Conversations with members of the Harvard and Radcliffe Class of 1992.
Hosted by Will Bachman.

Episode: 24

Susmita Pati, Professor of Pediatrics & Chief, Division of Primary Care Pediatrics

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Show notes

Susmita Pati has a A.B. in Chemical Sciences from Harvard and an MPH in Epidemiology from Columbia. She specializes in population health analytics, innovation, and system transformation to achieve health equity. Susmita is currently Professor of Pediatrics & Chief, Division of Primary Care Pediatrics at Stony Brook University and an external advisor for McKinsey. You can reach out to Susmita on LinkedIn.


Key points include:

  • 07:14: Research projects Sumita is working on
  • 28:04: Exercises in communication skills for health workers
  • 36:00: Examples of theatre-based training

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92-24.Sumita Pati


Susmita Pati, Will Bachman


Will Bachman  00:01

Hello, and welcome to the 90 T report conversations with members of the Harvard and Radcliffe class of 1992. I’m your host will Bachman and in I’m so happy to be here today with our college classmate, and also my high school classmate Sushmita, Patti Susmita. Welcome to the show.


Susmita Pati  00:21

Thanks very, very much well,


Will Bachman  00:24

so since bro High School Class of 88 represents here. It’s true. So Susmita, tell us about your journey since graduating from Harvard.


Susmita Pati  00:39

Sure. So I went back to our home state, University of Connecticut for medical school. And that was a great decision. It left me debt free at a relatively young age, which was really nice. Wait, wait,


Will Bachman  00:57

wait, how did that happen? Like?


Susmita Pati  00:59

Well, I mean, you know, the Yukon. Tuition in state tuition is a lot less than you know, if you’re going to a private university. So that’s the thing. That’s a real benefit when you go to your state medical school.


Will Bachman  01:15

Oh, gotcha. Okay, cool. So it wasn’t like a scholarship or something. There’s just a lot more.


Susmita Pati  01:18

No, oh, yeah. No, I did get a couple of those, too. But it was really just the tuition rate being less for in state residents than private school would


Will Bachman  01:29

  1. All right. Fantastic. So you go to medical school. All right. Yeah.


Susmita Pati  01:33

Yeah. And between my first and second year, I had the opportunity to go to Puerto Rico, to do interviews with migrant farmworker families about food security. And I was in a hill town called Sidra and interviewing families there. And found that I really enjoyed that kind of research, we were comparing food security for families who stayed in Puerto Rico to those who migrated to the Hartford area, I’m sure you probably remember, there’s a large Puerto Rican community in the Hartford area. So it was a lot of fun to do that. And I you know, stayed with a host family there. And so it was immersive. Also, I got you know, a lot of practice on my Spanish I’d taken a year in at college, after a bunch of years of high school French. So this was really a ton of fun. And I really enjoyed that kind of research a lot more than the biochemistry wet bench research that I had done in college. So it kind of kept that in mind. As I went through my training and was deciding between joining pediatrics or surgery, I really liked working with my hands, but ultimately, my love of kids one out and I went to Columbia in New York City for my residency, and stayed there for all three years of my residency and was invited to be a chief resident. So I stayed for that as well. And then during my chief residency, I really had to figure out what I was going to do next. So I knew I didn’t want to enter private practice, I thought I wanted to stay in academia. And so I looked at a couple of different opportunities. At the time, Harvard had a Commonwealth Fund, fellowship for minority physician leaders, where you’d get a master’s in public health and a lot of networking and mentoring. And I thought I’d applied for that and was offered a spot there. But I decided to stay in New York City and I did a general academic fellowship with internus as my mentors for research, because I wanted to stay in New York City for personal reasons. And that was really fun. I got that interdisciplinary perspective, being mentored by internist. And I also got to work with some OB folks as well. And I, of course, continuing my clinical work in pediatrics. And then I was in the right place at the right time. The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia was building a child health services, research group, population health, that kind of thing. And I was recruited as one of five folks there to join that group. And so that was my first faculty appointment at CHOP in the University of Pennsylvania in Philly. And I stayed there for eight and a half years, met my husband, they’re in Philly city of love. And they’re, you know, I got a lot of opportunities to do a lot of fun things yet again. Of course, a lot To pop health work around how to make things work better for everyone with a focus on health equity, improving disparities, access all of those kinds of things. And also, I was asked to join the Dean’s program to promote and retain women faculty in the School of Medicine, which is, I think we all know a big problem. And that was a lot of fun as well. And then I was recruited to come to Stony Brook where I became the Division Chief for primary care, pediatrics, there was a lot of modernization that needed to happen when I came, we were on paper, no electronic records. So I championed that. And we also had to do a lot in terms of modernizing our processes, there was really no standardization across the offices that we had, we had five offices across Suffolk County, and 15, folks, and so we had to do a lot of building and growing. And now you know, we have eight sites and about 30, folks. And I’ve done a lot of of that pop health work, health equity, advancement at the organizational level, making sure we maintain the highest quality of care. And all of that’s the professional side. And on the personal side, as I mentioned, you know, my husband and I met and we have now two wonderful children. Our daughter is 13. And our son is 15. And we really had a great time raising them here in Long Island where we’re, like I said, 10 minutes from the beach, and we’ve got water at the end of the street. Really good public school system. And we’ve made some really nice friends here, too. So that’s that’s where we’re at in a nutshell.


