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.
Eliminating Safe Sleep Fatalities Starts by Identifying What Causes Them
Understanding what causes infant deaths gives states and communities the information they need to identify focused, effective solutions. This makes infant mortality data—data that reveals the causes and contributors to death and system barriers—irreplaceable assets for any infant health improvement effort. And that makes the National Center for Fatality Review and Prevention (National CFRP) an essential partner.
NICHQ Employee Spotlight: Meera Menon
In honor or our 20th anniversary, we're sharing insights, memories and goals from the NICHQ team. Here, NICHQ Senior Analyst shares what brought her to NICHQ and her role in supporting NICHQ' quality improvement projects.
Rare Diseases Deserve Our Attention
Between 25 and 30 million Americans, many of them children, are living with a rare disease. The complex challenges facing these children and families deserve attention and demand innovative responses. Here, NICHQ President and CEO Scott D. Berns, MD, MPH, shares his experiences, elaborates on successful strategies, and describes his goals for the future.
North Carolina’s Strategy to Address Social Determinants of Health
North Carolina is developing a system that connects individuals with resources to address social, economic and environmental barriers to their health—such as housing, food insecurity, and transportation. By putting funding and policy efforts into addressing social determinants of health, North Carolina is building a system that can improve health outcomes for children and families across the state.
NICHQ Employee Spotlight: Colleen Bernard
In honor or our 20th anniversary, we're sharing insights, memories and goals from the NICHQ team. Here, NICHQ Project Specialist Colleen Bernard shares her proudest moment during her time at NICHQ and her goals for NICHQ's future.
Breastfeeding in 2019: Safe Sleep, Bias, Gender Equitable Norms, and Paid Leave
In honor of National Breastfeeding Month, we’ve taken time with NICHQ Faculty Expert, Lori Feldman-Winter, MD, MPH, an internationally and nationally recognized expert on breastfeeding nutrition, education and policy, to recognize successes and learn about opportunities for improvement. Her frank description of bias and her passion for promoting gender-equitable social norms have inspired us to continue pursuing sustainable improvements.