Featured TRUST Member
As part of the Fairview Ventures team at MHealth/Fairview, Anita Sharma uses visual management to stabilize, standardize and improve key functions of the business model; builds relationships with key stakeholders throughout the organization to foster strategic alignment to innovative technology solutions; and teaches the scientific method to test hypotheses and utilize lessons learned to develop new tests of change.
Fairview Ventures is a fully integrated innovation lab within Fairview Health Services. The team pairs the ideas of entrepreneurs with the operations and expertise of Fairview's comprehensive health system to test, evolve and validate the commercial viability of new possibilities in health care.
Prior to her current role, Anita was a part of the Lean Promotion Office team, which supports Fairview’s operating system built on the principles of continuous improvement with respect for people. "I actively coached and developed the organization on lean principles by facilitating standardization and process improvement activities, with leaders and frontline staff to influence cultural change," Anita says. "My time with the Lean Promotion Office was a wonderful way for me to interact with different parts of the health care system."
Anita's clinical background, as a pharmacist, has been in primary care/ambulatory care. She started the first pharmaceutical care practice at legacy HealthEast in 2013 within an internal medicine, family medicine and pediatric clinic. Anita partnered with providers in her clinic to improve medication use and outcomes for patients by comprehensively reviewing patients’ medications to ensure all medications were indicated for the patient based on their conditions, effective, safe given all other medications, and convenient. She grew the program to include a total of 6 pharmacists who covered 14 legacy HealthEast primary care clinics.
Have you ever had a mentor?
I have been fortunate enough to have many mentors throughout my life. The most impactful mentors have served as bridges to help me build my strategic network, including connections outside of health care. Mentors, who serve as coaches, have engaged me to constantly reflect on actions and adjust for the future. I appreciate learning from others’ experiences and I’m thankful for the time mentors spend investing in helping me self-develop.
Why did you join the TRUST? What keeps you involved as a TRUST member?
I was invited to the annual TRUST meeting by one of my mentors, Anne Pearson, who is also a TRUST member. I was humbled by the number of intelligent, driven, and welcoming women in health care, who were all open to sharing their experiences with me. To continue to learn about the TRUST, I became involved with the Leadership Development Committee, which planned the mentoring program this year. Serving as an ambassador this year at the TRUST Forum helped push me out of my comfort zone and gave me the opportunity to welcome potential new members during the event. The networks I have built through the TRUST are invaluable, and I am so grateful!
What is the best career advice you've received?
Every experience is a learning opportunity, so just keep taking chances and have fun! Changing my mindset to believe this has brought me joy in my work and daily interactions.
How do you want to support other women in their leadership journey?
I strive to give back to my profession and develop women in leadership each day. As an adjunct at the University of Minnesota College of Pharmacy, I serve as a mentor for 4th year students who are exploring career paths. Through this experience, I encourage mentees to connect their passions to their career paths. I also serve as a bridge to help mentees form connections within and outside of pharmacy.
What excites you about combining your clinical background with the business side of health care?
Having the opportunity to integrate my clinical expertise with the business side of health care has been a learning journey. Instead of viewing each business unit as a silo, I have started to think about the second and third order effect of decisions, as it impacts the full patient journey. Having a broader understanding into the business side of health care means I’m able to ask the right questions to ensure decisions are both patient-focused, but also provide the organization with the ability to stay competitive in the market. From a pharmacy standpoint, I’m getting experience into the full health journey — relationships with pharma, payers, and the interaction between patients and providers, which is exciting!
Any words of wisdom to live by?
Always go with the choice that scares you the most, because that’s the one that is going to help you grow.
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