Will Bachman  07:04

Can you tell me about some of the pop health health equity work that you’ve done me described from the specific research projects you’ve been working on?


Susmita Pati  07:14

Yeah, absolutely. So one of the ones that I think our team is perhaps most proud of is this community health worker program that we ran for about eight and a half years, it was called keeping families healthy. And it uses community health workers to help families learn to become self sufficient in following clinical care recommendations. So what happens is, the pediatricians, or internist, or whomever can refer any patient that they think might be at high risk of having trouble following the recommendations that they’re being given for their health. And it can be any reason it can be, you know, okay, this patient has limited English proficiency, or this patient has a lot of complicated medical problems, or the family is financially stressed, or they don’t know how to, you know, fill out their insurance paperwork. Really anything under the sun and clinicians are usually pretty good at having a sense of who’s going to have trouble and who’s who’s going to be okay, even if they may not know the specifics. So just like we would refer folks to a cardiologist or a gastroenterologist, you make the referral and the community health worker, supervisor would do an initial intake with the family to find out a little bit more like where do they live? You know, what’s their reasons for participating in the program, what it might be other things that they’re looking for in terms of support. And that’s an evidence based assessment. And then their family is matched to a community health worker who is really culturally competent, a good match for that family. So someone generally who lives in the same geography, speaking the same language, if there’s a primary language that’s not English, particularly, potentially, you know, age, other things may be taken into consideration in terms of figuring out who’s going to be a good match for that family. And then that community health worker stays with the family using a protocol driven set of supports to help the family learn how to navigate the system and follow those clinical care recommendations independently. It’s you know, teach someone how to fish and then let them fish kind of thing. So once they’re ready, once everyone thinks they’re ready to fly solo in that way, then the family exits the pro Graeme. And so we ran that, as I said, for quite a number of years. And, you know, with my research had, we built in a lot of rigorous evaluation of it, and found that 50% reduction in so called preventable emergency room visits, we also found return on investment for families who had children with asthma was in three years. And that was externally validated by an organization called green and healthy homes initiative funded by the Environmental Protection Agency. And 16 to 20% improvement in up to date vaccination status for the children, zero to three years old. So lots of positive impacts that really, I think, are moving the needle by helping families learn how to do the things they need to do to navigate our incredibly complicated, fragmented healthcare system. So that’s, that’s how it worked.


