in unique ways
At HCA Healthcare, we believe excellence in healthcare starts with a foundation of inclusion, compassion and respect for our patients and each other. Our commitments to our patients include advancing health equity as a system priority and reinforcing our commitment to eliminating health disparities; and ensuring access to services for patients who have limited English proficiency, are deaf or hard of hearing, are blind or have low vision or have service animals.
We also collaborate with leading organizations like the March of Dimes and the American Heart Association that share a commitment to improving health equity in the communities that we serve.
Five health issues impacting women
On March 8 we recognized the International Women’s Day 2023 theme to “#EmbraceEquity.” In honor of that theme, we are shining a light on the diverse and unique health concerns that women face over the course of their lifespans, which may affect their overall health and wellness. As the healthcare industry works to address these key health equity challenges, we encourage you to learn about health conditions impacting women:
- Alzheimer’s Disease. Almost two-thirds of Americans with Alzheimer’s Disease are women. According to the Alzheimer’s Association, of the 6.5 million people age 65 or older with Alzheimer’s Disease in the United States, 4 million are women and 2.5 million are men.
- Bone Health. Of the estimated 10 million Americans with osteoporosis, more than 8 million (or 80%) are women, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Office on Women’s Health.
- Cardiovascular Disease. The No. 1 killer of women each year is cardiovascular disease. According to the American Heart Association, heart disease and stroke cause 1 in 3 deaths among women each year – more than all cancers combined.
- Maternal Health. Black women are three times more likely to die from childbirth than White women, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
- Mental Health. Anxiety disorders are the most common mental disorders in the United States and are more than twice as common in women as in men, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Office on Women’s Health. They also report that women are twice as likely to be diagnosed with depression.
Our stories: advancing health equity
This year, the National Women’s History Alliance choose the theme of “Celebrating Women Who Tell Our Stories” for Women’s History Month. Follow along as we highlight six colleagues across HCA Healthcare who are providing care and advancing health equity in unique ways:
Meg Batson and Ashley McLean
Occupational Therapists, Alaska Regional Hospital
Meg Batson and Ashley McLean serve patients as occupational therapists at HCA Healthcare’s Alaska Regional Hospital. Together, the two have spent 15 years combined providing quality care to patients at the Anchorage, Alaska hospital – including patients from Indigenous communities referred from neighboring medical centers.
In order to honor, respect and deliver culturally competent patient-centered care, they work together with patients to ensure the care not only meets their needs, but also allows for a safe transition back to their community.
“As part of the evaluation, we inquire about the activities they do and most importantly what they want to get back to being able to do,” said Meg. “Patients work on a variety of culturally relevant and subsistence-oriented activities including hauling and stacking wood, gill net mending, getting on and off of an ATV, cooking, and a variety of crafts including beading, sewing and even carving. More complex tasks, such as whalebone carving, may require breaking down the activity into smaller tasks, modified to the patient’s current abilities.”
Speech-Language Pathologist, Lee’s Summit Medical Center
Alissa Potocnik has been with HCA Healthcare for 26 years and serves as a speech language pathologist for Lee’s Summit Medical Center in Missouri.
She was instrumental in developing the facility’s Community Aphasia Group. Her team provides a safe and inclusive environment for people with aphasia – a disorder that results from damage to portions of the brain that are responsible for language. She helps patients improve their communication abilities and provides their loved ones with the resources and support they need.
Adult Oncology Nurse Navigator, HCA Houston Healthcare West
Ezinwanyi Umezurike joined HCA Healthcare 30 years ago as a graduate nurse. Today, Ezinwanyi serves patients at HCA Houston Healthcare West in Texas as an adult oncology nurse navigator. In her role, she strives to give patients access to timely care, addresses barriers they may face and links them to vital resources.
Ezinwanyi shows up for her patients in various ways throughout their cancer journey, including helping patients avoid treatment delays due to financial barriers.
Assistant Vice President, Graduate Medical Education, North Florida Division
Kaydance Hope came to HCA Healthcare last year with 24 years of experience in graduate medical education. She is also a veteran of the U.S. Army, U.S. Army Reserves, Texas Army National Guard and Texas State Guard.
Kaydance continues to help others through her advocacy work with the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs where she is an active member of several panels dedicated to veteran suicide prevention and reducing veteran opioid use in pain management
“Through my experiences in the military, I witnessed the mental health challenges that impact the veteran community,” said Kaydance.
“For female Veterans and current active duty members, the suicide rate, PTSD and other service-related issues in the military are just now being addressed. It’s important to me to be active with these panels because it helps grow a national platform on developing better services for women’s needs.”
Administrative Director of Behavioral Health and Rehab Services, Methodist Hospital Specialty and Transplant
Virginia Aguillon is the administrative director of behavioral health and rehab services for HCA Healthcare affiliate Methodist Hospital | Specialty and Transplant in San Antonio, Texas. For 22 years, Virginia has called HCA Healthcare her home. In her current role, she leads a multi-disciplinary team that ensures patients receive treatment in a setting that is conducive to their individualized needs.
Thank you to our inspiring Women’s History Month colleague features who continue to create healthier, more equitable tomorrows for the communities we serve.
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About HCA Healthcare
HCA Healthcare, one of the nation's leading providers of healthcare services, is comprised of 182 hospitals and more than 2,300 sites of care, in 20 states and the United Kingdom. Our more than 283,000 colleagues are connected by a single purpose — to give patients healthier tomorrows.
As an enterprise, we recognize the significant responsibility we have as a leading healthcare provider within each of the communities we serve, as well as the opportunity we have to improve the lives of the patients for whom we are entrusted to care. Through the compassion, knowledge and skill of our caregivers, and our ability to leverage our scale and innovative capabilities, HCA Healthcare is in a unique position to play a leading role in the transformation of care.