Andrew Johnson is an attorney and has focused much of his legal practice on working with health care innovation. “I’ve worked with hospital providers, for example, but also third-party organizations, such as tech companies, that intersect with the health care industry,” he says.
Approaching health care from a legal perspective – “helping with transactional and corporate issues that come up” – is a regular part of his professional life. Now, as a new board member for Health Care Access Now, “I’m looking forward to getting involved from a new perspective,” he says, and applying his familiarity with the local health care industry in a different way.
He enjoys “tackling complex issues,” and is happily anticipating being involved in the strategy and planning behind HCAN. “It’s exciting for me to partner with other board members to help address [community] needs.” Johnson was linked with HCAN through an organization that connects professionals with nonprofit boards.
Professional lessons applied
Johnson has learned about “the need for care coordination and improved health care access for underserved populations across the area” through his work as an attorney. “There are multiple ways to approach the issues, but I think what HCAN is doing is really innovative,” he says.
He believes that the “personal touch” that comes from Community Health Workers (CHWs), who are trained and dispatched by HCAN, “addresses needs; it’s a great way of providing resources.” Johnson says that HCAN’s two-pronged approach to CHWs – “not only connecting clients to services but also training the people who can provide those connections” – is “very unique.”
CHWs approach clients as individuals. “They create plans that are customized to each client’s life and needs.” Johnson says he hopes to further increase visibility of CHWs within the community. “They’re available; they’re personable and friendly. If more people knew the services they provided, they could make an even bigger difference.”
Long-term engagement, reduced stress on systems
Johnson appreciates the way that HCAN improves community health in the long-term. He cites the work that HCAN does with older adults and expecting mothers as being especially laudable. “And they aren’t just providing [a] short-term engagement.”
HCAN works with clients to create self-sufficiency and overall improved health. “On a community level, that creates less stress on the health care system at large,” he says, an outcome which means that “resources can be redirected to the parts of the population that also need it.”
His favorite aspect of his professional life is “working with organizations that address a specific need in the community.” He gives the example of guiding a fledgling substance use disorder treatment facility through start-up business procedures. “Helping an organization grow and make a difference in the community is the most important thing.”
Working with HCAN as a board member will afford Johnson the opportunity to bring the passions he developed as an attorney to a more prominent place in his life overall. He’s looking forward to helping HCAN grow. “The need is immense, and HCAN’s personal touch is a great way to go about providing resources to underserved populations.”