Fenway Health announces today that Jordina Shanks will join the organization as its Chief Operating Officer. Shanks brings over 20 years of experience designing and overseeing operational systems across primary care, specialty, and non-clinical areas that have enabled effective and efficient delivery of quality clinical care. Shanks currently serves as Chief Operating Officer at Mattapan Community Health Center, where she holds broad strategic responsibility across all departments and serves as the compliance officer; she will begin work at Fenway Health on October 4, 2021.
“An organization’s ability to deliver on its mission is only as strong as the systems and processes on which it is built, said Fenway Health CEO Ellen LaPointe. “Throughout her career, Jordina has used creative, strategic, innovative, and visionary approaches to build patient-centered, team-based care delivery systems that result in high quality outcomes, and to create the conditions in which team members can learn, do their best work, and thrive. The intersectional, equity-centered perspective Jordina brings to this crucial work is essential to our organization as we chart a course for our future.”
“My leadership values of respect, transparency, accountability and empowering staff have led to great success in fostering a learning environment of continuous improvement,” said Shanks. “It is important to me that staff closest to delivering care are engaged in patient-centered problem solving and data-driven decisions that affect their work. In my experience, this approach has effectively improved team performance, achieved greater alignment of staff’s sense of purpose with organizational goals and delivered desired results.”
Shanks is a nurse and a healthcare systems expert who has designed and implemented numerous initiatives that increase patient and provider satisfaction, sustain profitability, and improve safety and quality. She employs a data-driven approach to assessing issues and concerns, encourages innovative solutions and holds racial and health equity at the center of all business decisions. At Mattapan Community Health Center, when the COVID-19 pandemic required new and different ways to keep people safe and provide care, Shanks and her team developed a system of remote monitoring for patients with acute and chronic conditions. With new technology and training for patients and providers alike, patients can now share blood pressure, weight, pulse, oxygen level, and temperature readings directly to their electronic medical records where clinicians can monitor them. Going forward, remote biometric monitoring coupled with video visits will make it much easier for patients with chronic health conditions to access care.
Shanks’s professional career in health care, which began in 1990 on the surgical unit at Morton Hospital in Taunton where she worked as a nurse, has been driven by her personal experiences of early family loss entangled with poverty and homophobia. As a result, she has dedicated her career to improving the health and well-being of as many people as possible, while addressing health disparities for marginalized communities.
“I started my career as a nurse, an individual contributor, fulfilling my sense of purpose one patient at a time. Once I experienced the broader impact that I had on more people in my first management position I quickly realized that I could have the biggest impact by setting my sights on working within a bigger organization and in a higher leadership position. There I could influence policy and systemic changes that would get us closer to achieving health equity for communities of color, the LGBTQIA+ community, and other minoritized populations,” Shanks said, noting that practices and policies that perpetuate systemic racism need to be addressed to achieve health equity.
In 2000, Shanks began a 17-year career at Harvard Vanguard where she was hired as an urgent care clinical supervisor and progressively managed more and more clinical departments and areas of the business until she achieved her goal of running operations for a health center. In her last seven years there, Shanks was a practice administrator managing two multi-specialty health care centers where she oversaw 100 physicians and 440 clinical and administrative employees responsible for providing care to 41,000 patients.
In 2017, Shanks joined Planned Parenthood League of Massachusetts as Chief Operating Officer. There, she led the design and early stages of implementation of a multi-year strategic plan to improve the sexual and reproductive health outcomes of minoritized populations across the state through a racial equity lens. Initiatives during her time there included the launch of gender-affirming care for transgender and gender diverse patients; a career-laddering program for clinical support staff; an organizational-wide diversity, equity and inclusion plan; and implementation of new hiring and compensation practices that emphasized skills and experience over more traditional qualifications for employment that improved Planned Parenthood’s access to a racially and linguistically diverse talent pool.
“At a time when we are rebounding from deepened inequality and a pandemic that has exacerbated and magnified health inequities for communities of color and other minoritized and vulnerable populations, I feel a deep, personal sense of urgency to do more now,” Shanks said. “As a Black, multi-racial lesbian, I am excited to serve a population that I identify with and bring lived experiences, professional abilities, and a strong commitment to ensuring equitable access to high quality health care for the diverse communities served by Fenway Health.”