Will Bachman  11:03

When you say community health workers, what’s that mean? Is that someone? Is that, like, a nurse? Is that no training? Is that a home health aide? Is that like, what kind of training and what yeah, what is what does that mean? Yeah,


Susmita Pati  11:19

that’s a lay person that we trained. So it’s somebody that we trained to really provide that support, of course, they were given a lot of basic preventive health education, tools, resources, things that you would usually get from your doctor’s office. So they would have those things at their fingertips, too. But it was a layperson that we trained and we supervise, in cooperation with a community based organization that had been providing those kinds of they’re, you know, sometimes they’re called peer support workers in other countries from other us, you know, so depending on if this is a very common thing across the globe, it has not been used very much in the US. And it’s time for us to use it, because we have a very fragmented system, and also Dinmont, demographically, our families don’t live necessarily around other family, you know, other family members, they may be far away, so they don’t necessarily have a helping hand, you know, to help sort them out or someone to guide them. And so those kinds of things, this is a good, you know, this is like a good neighbor offering a helping hand.


Will Bachman  12:35

Yeah, I can imagine the kind of health system as a whole invest all this resources in training someone like yourself and clinicians to, you know, maybe prescribe the right medication. So there’s all this infrastructure to do that. But then, it sounds like these health workers could help with the actual going and getting the prescription filled, or making sure that they understand, you know, not to take grapefruit juice or to take it, you know, three times a day and, and help them figure out some system for that. Right. So it’s like a fairly low cost, high effectiveness, give it give it give us some really specific examples of what these health workers might


Susmita Pati  13:15

might delay. Yeah, yeah, exactly. So one of the things that we had was a family that turned out to be completely illiterate. So, you know, what we did was we created for them, a blue card and an orange card for the inhalers that the child needed. So when the blue one ran out, that he would go to the pharmacy with the blue card, which had, you know, written in English, okay, I need a refill on this medicine for my child. And, you know, here’s my child’s name and date of birth, and, you know, insurance information. So, you know, creating those kinds of materials and then coaching the family on how to use it. Also coaching families on okay, you have this question, let’s call your doctor’s office and ask, some families don’t really understand how to do that, they may not understand that they can always ask for an interpreter, if they need it, all of those kinds of things are things that folks can do. So those, you know, those are the kinds of things that these community health workers do.


Will Bachman  14:26

Okay. And what would be like what would be some other examples of, of, you know, how they’re working, are they going and visiting the family in person and Yep, yeah, yeah,


Susmita Pati  14:41

we had them make home visits for sure. But they also would do a lot of remote follow up in between visits. So you know, texting, phone messages, all of those kinds of things were happening in between and Um, though, but the home visit was important because that was, you know, critical to establishing the relationship. Also for the community health worker to kind of do an environmental assessment, particularly for children with asthma, that’s an important thing to do to see if there might be environmental triggers that could be mitigated, and support families in perhaps working with their landlords to get things addressed that might need to be addressed.


Will Bachman  15:28

One phrase that I was curious about, if you could unpack for me like a lay person here, when you say it’s a protocol driven set of supports, what does that mean? There’s some kind of like, if then statements, if you see this thing do this, like, what exactly is that?


Susmita Pati  15:44

Yeah, so all the community health workers had iPads that were pre loaded with all kinds of materials. So it had a research database platform, to collect the evidence and materials, you know, the information that we needed to be able to do the evaluation of the program. So that was one piece of it. The other piece was also all of the materials, the health educational materials, videos, all of those kinds of things. So when the community health worker would enter, you know, for example, let’s just take a simple thing, the families been enrolled, because they have a newborn, it’s their first child, that would then lead them to in that system, a set of health education materials to share with the family around newborn care, in you know, different languages, videos, etc. And also prompt them to ask a series of questions, you know, what are you feeding? Are you breastfeeding, bottle feeding? You know, how do you have a rectal thermometer, those kinds of things, where’s the baby sleeping, makes sure the baby sleeps on their back all of the, you know, health education, kinds of support. So this is all evidence based health education materials, and also, you know, evidence based driven questions for the community health worker to ask. And also, we asked, using, again, evidence based tools to assess a family strengths and needs. So what are the what is the home environment? Like? What about the family, the neighborhood? asking those kinds of things? Using, you know, validated tools?


