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Take a Deep Dive in Public Health Thought Leadership
Episode

Fran Ayalasomayajula, Global Healthcare Solutions Head at Hewlett-Packard and the founder and leader of Reach

Take a Deep Dive in Public Health Thought Leadership

In this episode, we are excited to once again feature Fran Ayalasomayajula, a Global Healthcare Solutions Head at Hewlett-Packard and the founder and leader of Reach, a not-for-profit organization raising public health awareness. 

Fran discusses how Reach helps to improve the experiences of both patients and providers. She explains about maternal mortality, Save Moms, and the many other work at the grassroots level that Reach is doing. She also shares about the podcast Reach Radio and how it is a platform to tell folks about the work they’re doing. She talks of some successes, insights on challenges, the joy of volunteer work, and many more. 

Find out more about Fran, ReachTL, and the amazing work they are doing, so please tune in!

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Take a Deep Dive in Public Health Thought Leadership

About Fran

Fran is a Global Healthcare Solutions Head at Hewlett-Packard. She’s also the founder and leader of Reach, a not-for-profit organization. 

Fran has been an executive and health care strategist and technologist. She’s been dedicated to serving the interests of populations around the world in an effort to improve the quality of health care, provision, access to health care, and to increase health literacy and patient engagement.

Fran is also a member of the Board of Advisors for Wonder Healthcare, Human Therapeutics, and Consumer Technology Association. 

Take a Deep Dive in Public Health Thought Leadership with Fran Ayalasomayajula, Global Healthcare Solutions Head at Hewlett-Packard and the founder and leader of Reach: Audio automatically transcribed by Sonix

Take a Deep Dive in Public Health Thought Leadership with Fran Ayalasomayajula, Global Healthcare Solutions Head at Hewlett-Packard and the founder and leader of Reach: this mp3 audio file was automatically transcribed by Sonix with the best speech-to-text algorithms. This transcript may contain errors.

Saul Marquez:
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Saul Marquez:
Welcome back to the Outcomes Rocket everyone, Saul Marquez here. Today I have the privilege of having on the podcast, Fran Ayalasomayajula. She’s with us again. And if you haven’t listened to the first episode, she was with us on Episode 397 The Population Health Challenge. Just a phenomenal episode, a phenomenal person. Fran is a Global Healthcare Solutions Head at Hewlett-Packard. She’s also the founder and leader of Reach. It’s public health, a not-for-profit organization doing amazing things. Fran has been an executive and health care strategist and technologist. She’s been dedicated to serving the interests of populations around the world in an effort to improve the quality of health care, provision, access to health care, and to increase health literacy and patient engagement. She’s doing extraordinary things with her new organization. In fact, you guys haven’t noticed. You go to the program section of the Outcomes Rocket page, you’ll find that the collaboration that we’ve done with them with Population Health, but also one around the benefits and impact of public health. They’re doing incredible work. And I’m excited to have Fran here to talk to us a little bit about what they’re up to and an invitation for you to learn more and participate. So, Fran, such a privilege to have you here with us again.

Fran Ayalasomayajula:
Oh, my gosh, Saul, I’m so excited to be here. Thanks for having me.

Saul Marquez:
Absolutely. So incredible. I mean, first of all, like, it’s been a year and a half since you’ve been on, but yet we’ve gotten to know each other so much better, have collaborated on several things. And I have seen the incredible work that you’ve done and the group you’ve assembled that reach the work that you guys have done to improve access to increase health literacy for the underprivileged. And so talk to us a little bit about Reach and the work that you guys are doing there.

Fran Ayalasomayajula:
Yeah, for sure. You know, it’s been an amazing journey. The truth be told, we started off several years back. Reach is one of the brand names of a non-for-profit known as I Belong. It’s a 501C3 that was established back in 2016. And we first kicked off. We really were about public health awareness, like letting people know in the community about really important issues and providing them resources. So an example of this would be cardiovascular disease. I mean, you look at the rates of heart attacks in the United States and you think about the contributors to those conditions. Stress is one of them. Stress is killing us. And we thought, well, what can we do to do outreach in the community? And a great example was looking at untraditional places like libraries and in libraries, offering classes on stress management and yoga, like that’s all here to do. And it kicked off and it was successful, but it felt like there was a missing link. And I knew that it had to have been that there was an element to it around the role of the public health professional and clinicians. I think starting in the space as one myself, I felt like there was more to be done and that there was an opportunity to engage public health professionals in a way that they had not been leveraged before.

