Q&A with LaVeda Bacetti
Just shy of her four year anniversary with the agency, LaVeda Bacetti, MPH is stepping up and into the newly created Senior Director of Practice Operations role. She brings 27 years of experience in health care administration and program development. In her tenure, she has overseen the move of nearly all of our community sites: Baltimore County clinic to its space in the newly-built Eastern Family Resource Center in 2017 (one month after she started), the Convalescent Care Program from the emergency shelter to hotels during the pandemic, and the current transition of our West Baltimore clinic to the renovated third floor of Grace Medical Center. Through it all, she's kept the day-to-day operations across community sites running smoothly with humor and appreciation for her staff. Learn more about LaVeda and her new role:.
What led you to work for Health Care for the Homeless?
From a very young age, I knew I’d pursue a career in health care. At Dartmouth, I completed a pre-med track. Before entering medical school, I was invited to work at Hopkins which re-routed my trajectory towards a public health practice—with the goal of keeping people well.
I’ve been practicing health administration, both in public health and health care services, for over 27 years. Throughout my journey, I’ve been blessed to partake in a number of very exciting opportunities, such as writing peer-reviewed articles and chapters in professional publications; collaborating to design national credentialing standards and trainings for community health workers; serving as a leading authority on disparate health and mobilizing communities on local and national boards, at symposia, and in the media; leading activists to bring low cost/ no-cost colorectal screening and treatment to Baltimore City; coordinating Maryland’s first ever statewide Health Disparities conference; formulating the MD State Office of Minority Health and Health Disparities and designing its website; developing and co-authoring Neighborhood Health Profiles and Healthy Baltimore 2015; and guiding nurses and social workers on the B’More for Healthy Babies team that realized the City’s lowest infant mortality rate on record in 2015 (an overall 19% decline from the previous year and a 50% decline since 2009 for African-American infants).
I was first introduced to Health Care for the Homeless while visiting local agencies and was impressed by the comprehensive services provided. Accepting a position here aligned with my passion for social justice and commitment to improve the health and quality of life for individuals and communities.
You oversee practice operations for our community and mobile sites. What does that look like on the ground week-to-week?
Looks like juggling…health administration involves planning, analyzing, organizing, controlling, coordinating and regulating the use of resources to ensure objectives are met efficiently and effectively. It’s a very versatile and multifaceted profession which is most effective with the cultivation of strong collaborative relationships. At Health Care for the Homeless, I partner not only with fellow directors, but also host sites, community agencies, and, of course, our community teams.
I feel particularly fortunate to work with such an extraordinary group of astute, talented and compassionate staff; I truly have the best staff ever.
How will this new Senior Director position differ from your role as Regional Director of Area Operations?
The Senior Director role expands my department to include outreach/community health workers, case management and medical assistants at community sites, as well as the Enrollment and Call Center teams agency-wide. Community sites locations (Baltimore Country, West Baltimore, Convalescent Care, Our Daily Bread and Mobile Clinic) typically work as a coordinated network of “sister- sites”, if you will. In the days to come, we should see increased collaboration not only amongst disciplines, but also between our locations.
What are you looking forward to most in the practice operations restructure?
The re-branding of Practice Ops has been in the works for quite some time, always with the goal of aligning work with industry standards and outlining a pathway for professional growth to enable us to retain talent. I most look forward to seeing passion, pride and respect for the full breadth of the health administration profession.
I also anticipate the newly crafted Agency Access Manager role will lay the foundation to expand our community reach and position Health Care for the Homeless to be the provider of choice for persons experiencing housing insecurity.
What is one way you see a racial equity approach influencing the way you approach practice operations?
I see REI as part of the work—not a separate program—but rather, an aspect of what we do all day, every day. Building a culture of equity and inclusion in the workplace requires a rigorous approach to identify and build awareness of inequities, pinpoint root causes (be it sexism, racism or classism), then proactively invest the time, energy and resources necessary to implement a corrective strategy.
Health Care for the Homeless has opened the dialogue for staff, clients, board members and partners to speak their truths and learn from each other.
How will you celebrate the promotion?
My ideal celebration would be to connect with my team through in-person, team-building activities. In previous positions, I’ve enjoyed staff socials extended to loved ones with fun events like bowling, carnival, paintball, hikes, retreats, etc. I’d love to do something like that, but we will likely need to wait until we’re a bit further progressed through this pandemic.
Any hobbies or surprising facts about yourself?
Little known quirky fact… Back in the day, I taught Latin dance (Salsa, Meringue, Bachata) with my husband at the University of Maryland. I still enjoy dancing and every genre of music.
Nowadays, my all-time favorite pastime, besides brain teasers and logic puzzles, is game nights with family and friends—loaded with interactive activities like improv, pool, volleyball, Taboo, Family Feud, Pictionary, cards and other board games.
Extend a warm congratulations to LaVeda when you see her next!
Read more about our Practice Ops restructure