Light-skinned Black woman smiles at the camera wearing a blazer and hoop earrings
Meet our new Senior Director of Health Informatics

02.20.24

Q&A with Wynona China

We are delighted to announce the promotion of Wynona China from Director of Health Informatics to Senior Director of Health Informatics. In the last five years with us, Wynona transformed our approach to data, oversaw the transition to a new electronic health record system (athenaOne) and is now diving into medical records management. She’s a local Poly grad, a Zeta Pi Beta sister and proud mother to twins. Since getting her undergraduate degree in computer science and her master of business administration at Towson University, Wynona has dedicated herself to combining technological expertise with a passion for helping people receive the care they deserve. Keep up with her if you can!


You just hit your five-year anniversary at Health Care for the Homeless. What's kept you engaged and dedicated to the work?

It felt like it went so fast! But I love what I do. I like working with data and spent the last two years helping transition us to a new electronic health record (EHR) system. I’m connected not only to the mission, but to the people I work with. I feel a responsibility and a loyalty. Having a good EHR and a place to collect your data and be able to report from is important. And if it isn't done thoroughly, I think it can really put an agency in trouble. That keeps me motivated and dedicated to doing the work.

How have the roles of data and health informatics changed during your time here?

I've been working with informatics for more than 20 years. When I first got started, staff would come in and ask for data, but it was always in retrospect. It would be like, “We've done all this work, now tell us what the data shows we did.”

I always saw informatics as a way of helping to make better decisions, and the only way to do that is to look at data in a more proactive way. I have been able to help the agency to start seeking out trends in real time—whether that’s assessing our revenue or identifying client needs. Data can help us forecast what we should do to create better health outcomes. In general, I think more staff respect and understand that health informatics is a partner in decision-making. I really love this change, because that's what I set out to do when I started my career.

In this new role as Senior Director of Health Informatics, you now oversee medical records management in addition to health informatics. Tell us about the work of medical records.

A lot of people don't understand the importance of medical records, how it ties into health informatics and what the team really does. But it's super important. On a very basic level, the medical records team is instrumental in protecting clients’ data, protecting their privacy, and making information available to them if and when they need it.

We all need access to our medical records for various reasons—taxes, for our personal use, for subpoenas. And when we need those records, we need them quickly.

I just learned that tax season is super busy for medical records. A lot of clients ask for their own billing records. Others want to claim a child as a dependent, and they need to prove that they’ve paid for the child’s medical care when they’re not the sole guardian. This is just one scenario that the team has to navigate—making sure to follow legal requirements for who can access what records and how to transmit information securely.

What are the primary goals for your departments this year?

My biggest goal with medical records is educating staff about what the team does. Medical Records Coordinator Pat Scott and Medical Records Specialist Danielle Shields have a wealth of knowledge that we need to download and start putting together standardized practices and protocols. Hospitals have big medical record teams that I think we could learn from and mimic at a smaller level, too.

In health informatics, we will continue to build out a lot of trainings—Athena is ever changing! We've found that we need to provide more support with computer literacy, too. So we are going to start a new series on basic computing, things like how to share your computer screen during a meeting. Similarly, we are thinking about trainings for clients; how to log into the patient portal and how to access your patient records.

Lastly, I really want to highlight our staff portal page so that staff can see what’s happening in both departments. Take a look!

How is racial equity and inclusion shaping the work of your teams or your approach as a leader?

This one is personal for me for a lot of reasons. My dad was one of the first five Black men who was accepted and attended Gilman School (in Baltimore). As a man who was taken out of the inner city, going to this all-white school, and then going to Cornell University (in Ithaca, NY), he taught me a lot of things about how to navigate in a white man’s business world. He told me to fight, but not in my workplace, because that's the place that you must protect yourself in order to feed your family. Historically, having these conversations got people fired. So for me this is very hard.

I’ve been doing the work my whole life. But “racial equity” is never separated for me from gender equality or mental health. I’m Black, I’m a woman, I’m a mother of an autistic son. All of those identities shape me. And I was always taught to be fair, to listen. It didn't matter race, color, creed.

As a leader, I work to give my team opportunities to speak, to step up, to take ownership. Once we started using tools such as Tableau and Power BI to visually display data, we made a conscious effort to carve out data with race, ethnicity, gender and housing status. We make sure every report, whether staff ask for it or not, has those components. But now we feel like, OK, that's not enough to just carve it out. Now we need to call out disparities such as the difference between housing statuses and ethnicity, insurance coverage and ethnicity or controlled blood pressure and race/ethnicity. This has felt like a natural progression in how we view data. Now these trends shape our decisions and focus as an agency, including performance improvement goals.

What helps you find balance or joy outside of work?

I turned 50 this year, and I still love doing nerdy things. On Fridays, I get a glass of wine, binge watch television and put together Legos. I love little, teeny Legos. I have the Pyramid of Giza, the Sphinx, flowers. I'm a big family girl, so I enjoy hanging out with my daughter, my son and my sisters.


Whether you nerd out over data or Legos, congratulate Wynona on the promotion when you see her next!

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