Full name and title
Pat Heinrich, RN, MSN, CLE, NICHQ Executive Project Director
Years with NICHQ
What is your favorite memory from a NICHQ project?
My favorite memory was from our very first asthma quality improvement (QI) project: Helping Improve Pediatric Practice Outcomes (HIPPO).
I went to a local inner-city health center and told them that the new National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute guidelines suggested all families be given an “Asthma Management Plan” (AMP). The team insisted their patients would not find them useful, but I told them it was a new job for me and I begged them to test with five patients. They predicted they’d find them in the trash outside the clinic. Two weeks later, at our next meeting, they showed me five food/garbage stained AMPs they dug out of the trash...
It was a perfect example of quality improvement at work. We worked with them and ultimately we designed a tool the families found useful (the HIPPO AMP).
"Pat is the ultimate team player. She is always willing to jump in and help all team members. No task or job is beneath her if it is for the benefit of the project."
NICHQ Senior Project Manager, Leah Jardine, MA.
Please share your biggest lesson-learned when working on a quality improvement project.
This is hard work. It takes, “will, ideas, and execution,” so we need to be patient and include patients and families on our QI teams to help the clinical team know what is really important.
What was the funniest thing that ever happened on a NICHQ project?
Funniest thing that happened was from an event, not a project. The NICHQ Annual Forum back in 2006 was scheduled at a hotel in Florida and, after all the contracts were signed, the hotel informed us that there would also be a convention of “Pure Romance” in the hotel with our group. Our CEO at the time, and one of NICHQ's founders, Charlie Homer, was a very serious leader, so we didn’t tell him until he arrived.
What are you most proud of from your time with NICHQ?
The 20 years of effort to improve children’s health care and population health. I am really proud of the colleagues I work with – their passion for improving children’s health and commitment to our mission are the reason we are able to be successful in transforming care for children and families
What are your goals for NICHQ’s future?
1) I want, more than anything else, to see NICHQ continue to move the dot to decrease infant mortality and also decrease maternal mortality and related disparities.
2) In the National Network of Perinatal Quality Collaborative (NNPQC), state PQCs work to spread best practices, reduce practice variation, reduce health care inequities, and optimize resources to improve perinatal care and outcomes statewide. The NNPQC gives them a platform to share and learn from each other. During this project, I want to see states transform perinatal care to improve measurable outcomes for maternal and infant health by advancing evidence-informed clinical practices and processes using QI principles.
3) I want all health care providers to appreciate how working with patients and family partners improves many aspects of health care performance and accelerates the speed at which the improvements occur. When they truly value this contribution, they will always include family partners on their teams.
Making Fathers Visible in Maternal and Child Health
From cognitive and social emotional development to education and accomplishments, children with involved fathers achieve better health outcomes. Yet despite fathers’ positive impact on maternal and child health, many of the systems intended to serve women and children were not designed with fathers in mind. That’s why we’re sharing strategies to increasing father involvement in early childhood programs.
NICHQ Employee Spotlight: Barbara Lambiaso
Each month, we’re shining a spotlight on a NICHQ employee, asking them to share their memories, advice, and goals. Project Manager Barbara Lambiaso shares her commitment to various NICHQ projects, including an initiative that serves children and adults with sickle cell disease.
An Introduction to Measuring Reliability
Measuring reliability enables us to understand the effectiveness of our health systems and initiatives and discover where improvements are needed. Not sure where to start? We're sharing an introduction to measuring and increasing reliability in your projects and initiatives.
Ensuring Flexible Evaluation as Project Needs Change
Have you ever had to update your program implementation plan part way through? We’re sharing four strategies on creating flexible evaluation processes for greater program success.
Communities in Ohio Address Rising Inequalities in Response to COVID-19
A serious compounding problem of COVID-19 is how it is intensifying inequalities across the country, including in Ohio where significant disparities in maternal and child health persist. Learn how Mahoning County is proactively identifying how the pandemic will affect at-risk populations and then developing a comprehensive plan that bring together partners from across the health system.
NICHQ Employee Spotlight: Judith Gooding
Each month, we’re shining a spotlight on a NICHQ employee, asking them to share their memories, advice, and goals. Here, Chief Operating Officer Judith Gooding shares her pride in NICHQ and her appreciation for her colleagues’ nimbleness in the face of COVID-19