Will Bachman  17:27

I’ve had how, you know, so I’ve read a fair bit about, you know, how challenging kind of the whole research funding grant making process can be for researchers. In terms of the time requirement, I think some estimates are that 25% of a researchers time might be filling out grant applications and so forth. I’d be curious to hear your experience on, you know, what it’s like to, you know, get funding for a program like this, like, how long does it take in terms of calendar time? How much of your time does it take, you know, getting just like the font, right, or whatever, and the right measurements that they’re looking for? Talk to me a little bit about the process of getting funding.


Susmita Pati  18:18

Yeah, so you know, for different kinds of programs, you can go different avenues. Certainly, the federal government is a major source of scientific funding for universities across the country. And going, you know, applying for those grants, it’s a lot of time and effort. So, for example, any new faculty member, like when I was hired initially, at CHOP and pen, you want to give them 75, you know, 70, to 70, to 80%, protected time, meaning they’re not seeing patients or doing other things, they have that entire amount of time to be able to build the skills and apply for grants, so that they can obtain those grants to support their research work. So it’s a lot of time and effort there. You know, that’s being devoted, especially in the early years, as you get more experienced, it gets more efficient. At the same time, you know, you really do you know, if you’re going to be doing a research project that’s funded by the NIH, federal government, as a lead investigator, the general recommendation is on a big project, you’re going to be spending at least 20 to 30% of your time leading and developing that project and implementing it. That, you know, that’s then there’s all of the time that you’ve invested in preparing the application and all of those kinds of things. So it’s a major time intensive effort. And, you know, the other pathway so for example, in this program, we actually had funding from New York state through A number of initiatives that the state has offered over the years this was particularly initially funded by a heel six grant, which is the health care efficiency and affordability law. That was enacted some years ago. And so the organization was really tasked with improving Primary Care Access and care coordination. And this program met that need the evaluation piece we laid on top of it. And that was funded by some internal seed grants that we successfully obtained here within the university. And then we subsequently sustained the program, using funds that were, again coming from the state, but actually, originally from the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services, and that were administered by the state for the hospital medical home demonstration project, again, as an effort to really provide care coordination and care management that positively you know, has positive impact on health outcomes. So you have to be very creative in, in the healthcare space in thinking about how can you take advantage of, you know, and really maximize the resources that are available in your particular environment. And New York has a history of being fairly progressive in this area, which is one of the reasons I decided to come, you know, to New York, and in thinking about what we could do, and as a State University, again, public education being a mandate, we do get, you know, opportunities for some types of funding that private universities may or may not get. So those are just, you know, that’s sort of the landscape.


Will Bachman  21:50

What are the prospects now and what’s going on, to help take the learnings from your research around community health workers and embed that and make it more of a permanent aspect of our healthcare system?


Susmita Pati  22:08

Well, there’s a lot of interest in this space at the moment, again, from CMS, I think, and we will see how that evolves across the country. Unit. As you know, I’m also an external advisor to McKinsey and Company. And in my work there, were you know, we’re learning about how payers, insurers, as well, as private practitioners, are interested in exploring these kinds of value based care models. Because you really can bend that cost curve, not for the highest expense groups where, you know, children who have really complicated problems, adults who have really complicated problems and multiple problems. That’s not what we’re talking about. We’re talking about everybody in between, you know, who really just needs a helping hand to understand how to do what they need to do to be as healthy as possible.


Will Bachman  23:04

In terms of how you split your time. Tell us about that a little bit. Are you still doing kind of clinical work seeing patients teaching and research and administration?


Susmita Pati  23:18

Yeah, I wear a lot of hats. I still see patients, that’s very important to me. I do that a half day a week. And that’s really what keeps me grounded. And, you know, it sounds like half day a week may not be much, but in our environment, that’s up to 16 patients that I might see in that half morning, in the morning, rather. So that’s, you know, some of my time, the rest of my time I, as the chief of the division, I would say I spend maybe 40% 50% of my time doing administrative work related to that. And I’ve really tried to set up ways that I can put things together, you know, kill three birds with one stone if I can’t. And so, you know, the quality improvement work we’ve done in maintaining our medical home recognition. We have residents and medical students and nursing students and other folks who are interested in looking at that to see how are we doing with our clinical quality metrics. And so that’s research as well as education as well as administration all in one, one go. And then one of the other hats that I wear is as Chief Medical Program Advisor for the Alan Alda center for communicating science here at the university. And that’s about another you know, day a week or so that I spend time with that team, developing our work in that area.