Fran Ayalasomayajula:
And I started to see that even with my mentor work that I was doing. I tend to mentor graduates in public schools of public health. And oftentimes they would come to me and be like, oh, is this all that there is? And I would explain it. There wasn’t. And then I realized that one of those elements was around that leadership, and that’s what sort of reach was burst out of it. It was as though there are lots of clinicians, public health professionals out there who want to be able to do more and they want to be able to reach further, but that they really need access to resources to help them to do it. And so that’s where we turn to. And that’s what Reach is really all about. How can we improve the experiences of both patients and providers of care? And we know it’s kind of different Right. the way we’re thinking about it. Usually, people don’t talk about the experiences of anybody and let alone the notion that we could improve those experiences for both patients and providers. And it’s a choice. ou had to choose one over the other and that everybody is looking for a better experience in their journey to wellness, health, and wellness.

Saul Marquez:
I love it. You know, it’s great work that you’re doing. And one of the topics that I’ve seen really gained traction that you guys are focused on is the topic of maternal mortality, the crisis. Talk just a little bit about that and the Save Moms camp. For example, and all the cool work that you’re doing there because I think that focus is so critical to us here in the States.

Fran Ayalasomayajula:
Yeah, it really is surprisingly, and a lot of people don’t even realize that a lot of folks, even in public health, don’t even realize it. The state that maternal health is in this country. The notion that we have the highest rates of maternal mortality of all Western countries, it’s just atrocious and that we also have so many incidents that the numbers are rising while we’re seeing the numbers improve in other countries and in places around the world that are resource-scarce, are performing better or doing better. Women are doing better than they’re doing here in the United States. And we’ve been hearing the statistics a lot. I think that’s probably the issue that I have the most is that I started my career as an epidemiologist and the whole idea that in a way an epidemiologist, they do a lot.

Fran Ayalasomayajula:
There’s a lot that is done in the space. And it’s not just around infectious disease control. A lot of it is first and foremost about knowing the numbers and knowing the numbers is very depressing. Counting the beans, counting the number of fatalities. I mean, we see that right now with the pandemic Right. You turn on the television, look at the news and there are numbers there counting. And to me, that’s the most depressing. And that’s what was happening in maternal health. Every time you turn around, people give the statistics about the number of women are dying, but what the heck were they doing in terms of giving us updates on the activities to help to address this issue? There are lots of people out there, and I want to make sure I give a shout-out to all of those amazing organizations and advocacy groups that are out there doing great work. But it is apparent that it’s not enough. And I thought, why is this? And so what is about again, it’s about moving beyond the status quo and looking at things differently and leveraging resources. Sometimes the resources that you’re like unsuspecting resources, the things that you would think would not be relevant.

Fran Ayalasomayajula:
And that’s what we’ve done. So we have tackled this issue by bringing together the public and private sectors. If, in fact, it is the case that thirty-five plus percent of the cases of maternal health are associated with high blood pressure, then it makes sense that women should know their blood pressure. But the only way they’re going to know their blood pressure is if they’re taking it. And the only way they can take it is that they have a blood pressure monitor. And the only way they can have a blood pressure monitor is if they can afford it. And there is a reality that for a lot of women to have to choose between a fifty-dollar blood pressure monitor and groceries is an unfair predicament to be in. And that’s what we have tackled device manufacturers. We are working directly with state and government officials to really try to address these issues. And I’m very proud of the work of safe moms, as well as all of the members of what we now have formed, which is called the Match Coalition Maternal Applications of Technology for Community Health.

Fran Ayalasomayajula:
And yeah, we’re just really excited. And it’s really I’m really appreciative that you called out Save Moms because you can hear it in my voice. It’s something that we’re very passionate about.

Saul Marquez:
And I’m glad you guys are because the seventy thousand women in the US that get injured and die every year deserve better. And folks, you know, the cool thing is that Fran was able to she talked about the blood pressure monitor price. Well, she was able to do a deal with the company and the medical who stepped up to the plate. And now instead of 50, 60 bucks, women can get their monitors for 20 bucks. And that is huge. And so this is the type of work that Reach doing. And so I wanted to showcase them today. And apart from the advocacy work and driving for change at a grassroots level, rolling up their sleeves to do these things, Fran, you also started a podcast.

