Meet Catherine Jefcoat
Catherine is one of those weird health care nerds who is invigorated by the many, many, many opportunities to make our country’s health care system more efficient and Americans healthier. Currently, that means leading a team that tailors a care management workflow tool to client’s population health strategies. Previously, that meant advocating at local and national levels on behalf of patients, leading women’s health efforts at a Chicago community health center, and consulting with health systems to improve their care management strategies.
If you could fire anyone in the world, who would you fire?
It’s not a person, but I would fire our current national drug policy, especially treating substance abuse as a criminal justice issue rather than as a health care issue. Given the many issues tangled up in why people use (mental health, poverty, etc.), the criminal justice system should not be the main institution drug users interface with. There are so many interesting models of how to care for folks that are using, both in the US and internationally. If we fired our current drug policy, we could look at implementing models that actually improve people’s lives and solve problems (see the next question).
Have you ever stolen anything?
Sure - I steal ideas all the time. The wonk in me is always thinking about whether an idea that has had success in this area could be applied to a different area. That’s the theme of this age, right? The mash-up, start-up, steal-up era, right? But, of course, I always cite the source.
How long do you think you would you survive the zombie apocalypse?
I don’t think I would survive for long because my only skills that would be relevant would be around leadership. Which means I would inevitably have a quick rise and then deadly mutiny. I’ve made my peace with my limited skill set within a zombie apocalypse context and inevitable demise.
What inspires you?
Grace. During my pregnancy and now as a new parent, I am floored by the huge amount of grace I have witnessed and been the recipient of. Whether it was small things like someone giving up their seat to me on public transit or something more special like a friend texting me out of the blue to say that they can come play with my baby so I can shower and stop smelling like spit-up and fritos. I have been humbled and inspired by the openness of heart that people have shown me in the past year. I’ve found each little act important and the kind of world I want (and want for my little one, too). This is definitely the hormones and sleep deprivation talking, but that doesn’t make it any less real, relevant, or inspiring.
What do you know for sure?
I am totally sure that doubt is critical. Whether its doubting the latest pink mug whose proceeds go to breast cancer awareness or something deep like faith and other things I can’t see, doubt encourages me to find out more information and think through why I think what I think. It also helps me sort out what is truly important and what has some kind of value, but maybe not so important (like that pink mug I mentioned- I’m aware. Also, I doubt the real impact of all of that pink stuff at its stated goals). Now a pink mug held by a person giving their seat up for me - that’s a doozy. Hmmm. Still floored by the grace. Definitely.
Photo Credit: Jamie Kelter Davis Photography