Will Bachman  24:59

Tell us But that a little bit communicating science, what are you doing around that?


Susmita Pati  25:03

Yeah, so this is a lot of fun. This really grew out of the recognition. I think, folks know, you know, team communication within the healthcare workforce is not always the best. There’s certainly room for improvement. And I met the director of the oldest Center at a faculty luncheon for women. And we started talking about that problem. And at the time, I was chair of our professionalism committee here at the hospital. And one of the recurring challenges that would come up in those dis committee discussions was interprofessional communication. So the all dissenter uses theater improvisational exercises. So drawing upon the discipline of the theatre arts, combining that with strategy and message design, to really build communication skills that are more clear, more vivid. And they originally began with a donation from Alan Alda, who’s probably best known for his work as a on mash, playing Hawkeye Pierce. And he came to this idea. After mash, he hosted Scientific American frontiers on PBS. And he found that using improvisational theater exercises really helped the scientists communicate more clearly and vividly about their work. So that was the really the genesis of the center. And they had been working a lot with STEM scientists, and hadn’t yet really fully developed the health care modules. So I joined them about five years ago. And we developed several modules one around health care team communication, one around leadership and one around negotiation. And we’re really thrilled that we actually now have a grant from HERSA to offer the health care team training to 500 healthcare workers at Stony Brook medicine. And we’re doing that in partnership with our patient experience officer to really try and change organizational culture to improve those communication skills. Because we know improving those things can help with lots of downstream pain, you know, patient safety issues, health care, workforce resilience, potentially reducing burnout, all of the kinds of things that we’re hoping to make a positive impact here.


Will Bachman  27:54

Wow, this is fascinating. Give us some examples of the types of exercises that you would have health care workers do to improve communication skills.


Susmita Pati  28:04

Yeah, well, so some of that we’re doing right now in having this conversation. So one of the core principles in improv is this idea of Yes. And so when most people think of improv, I think a lot of folks think about, you know, being somersaults or cartwheels on stage. But having a conversation is also improvisation. You’re listening, I’m listening, we’re responding to each other, and adding our thoughts. So we talk about that principle. And we do some, you know, fun exercises to break that down into lots of different parts to really build active listening.


Will Bachman  28:47

So the so this is about communicating with other healthcare professionals or with the patient’s or both of those things.


Susmita Pati  28:58

Yeah, the modules we’ve developed are focused on healthcare professionals communicating with each other. There’s a lot of training that is required in all kinds of really all the health professions, nursing, medicine, respiratory, etc, that focuses on patient provider communication, there’s a lot less, if not almost nothing, about communicating with each other. So everyone goes to school, they graduate and the next day, you’re supposed to work together as a team. But no one’s really focused on teaching you how to do that. Don’t get me wrong, we degree in codes, right? And when someone’s coding, we know exactly what to do. But most of what we’re doing is not codes, thankfully. So that communication that happens all the rest of the time. That’s what this is focused on.


Will Bachman  29:49

Interesting. So where are some areas that that kind of communication could break down, give it give us a, you know, a real or hypothetical example of, you know, who Who’s not sharing? What is it? You know that you’re just not, you know, telling the full story or not communicating what meds need to be, you know, provided or sort of, like, give us some examples of, you know, the current state of what, what needs to be improved?


Susmita Pati  30:15

Yeah, well, you have sometimes, you know, you have a patient who’s hospitalized. And there’s lots of different teams taking care of that patient, there’s the nursing team, there’s the medicine team. And so if they don’t know what each other is doing fully, or what the challenges might be, then you don’t know how to move forward with making a plan for helping that patient get better, and go home. So you know, for example, you know, sometimes people may forget to say something, or they may not feel comfortable, challenging or disagreeing with someone who’s in, you know, a position a different position. So we hear that a lot. What you know, that people in, you know, so called, you know, lower positions in the medical hierarchy, have a lot of trouble feeling comfortable, challenging folks in so called higher positions of authority, even when they may know something that might be useful or helpful to think about that might benefit the patient.


