Every year for the holidays, the Healthcare Transformation Initiatives (HTI) team bands together for a worthy cause. The group sees it as a great way to give back to the community and have fun as a team.
This year the team joined forces with Carrying Hope, a nonprofit organization that provides essentials and comfort items neatly packed into backpacks for children entering the foster care system in Central Texas.
“A few years ago, our department decided that in lieu of gifts we wanted to find a new opportunity each year to give back to the community. This year we are fulfilling that by partnering with Carrying Hope. When we found out that over 22,000 children are removed from their homes by Child Protective Services each year in the state of Texas, we knew we had to help,” said Sahar Qashqai, executive director of HTI.
Starting off with a goal of 20 backpacks, HTI reached out to all departments of UT Physicians for assistance in obtaining supplies. After weeks of gathering, the team received hundreds of donated items. In addition to the supplies collected by UT Physicians, UT Dentists donated 91 dental care sets.
With a highly organized assembly line, the HTI team packed backpacks with clothing, dental care sets, books, soap, teddy bears – things that a child could need or want in such a difficult situation. Next to the assembly line was a “well wishes station” where employees could write notes to the recipient of a backpack.
After a couple of hours of work, the final backpack count was 34. “I’m so proud to work with a team of individuals, here in our department and UT Physicians as a whole, who never hesitate when presented an opportunity to contribute and give back. Because of that, I’m not surprised we surpassed our original goal,” said Qashqai.
UT Physicians is dedicated to patient quality and clinical effectiveness. The Healthcare Transformation Initiatives (HTI) department obtains funding and implement programs that increase quality and access to primary and specialty care, using a patient-centered approach.
Since the inception of HTI, more than 30 projects have been implemented to make health care more affordable and accessible to Southeast Texans, regardless of their insurance status or income level. Through various projects, UT Physicians patients have access to evening and weekend appointments, a 24/7 nurse triage phone line, care coordination, medication management, and integrated primary and behavioral health care. Wellness and health education programs are also available at no cost to the community.