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"A Little Cheese with your Whine?"

Posted By Jennifer Hodgson, Thursday, May 19, 2011
Updated: Wednesday, May 25, 2011
These days I do not indulge on the libations of fermented grapes much but I feel the hangover of working full steam with minimal stops. Why is it that collaborative people tend to become so enthused by the great buffet of work? Most people who are collaborative care types are the ones you see championing new ideas, training ridiculous numbers of people to do the work, writing and researching the merits of systems thinking, and working tirelessly to advance healthcare while pushing a boulder the size of Aunt Rita’s meatballs uphill!

There are so many factors to consider in the change process, and our dear friend CJ Peek nailed it when he crafted the words "Three World View.” Just like a car, healthcare will not move without money to put gas in the tank and maintain it, a place to drive the vehicle that is not in the way of existing transportation, and people skilled enough to do it well. However, it also takes a commitment to retraining providers, patients, families, and countless others which is where the cheese comes in because there will be lots of whining happening when we start the change ball rolling.

We are creatures of habit and movement is not about the lack of a great idea but the willingness to stop and turn the wheel and head in a different direction. The first step is to sometimes step back and take inventory of what is existing in that space. Retain what is going well and slowly introduce change that is in partnership with the system that will be impacted by it.

If you want to lessen the whine, serve great cheese that the system wants! A model that works in Colorado may not work in its pure form in North Carolina. However, the idea of the Colorado model shared with colleagues and patients may generate a hybrid version that has promise. This work is messy, time consuming, and not for the impatient types. In the eyes of a patient though, they do not see all of the mess, although sometimes they might, but they feel the effort of a system who is trying to improve upon itself.

The title of this blog is really ambiapplicable. Those whining can be those doing it, as well as, those impacted by it. Either way, change is challenging and movement can be slow but progress is addictive. Perhaps this blog has the flavor of my last grant, substance abuse, or is a product of how I feel after a long semester in academia. What I want people who read this to know is that your work and your efforts are making the difference! You are inspiring people each day by your commitment to your philosophy of what healthcare can look like now and in the future.

Family Health Blog

Jennifer Hodgson, PhD, is a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, Associate Professor in the Departments of Child Development and Family Relations and Family Medicine at East Carolina University, and President of CFHA.

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Randall Reitz says...
Posted Saturday, June 25, 2011
Jennifer, I’m intrigued by your statement “We are creatures of habit and movement is not about the lack of a great idea but the willingness to stop and turn the wheel in a different direction”. Given your many roles (clinician, educator, researcher, administrator, board president, mother) you seem to have numerous opportunities to turn the wheel toward a family system perspective at numerous levels. What have you seen in our field that gives you hope that this will be successful?
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