Will Bachman  31:22

Can you share, like an example of you potentially a hypothetical patient? But what would an example of something be where maybe a more lower prestige kind of healthcare worker at a lower part of the totem pole might know? Something? Like, what would be what would be that thing that they’ve noticed or know about the patient? Well, and? And who might they know, sharing it with?


Susmita Pati  31:46

Yeah, well, you know, sometimes people know something like, well, this person, you know, really, for them, the most important thing that they’re focused on is going to their grandchild’s, you know, second birthday party, and they’re willing to, you know, like, not have their treatment that day or their, you know, skip that treatment that day in order to be able to do that. But the patient doesn’t necessarily want to say that to the doctor. And, you know, the social worker, or the nursing team member, may or may also just not think, Okay, well, you know, I don’t know, does the doctor know that how important that is, they may not think to say it, or they may not feel comfortable with the doctor said, you know, it’s really important for you to get that treatment that at that particular time. So those are the kinds of things that can happen, when we don’t have open lines of communication.


Will Bachman  32:43

Yeah, that’s interesting, I imagined that there might be other things like they observed over the night, that patient asked for pain meds four times, or had to ask for help three times to go to the bathroom or something, just things that the the, the frontline staff might have been observed and aware of, but not feel comfortable or know that they should be sharing it right.


Susmita Pati  33:07

Yeah, exactly. And then, you know, sometimes, you know, people eat, you know, in just thinking about, you know, who to hire. And you’re, you know, when you’re doing interviews and getting, you know, different perspectives, what is the process for doing that? You know, are you getting diverse perspectives. So, you know, can translate all, you know, across the healthcare system to so many different pieces of


Will Bachman  33:36

the puzzle, that’s interesting, this whole thing is reminding me of my navy days, where we had a ton of very explicit instruction and process around how to do watch relief. And you know, when you were getting relieved, as a engineering officer of the watch, we had this whole process that we were taught to follow where you would, you know, when you were coming on, watch, you do a 15 minute tour of the whole engine room, and you’d review everybody’s logs, and then you’d walk in and talk to the, you know, off going in, during off the watch and have a very formal process of, you know, I’m ready to relieve you, I’m ready to read and I’m ready to be relieved, and you’d walk through here’s the status of electric plant reactor plant, the engineering plant. Here’s all the maintenance we did, here’s the, you know, status of anything in progress. There’s any warning lights we had. And it sounds like, you know, sort of in the healthcare field, that maybe there’s some aspects of that that work really well. But some aspects that were the handoffs aren’t, aren’t happening. So


Susmita Pati  34:38

it’s, yeah, it’s, it is interesting. And, you know, back when I was in medical school, I actually was thought about the parallels between the military and the healthcare system, because both are very hierarchical in nature. But the healthcare system is it functions very differently, and we’re talking about human beings. So we’re not talking about machines, human beings, of course, have physiology and all of those things. So you can standardize a lot of that. But getting to know a person’s feelings, emotions, their lives, that requires building trust. And you have to build that trust with your colleagues, as well as with your patients. So we’re great at really focusing on the patient, we’re not so great at focusing on each other. And so when we don’t focus on each other, then we can’t function really well as a team.


Will Bachman  35:39

Beyond kind of the Yes. And can you share any examples of the theater based training that you’re doing? Do you kind of have some role plays that you put people through where they act out different, you know, maybe some role that they don’t normally perform? Or how do you how do you start building this this communication skill set?


Susmita Pati  36:00

Yeah, so the way we do it is, we have two facilitators in the room, we have an improvisational Lee trained facilitator, usually someone with a background in theatre arts, who leads the group through these exercises. And we have a clinical facilitator who helps the to think about after you do an exercise, well, how could you apply this particular communication skill in your day to day work? How can you apply Yes, and in your day to day work? Those kinds of things are what happens in the room, during the training, the exercises themselves, it’s really kind of hard to share that it’s there, it’s a little bit of, we draw upon a book that was written by Viola Spolin. And she does a beautiful job, you know, describing some of the exercises that she developed and used back when she originated this work with actually Children’s Theatre, immigrant Children’s Theatre in Chicago. So stolons book has a lot of the exercises that we use, in and very nicely described. And then the way that we do it, that’s the part that we call the all the method. That’s our secret sauce.


