Christa Hyson, MPH
Senior Manager, External Relations
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
A Consumer Perspective for The Health Collaborative Board of Director
Shirley LaPiana-Martin Began Term in May 2019
CINCINNATI – Shirley LaPiana-Martin has recently been elected to The Health Collaborative (THC) Board of Directors to provide a healthcare consumer point of view, the first time in the organization’s history a direct consumer has been elected to serve. The board of the Cincinnati-based healthcare improvement nonprofit recruits members with a highly diverse set of backgrounds and experiences representing health systems, large and small employers, and community leaders; and while the consumer voice has been represented previously by community agencies, this is the first representation by an individual not employed by a community agency.
Martin’s personal experience of navigating a highly complex healthcare systems makes her the ideal candidate to fill this seat. Martin’s husband of 35 years, Russell, was diagnosed with multiple medical conditions including dementia, heart disease, leukemia, and skin cancers. She quickly learned to be a vocal advocate for Russell, to ask questions and try to bridge the silos within which his multiple specialists functioned. Because of his dementia, the couple were also faced with difficult quality-of-life decisions about his medical care and its impact on his condition.
“My overall experience with healthcare both professionally and personally is that it is confusing and difficult to navigate,” Martin shared. “I come from a generation where medical professionals were respected, and we didn’t ask a lot of questions. I’ve learned questions are important. My perspective is that people get into healthcare for good reasons, but they tend to get siloed.”
Neil Tilow, President of Talbert House and Chair of The Health Collaborative Board, is enthusiastic about the addition of Martin to the award-winning THC board. “While we already had an impressive roster of key healthcare decision-makers and community leaders on THC’s board, Shirley brings a unique ‘user experience’ perspective that can’t be overstated,” he affirmed. “Her deep first-hand experience navigating the complexities of healthcare, and the compassion she brings as a caregiver, will remind us of the people behind our decisions as we collectively grapple with some of the toughest challenges facing the industry.”
Martin’s educational background includes a B.A. in English Literature from Nazareth College of Rochester, NY and an M.B.A. from Rochester Institute of Technology, the latter earned while working full time.
Early in her career Martin held positions in market research, marketing product management, and human resources management with The R. T. French Company and as independent contractor for Educational Foundation Consultants. Over the past 30 years, she worked in HR management at GRE Insurance Group and for Western Southern, where she was a generalist with primary responsibilities in Employee Relations.
In 1997, Martin moved to Paycor for the opportunity to establish its HR department, recruit new talent, and create practices and programs to support the company’s growth and employee retention. For most of her tenure, Paycor was fully insured and she became conversant with local brokers and the benefits and disadvantages of an insured medical plan. By 2010, the company began to explore self-funding and made a successful transition in 2012.
Russell died peacefully on August 27, 2018 after a short final illness, and after a time Martin found herself with a desire to give back. She currently volunteers with the L.I.F.E. Food Pantry in Loveland and with the Alzheimer’s Association, which became an important part of the Martins’ lives as he struggled with dementia.
When asked her reasons for serving on the THC board, Martin explained: “The opportunity to present a consumer viewpoint with The Health Collaborative feels tailor-made to leverage both my professional and personal background, and I am excited about the possibility. Sharing data and enabling a more rapid transfer of information seems incredibly important to me; I feel we can do better. Let’s let the doctors have time to be doctors while getting the information they need when they need it.”
Read a Q&A with Shirley on The Health Collaborative blog: https://healthcollab.org/board-spotlight-five-minutes-with-shirley-lapiana-martin/.
About The Health Collaborative:
The Health Collaborative is a non-profit organization that leads data-driven improvements resulting in healthier people, better care and lower costs. For more information about The Health Collaborative, visit healthcollab.org.