This week’s Board Spotlight is Gary Oftedahl, MD!
Name: Gary Oftedahl, MD
Occupation: Retired physician, but serving as Lead Collaboration Catalyst for Care Collaboratory. Also board chair of Kairos Alive, board member of CHW Alliance, member of Hennepin Health Quality Committee.
How long on the board?
I believe it’s been about 4 years
What do you enjoy about being on the board?
Being able to gain a better understanding of the importance and value of the work of CHWs and bring my past experience in the medical field to help support the expanding roles of CHWs in addressing the health and well being of those in our community who need assistance and support in attaining the level of well being we all should expect.
Why do you believe CHws are integral to health equity?
With the increasing recognition of the need to provide more than traditional health care to those in our communities, especially in underserved populations, CHWs provide links to the community, connections which are of great value to those populations, an increased recognition of the need to support the social determinants of health, and a peer relationship which increases “connection” to the community and reduces the isolation and loneliness often felt by those of differing ethnicities, races, and social strata.
What are your hopes for the Alliance or CHW field in the next few years
With regard to the role of CHWs, it is my hope that through ongoing communication, collaboration, and commitment from those in the profession, there will be an increasing recognition of the value and need to incorporate CHWs as critical members of the care teams, expanding beyond traditional biomedical approaches as often promoted by the health care industry, and truly recognizing the need to apply holistic approaches to our citizens.
With regard to the Alliance board, I would hope we can create a compelling message as to the need for a voice which will be able to advance the cause for the role of CHWs. We will need to identify a financial model, as well as a business plan which will lead to a viable structure allowing the board to fully promote and support CHWs. At the same time, we need to identify how we can successfully engage a growing majority of CHWs to participate in some way in the Alliance.