Fran Ayalasomayajula:
We did, yes. We have a podcast, Reach Radio. I don’t know where to begin. Reach Radio. It’s what we have promised. And our mission is to create this platform, right? Where the voices of public health professionals can be heard. And I insist that the way to get towards the solutions to solving the problems that we’re having is by approaching them in different ways. I mean, it’s you know, we’ve all we’ve heard it, right? I mean, Einstein himself called it out Right. the state of insanity is doing the same things over and over and expecting a different outcome. And that’s what we’ve been doing.

Fran Ayalasomayajula:
So I thought, you know, there are so many good-intentioned organizations that are out there, particularly nonprofit organizations and all of these public health resources that are being underutilized. Maybe one of the issues with this state of insanity that we’re in is that we tend to not be aware of the resources, the diversity of resources that are available to us. And so what Reach Radio is, it’s a platform for organizations to come on and tell folks about the work that they’re doing. It is deliberately designed for folks to be heard and for those listening to reach out to them. It’s like, don’t come on my show if you don’t intend on somebody calling you after. That’s basically what it is.

Saul Marquez:
I love it. And folks, it’s so the stats are the average podcast. They quit after about seven or eight episodes. Will Fran kick this thing off? She’s cranking it. She’s 11 episodes in. Then you made it past.

Fran Ayalasomayajula:
I forgot to even count.

Saul Marquez:
11 episodes. And I mean just some incredible leaders in public health, as well as companies that are doing their part to help these public health institutions and organizations. So certainly one that you have to check out. Just look it up. The website is ReachTL.org and you’ll find them. But just Google reach radio and it’ll come up. Fran, how about like the folks that are listening? Right? Let’s just say they’re part of an organization or a company that is doing their part. Do they have an invitation to make it to your show?

Fran Ayalasomayajula:
They absolutely have an unconditional invitation to come. Absolutely.

Saul Marquez:
Wow. There you have it, folks. And if you’re interested, take a listen. I think you guys will enjoy and take up Fran on the invitation to be a thought leader that does participate in her podcast and in the vision that they’re doing at Reach. Just incredible. They’re focused on making sure that we have what it takes to drive that change in the health care sphere that we are working in. What would you say has been one of the most challenging things, Fran? I feel like we as one of my favorite questions that I ask. So as you’ve begun Reach and you’re well into it, what’s been one of the biggest challenges you’ve been faced with and learning that came out of it?

Fran Ayalasomayajula:
The first thing that comes to mind, truthfully, is the one that you hear a lot, whether you’re a not-for-profit or a startup, right. a for-profit entity. Funding. Funding is a challenge. And we get scrappy. I mean, we roll up our sleeves and we figure out ways to, like, overcome that. And the biggest way of doing that is through education, telling the story over and over again like you called out. I had no idea about that statistic, about podcasts. It’s like I don’t care if I have an audience of one percent that’s there. I’m just going to keep rolling.

Saul Marquez:
I love it. I love it. Yeah. That’s how you make a difference.

Fran Ayalasomayajula:
It totally is. So that’s the way we just keep fighting the good fight every day, staying persistent, staying with the vision, and sharing it as much as we possibly can. And I can’t thank you enough for giving us the opportunity to share it here today on Outcomes Rocket. Thank you.

Saul Marquez:
My pleasure Fran and keep up the amazing work. What would you leave us with? What closing thought. And then what’s the best place for the listeners to just engage with you and just learn more?

Fran Ayalasomayajula:
Sure. I think that’s the biggest thing that I would like to leave with the audience today, is that there is a role for everyone to play and also to not assume that whatever title you’re in or whatever, whatever position you’re in today is like the only thing that you can do. Right. I wear a lot of hats. Obviously, I’m very committed to the corporation that I represent Right. in terms of my quote-unquote day job. But I stay very committed, very active, and in as many ways as I possibly can. And I think that everyone should see themselves in that same light. Everybody’s got something that they can contribute. And it’s amazing how when you take the time to just do it, how much of a significant a return it has, it just you just feel good. And so you and I were talking about that earlier. Yeah. It just feels good. And that’s what I would encourage. If you want to you want to feel good every day you want to feel accomplished, then get out of your comfort zone and just have that contributing. It’s amazing. And I would say if you want to learn more about how you can feel every good every day through contributing to the very significant, meaningful work within public health, then reach out to us, join the Reach organization. We are actually one hundred percent volunteers, all of us, and we’ve got about twenty folks who participate, which is is incredible right.

