Dr. Rohit Ramaswamy, a clinical associate professor at the University of North Carolina Gillings School of Global Public Health, has been involved with Kybele as both a board member and a volunteer. Currently, he is one of our key volunteers in Ghana, where he spearheads Kybele’s quality-improvement program. Erin Pfeiffer had an opportunity to sit down with Rohit at our Team Leader Summit in February to discuss his past, present and future with Kybele:
Erin: How has Kybele changed since you first became involved?
Rohit: Kybele has become a lot more strategic and organized; it has consolidated its focus, identified [the] right people needed to achieve the objectives. Therefore, from visit to visit, both the teams and activities that are going to take place are much better planned.
Erin: How does your work with Kybele influence your work at Chapel Hill?
Rohit: A lot of the work I do with Kybele is now about systems improvement. I use that work as examples in my classes and courses. The learning from how to implement programs in real life is very useful for my students who are looking for practical examples of implementation.
Erin: How did you become interested in quality improvement?
Rohit: When I graduated with my Ph D, the first job I had was with AT&T Bell Labs. At that time, AT&T had just stopped being a manufacturing company and turned into a service provider. They were looking for how to improve the quality of services since there was no framework for service quality improvement. I started to work with the team developing service quality-improvement standards.
Erin: What are the biggest obstacles to a successful quality-improvement program?
Rohit: The greatest obstacle to a successful quality-improvement (QI) program is getting the leadership engaged. If the leadership does not support the things that the organization really needs/wants to do; if the leadership does not provide resources, does not think through the changes needed to take place and [is] not willing to put in place the changes that have been identified, then the QI program cannot be successful. Therefore the success of the QI program completely depends on the leadership.
Erin: What are your hopes for Kybele?
Rohit: As Kybele, we have be begun to be a much more systematic organization that is more planned, targeted and focused on how we are approaching our work. So my vision for Kybele, as we began to establish our work in Ghana, [is as follows]:
( 1 ) Begin to have an influence on the policy with Ghana Health Service to be able to change the way the administration approaches the deep issues related to maternal mortality.
( 2 ) Take the tools of learning and transfer them to other countries Kybele works in.
Rohit, thank you for all you do!