Making Connections and Taking a Risk with the TIGER Initiative

You never know what gifts and serendipitous fortune you might uncover at the beginning of a journey. At the outset, the road appears to lead one way, but then fate intervenes and a new opportunity reveals itself. I, like many, am both blessed and challenged with that seeking and restless spirit of the explorer; in taking risks, pursuing challenges, and being open to what may come your way when beginning a new professional journey or endeavor. More often than not, we encounter amazing people of conviction doing extraordinary work.

For me, it started with my pursuit of advanced education at San Jose State, and from there, a fortunate mix of desire, design, determination, timing and luck has led me to this point in my life: the inaugural TIGER (Technology Informatics Guiding Education Reform) intern position.

Having become familiar with the TIGER initiative while conducting research for my Master’s project, I kept going back to the HIMSS website to verify some of the information I was capturing. Informatics was becoming, as my children would say, ‘my jam.’

It was then that I ran across a page detailing the EU*US eHealth Work Project & Consortium. The part of my brain that oversees curiosity took over and, click, there it was—the page outlining the project. The scope and goals of this transatlantic effort really piqued my interest. I mean, a global survey designed to capture the needs, gaps and trends to help advance the global eHealth workforce funded by the European Commission Horizon 2020 grant program; count me in!

In September 2016, TIGER was co-awarded funding to address the needs, development, and deployment of workforce IT skills, competencies and training programs for trained eHealth workers. The 18-month project—spanning from September 2016 to February 2018—measures, informs, educates and advances development of a skilled eHealth workforce throughout the European Union, United States and globally. The overall project goal is to create a legacy of digitally empowered healthcare professionals now and in the future.

So, once again, that part of my brain that governs curiosity took over and one click later, the HIMSS page on becoming a volunteer popped up. Eyes scanning the page, I soon realized that I really didn’t meet any of the criteria yet, so I needed to let it go.

I had just been accepted into the California State University’s (CSU) Northern California Consortium, Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP), with a fair inkling of what lay ahead in pursuit of still higher education, my mind kept circling back to the TIGER EU*US eHealth Work Project. I heard the voice of one of my professors in my head saying, “Reach out, take risks, and say yes to everything.” Worst-case scenario was, that somebody would just say thank you, but no, thanks (cue the chirping crickets.)

Instead of silence or the dreaded auto-reply, I received a response from the amazing Toria Shaw, MSW, senior manager, clinical informatics, TIGER staff liaison at HIMSS North America. She opened the world of TIGER and asked me to step forward and trust her that this latest chapter, including meeting all the astonishing TIGER Committee members that have welcomed me, will make the lives of patients and caregivers better and healthier all over the world. Thus, starts my latest journey, and I start from a place of humble gratitude.


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