Step 2: Establish Leadership
The Partnership between Next Door Solutions and MayView launched in October 2014, and in January of 2015 Next Door Solutions brought on Erica Villa as the Project Coordinator to oversee the partnership and act as a liaison between both organizations.
“I was looking forward to working and creating a program within the clinic setting…it all sounded exciting [but] I was also nervous because it involved working with clinic staff. I have had previous experience working in that type of environment and the pace has to be fast”- Erica Villa, Project Coordinator
It was critical for the coordinator to be present at all three MayView clinics, not only to make herself available to clinic staff that may have questions or concerns but also to observe the setup of the clinic, clinic culture, workflow and to look for potential logistical challenges. For example, early on there was concern from clinic management that there would be push back from clinicians or a negative effect on patient flow. Part of the Coordinator’s role was to address staff concerns and devise processes that would not be disruptive to patient care.
The Project Coordinator was also responsible for researching and drafting the needs assessment, reviewing it with MayView staff and making changes based on their feedback. Additionally, she was responsible for compiling the needs assessment data and providing recommendations to the collaborative based on the results. One of the main results of the survey was that patients needed domestic violence services onsite. The Project Coordinator developed the trainings for MayView staff, to educate them on the basics of domestic violence as well as facilitated the enrollment of four MayView employees who agreed to go through a Domestic Violence Counselor training at NDS or a sister organization.
“One of the biggest assets of the partnership was Erica. Her commitment to being here [at MayView] helped. It was critical to have someone who could work within both organizations”- Elena Higley, Director of Programs, MayView Community Clinic
Job Description Highlights
The Coordinator will act as a liaison between the DV organization and the Healthcare program and will focus on improving systems of care, specifically related to the implementation of the Affordable Care Act.
- Lead and complete multiple needs assessments including patients and staff.
- Create and track system of care workflow and service delivery logistics.
- Develop project specific resource guide.
- Implement and track the use of trauma-informed patient screening tool.
- Background in related field and three years experience in DV.
- Background in cultivating and sustaining partnerships.
- Strong, demonstrated interest in public health.
The Project Coordinator or liaison can come from either the healthcare organization or the domestic violence organization, and there are pros and cons to each approach. Having the Coordinator come from the healthcare organization means they will likely be based onsite, already familiar with the culture of working in the clinic and existing workflow. On the other hand, having that level of familiarity may blind someone to some potential challenges that fresh eyes may easily spot. Having the Coordinator come from the domestic violence organization brings a level of DV expertise that may ease the development of trainings and locating resources. However there may be push-back to having an “outsider” coming to a clinic and suggesting changes. Regardless of where the Coordinator is employed, they will need to balance the different needs of the two organizations and help keep the partners focused and engaged.
Key among the Coordinator’s responsibilities would be spearheading a needs assessment to help both partners understand patients’ understanding of domestic violence, patients’ needs as well as perceived gaps in the local service network. This will inform program development and patient education efforts. The Coordinator will also track the workflow of the clinic and partner with staff to determine at what point in the process patients should be screened, what the screening should look like and what follow up actions are taken.
Additionally, the Coordinator will help devise a trauma-informed patient screening tool for the clinic to use and would be responsible for helping with its implementation and tracking its use and the outcomes. While the role of the coordinator is crucial to the success of the project, they do not operate in a vacuum and they must have a point person in the other organization who will need time allocated to spend on the project and who can provide ongoing leadership and troubleshooting. For example, if the Coordinator comes from the DV side of the partnership there should be a point person designated to lead the efforts on the healthcare side.
While it is up to each organization to decide what their ideal candidate’s background, its recommended that the Coordinator have a background working in domestic violence, and if not coming from the public health field, have at least a demonstrated interest in health. Lastly, the Coordinator would be most successful if they have experience in cultivating and sustaining partnerships.