Saul Marquez:
It speaks to the vision.

Fran Ayalasomayajula:
It does. I mean, we have people who are in marketing and communications backgrounds and they give like five to ten hours a week. And yet that turned them just contribute that little bit of time has resulted in us having amazing communications and our website is I think our website is lovely and informative, and it wouldn’t be without folks who are contributing the fact that you’ve invited us today onto Outcomes Rocket. I mean, that is a testament. I mean, you’re giving us all I want to thank you for that.

Saul Marquez:
Absolutely.

Fran Ayalasomayajula:
We wouldn’t be getting this message out. It would not be possible without you, not in this format, not to the size of audience that you are able to deliver. And so I appreciate that, folks. Thank you. Yeah. I think folks should take the opportunity to see where there is a chance for them to do good. Mainly, you just have to have an interest in something. You don’t even have to really you know, you’ll always have to come in with all the skills right. Totally.

Saul Marquez:
You know, and I’m glad you mentioned that Fran, because there’s a lot of assumptions usually like, oh, well, they’re looking for money or they’re looking for just speakers. But the reality is you have a vision and you’re looking for like-minded people that want to raise their hand and say, I want to be part of this. I believe in what you’re doing. How can I help? And you’re looking for those people.

Fran Ayalasomayajula:
Yeah, you know what’s really interesting? We did on the Save Mom’s campaign. We’re trying to figure out ways to get the word out and again, like we say, funding. But is it funding or is it just being really creative with the resources that you have? So an example of this is that members of AT&T were willing to work with us. And it’s an employee network that gets together and their employee network was shared our social media, we have a social media kit on maternal health and we provide them the social media kit. And then we let them know when it’s going to be released. They follow us and then they share the communication. So now all of a sudden we go from a handful of folks that come out of who we reach, but then they’re showing it to all of their friends and their families and then it just has this trickle-down effect that can be very impactful. And that was that takes a little bit of effort. Like it was so little and yet it’s so meaningful. And I was like, yeah, I mean, there are so many things that they could do for us and so many ways. But this is one that was doable at the time and was one that was so welcomed by us. And why? Because what did the end of the day we were really trying to do was get our message across. And so they were directly helping us to do that. So I just think that’s awesome. And I would say, again, anyone who like to participate is welcome. I think I’m open to the conversation and we can you can learn more about us at www.ReachTL.org. That’s ReachTL.org.

Saul Marquez:
Awesome. And we’ll be sure to put the various links inside of the show notes go to OutcomesRocket.Health. And type and reach in the search bar. We have that new search bar I’ve been telling you all about. It works so well.

Fran Ayalasomayajula:
I love your new search bar.

Saul Marquez:
Thank you, Fran. And so check all of the show notes and links out there. Reach or go straight to the website. ReachTL.org. Fran, amazing. Keep up the great work and certainly looking forward to connecting with you again soon.

Fran Ayalasomayajula:
Thank you.

Saul Marquez:
Hey, everyone. SaUl Marquez here. Have you launched your podcast already and discovered what a pain it can be to keep up with editing, production, show notes, transcripts, and operations? What if you could turn over the keys to your podcast busywork while you do the fun stuff like expanding your network and taking the industry stage? Let us edit your first episode for free so you can experience the freedom. Visit smoothpodcasting.com to learn more. That’s smoothpodcasting.com to learn more.

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Things You’ll Learn

  • Everybody is looking for a better experience in their journey to wellness, health, and wellness.
  • The United States has the highest rate of maternal mortality in all Western countries. 
  • 35+ percent of the cases of maternal health are associated with high blood pressure
  • There is a role for everyone to play
  • Do not assume that whatever title you’re in or whatever, whatever position you’re in today is like the only thing that you can do.
  • You have something you can contribute.
  • Get out of your comfort zone and contribute. 
  • You should take the opportunity to see where you have a chance to do good.

 

Resources

https://reachtl.org/

https://www.linkedin.com/in/franceswalls/

https://www.linkedin.com/company/hp/