For this week’s edition of NCHPAD Connect Spotlight, we caught up with Tracy F. Tracy, NCHPAD’s Healthcare Inclusion Specialist. We chatted with Tracy about her career, her work at NCHPAD and a few of her favorite hobbies.
How long have you been with NCHPAD?
Since June of 2021.
Tell us about your background & education. What brought you to NCHPAD?
I’ve been an occupational therapist (OT) since 1996. I ended up working specifically with people with multiple sclerosis from 2010-2021, and now my work focuses more broadly in wellness programs. I also started a PhD in rehabilitation sciences in 2020.
I started working closely with NCHPAD Director Dr. Jim Rimmer, associate director Dr. Zoe Young, and Dr. Tapan Mehta on a large study in 2017.
What do you do?
I’ve helped establish protocol for the NCHPAD Connect Call Center, and I work primarily on healthcare engagement and partnerships. I also onboard our partners, and now we’re working on how to recruit, retain and disseminate information.
We’re also working together with healthcare providers and their teams to establish a recruitment and referral system as well as some extensive healthcare training.
What talents or expertise do you bring to NCHPAD or this program?
I love building relationships and recruiting through a vast net. I like all tiers of engagement whether it’s our clinical partners, community partners or other stakeholders.
What is your favorite thing about NCHPAD or this program?
This is my favorite job, for sure. I love the fact that we’re offering a service that is unobtainable through insurance or healthcare systems.
I think it’s so important that we add this adjunct resource, which is free, for access to these wellness programs. I love the fact that typically we focus on exercise for people with physical disabilities but we’re broadening that focus to mindfulness, mental health, nutrition and weight management. Our ultimate goal is to help lessen the gap in health access and health iniquities.
What’s your favorite NCHPAD resource or video series?
I love NCHPAD Coffee Club. I look forward to every meeting. The topics are so important to address. My favorite one that I’ve done was on arts and medicine. We did some mindfulness drawing and reflecting. – that was really fun!
What are you most looking forward to for NCHPAD Connect?
I’m looking forward to getting as many people involved in NCHPAD Connect as I can. I’m also interested in learning from our community what other resources they want us to create.
Share a success story. Tell us about a time when you really saw your program working in the life of a participant.
One of our registered dietitians identified a participant as being homeless, and we were able to work to develop resources with that participant so that they could seek housing.
What hobbies do you have outside of work?
I belong to two book clubs (one I’ve been in for 12 years). Tennis. I love paint by numbers and puzzles, so I always have one of them on our table at home. We don’t even eat at our table anymore. It’s lots of fun because our children and their friends know about it, so they’ll come over and know they can always paint or do a puzzle. I’m not a good cook, but I also love to cook for people and feed them.
What’s your favorite food, favorite thing to cook or favorite recipe?
One of my mom’s old Irish potato casserole recipes that I’ll cook for Easter. My kids absolutely love it.
What’s your favorite music, movies or tv shows?
The Jerk with Steve Martin is my favorite movie; for music, we love everything, but I steer towards older classics like the Beatles; For tv, I just watched Daisy Jones and the Six and really enjoyed it.
What’s the last book you read? How was it?
The Book of Lost Names by Kristin Harmel.
If you could switch careers for a day, what would you choose?
I would be a painter. Like a wall painter; not a picture painter. Or a tennis player.
What’s one thing (not related to your job) that you could teach someone else how to do?
Talk on the phone!