Meet Your Mentor: Heather Olden

Heather OldenHeather, originally from Durham, North Carolina, received her Bachelor of Science in Molecular Biology from Hampton University and her Master of Public Health in International Health Epidemiology from the University of Michigan. She is currently an Epidemiologist with the Department of Public Health Sciences at Henry Ford Health System (HFHS). Specifically, she manages the Patient Advisor Program within the Patient Engaged Research Center which aims to build a sustainable Center for patient-centered outcomes research at HFHS. Patient Advisors are patients and their family members who participate on Councils and committees around the health system to bring the patient voice to the table and ensure that all decisions made have the patient perspective incorporated.

Heather's time is dedicated to engaging patients through many modalities including focus groups, in-depth interviews, and by recruiting Patient Advisors. In the two years she has been managing this Program, she has recruited and trained over 350 Patient Advisors. She facilitates the orientation workshops where Advisors are oriented to the Program and focus on skills such as effective communication and action listening, just to name a few. Additionally she facilitates research focus groups on topics related to asthma, obesity, child wellness and hysterectomies, as well as focus groups for the System focused on customer service quality, the patient experience, marketing initiatives and utilizing Mychart, a patient portal. She coordinates all qualitative data collection, leads the Qualitative Data Analysis Team, and participates in manuscript development and publication.

Although she is currently focused in community engagement and program management, she has research interests in epigenetics and racial/ethnic health disparities.