Q&A with Muhammed Mamman
Say hello to the agency’s inaugural Director of Client Access, Muhammed Mamman, MBA, MHA! A graduate of the University of Maryland Global Campus, Muhammed earned a Bachelor of Science in Psychology before going on to pursue both a Masters of Science in Health Care Administration and a Masters of Business Administration. Prior to joining us in May, Muhammed spent 14 years improving health care delivery across Maryland, most recently as a Director of Business Development with Renaye James Health Care Advisors. His warm personality and passion for improving client health are a welcome addition as a leader of this new department. Take a moment to learn more about Muhammed’s approach to care and the future of client access across the agency.
You’ve spent almost all of your career in health care settings. What has drawn you to health care administration in particular?
I am drawn to health care administration because of its critical role in supporting the clinical and business aspects of health care—especially in the ever-evolving health care industry. I recognize the value of strengthening organizational growth, and revenue, while helping to improve the quality of client care and employee satisfaction.
Ultimately, I am drawn to health care administration because of my strong desire to continue making an impact in community health, and helping people live better lives. Improving client access to care is at the core of my belief, which makes this position profound to me. I would characterize it as vast in scope, fun and challenging. I enjoy and thrive in challenging environments.
You are coming on board as the inaugural Director of Client Access. What does “client access” mean exactly, and why is it important as its own department?
While the idea of client access might vary across the industry, and in many cases across geographic region, to me “access” encompasses the ability for clients to seek and receive services they need, where they need it, and in a timely manner. It also means a continued approach to sustaining client care, as we provide a holistic care approach that is central to our mission.
Prioritizing client access and giving it its own department is crucial to the organization. Call center, mobile clinic and benefits enrollment staff are often the first point of contact for clients and are very crucial to the client experience. Staff in this department also remove or alleviate barriers to care. Transportation, for example, is the number one barrier clients are facing on a daily basis, and something we're continually trying to help alleviate. With the mobile clinic, we are able to address some of those barriers by connecting to the community and delivering services that meet people where they are.
Improving client access is not something that's unique to Health Care for the Homeless; it's something that is national. It’s so easy for people to fall out of care, often because they simply can’t connect with their providers. It could be a transportation issue, or there may be financial barriers, but that shouldn’t ever keep someone from receiving care.
We have to think of the first set of eyes a client sees, or the first voice they hear. As welcome as I felt coming into the organization, I want my team members to display that for clients on a daily basis. Clients need to know that we’re there for them at every stage of their journey. I want clients to experience that and feel that companionship.
I think its equally important that we always keep our teammates and associates in mind. This is a very busy workplace, but we need to make space to congratulate and reward individuals for the important work they do on a daily basis.
How has your understanding of “client access” changed in the midst of COVID-19?
The COVID-19 pandemic has certainly increased my zeal to enhance client access by helping remove barriers to care. Aside from initiating innovative ways to improve clients’ access to care during the pandemic through virtual visits, drive-through services, and vaccination drives, the pandemic reaffirms my belief in the fact that barriers to care can be mitigated.
Improving client access is a key component of the agency’s Racial Equity and Inclusion (REI) plan. How do you see that REI lens influencing your approach to the work?
As a health care organization and an advocate for ending homelessness in Baltimore, it is significant that we continue to help create more equitable systems for marginalized individuals. We should continue to utilize the Consumer Relations Committee of the Board of Directors to advance best practices and give our clients a voice in the access approach.
This committee (what other places I’ve worked call a Patient and Family Advisory Council) allows for a more meaningful dialogue between clients and the organization. It tells us what clients think about our organization, the challenges we're facing in the community, and leaves room to discuss how we can improve or resolve those challenges. Prioritizing client voice in that way is something every organization should be paying attention to, and I really appreciate the fact that Health Care for the Homeless is embracing that approach.
What should staff (and others!) know about your leadership style and vision for the department?
I am an avid supporter of the transformational leadership style. This style establishes strong relationships, empowers team collaboration, strongly promotes learning and stimulates creativity. My vision for the department is to build upon these attributes as we collaboratively work towards improving client access, organizational growth, and help improve quality of care.
What I like about this style is it lets you and I sit together. That way we can establish goals, and it gives space for us to work and grow together. As a supervisor it gives me a chance to know the staff areas I would love to grow with and improve on as well, which is ultimately helping the organization grow, too. When you have happy team members and associates, it drives improved care that will be felt at the client level.
How did you celebrate the job offer?
The first call I made was to my mom in Nigeria. We grew up in challenging areas and didn't have access to care. The one thing my mom always instilled in me was to try and help people get into care. This was the first time where the organizational name, the mission, and the vision meant so much to us as a family. Later that evening, I went to dinner to celebrate with my friends and family.
What is something that helps you find balance outside of work?
It’s very simple for me: it’s my kids. I have two young girls: 3 years and 9 months. Spending time with those little rascals and my family keeps me balance and overjoyed.
Give Muhammed a warm welcome when you see him!