Will Bachman  37:25

Okay. I wanted to loop back to something you talked about earlier, would merit shop of, you know, helping you on the committee to help make it more make the institution better at retaining, and women perhaps recruiting women? Talk to me about that a little bit? What were some of the challenges of retention that you helped look at your dress? Yeah,


Susmita Pati  37:49

well, you know, there’s, this has been a long standing problem, there’s very few women in the highest levels of leadership in academic medicine. And unpacking that is kind of tricky. So what we did was we convened a series of task forces, using an external facilitator, where we asked department leaders to really brainstorm about ways to improve the environment to retain women faculty, and we came up with 100 recommendations or so and we publish that in the peer reviewed literature, to lay them all out. So there’s a lot of different things that can be done at the organizational level, to help promote and retain women faculty, I think one of the strongest things we know that works, is mentorship and sponsorship. So there’s a difference between those things. You know, the sponsor is the one who’s willing to when the person is not in the room, raise their hand and say, I think this person would be great for this, you know, leadership opportunity or, you know, giving them a raise or, you know, really supporting and advancing that person’s career. A mentor is someone who gives advice, but doesn’t necessarily, you know, do the sponsorship part. So those are two separate things. And sometimes you can have, you know, both from one person but it takes a lot of sponsorship to really help women advance.


Will Bachman  39:31

And in terms of kind of where those recommendations have gone, have you seen some of them getting put into place and, and making a dent on the problem?


Susmita Pati  39:42

I definitely seen lots of organizations putting things into place. It’s difficult to assess the impact. I think there’s a lot of work on going to try to assess the impact. But the impact is really long term. and getting that data. I don’t know that we have a ton of data in that area yet.


Will Bachman  40:07

I want to turn to the section of the show where I asked about Harvard course in professors. Were there any Harvard courses or professors that you had that continued to resonate with you?


Susmita Pati  40:21

Absolutely. The one that stands out in my mind is justice. And Michael Sandel is course, that first year those principles and thoughts about philosophy and debates, those are things that I still think about almost every day.


Will Bachman  40:42

And I normally don’t get into this, but, you know, I got to ask, since what about high school? So you know, I got I’m just curious, any, any teachers that we had at Simsbury that you know, where the class, you still think about it from time to time?


Susmita Pati  41:01

Oh, yeah, there’s actually there’s quite a number of them that still, you know, come to mind time to time. We had our math teacher you remember Mrs. dopa? Carolyn? doback. Yes, absolutely. Our bio teacher, Mr. Cohen, our Chem teacher, Mr. STG fast. Yeah, yeah. So you know, of course, Mrs. Miller, our English teacher, that was a 10th grade, right?


Will Bachman  41:29

Wrong. bomo? Yeah. I remember she made she went through the whole room and made us all pronounce all John. But the only French word I can pronounce.


Susmita Pati  41:40

Yeah, lots of you know, those are early impressions. They stick with you.


Will Bachman  41:45

Yeah. And Mr. Archibald had a big effect on me our English teacher,


Susmita Pati  41:51

as well. Yeah, I remember him of course. Yeah.


Will Bachman  41:56

In terms of what would surprise you, What would surprise your college age self about kind of how your how journey is played out?


Susmita Pati  42:07

I never thought I’d be able to live so close to the beach. You know, I really didn’t. But I think that has worked out really well.


Will Bachman  42:20

Fantastic. Susmita. Where can people find out about your research and just find out what you’re doing? Do you want to point them to a URL somewhere?


Susmita Pati  42:31

Well, you know, I mean, everyone’s on LinkedIn. I think certainly, that’s one spot to go. But the all dissenter has its website, as well, if folks are interested in that. And, you know, those are the two spots that I would say off the top of my head. And, you know, we just keep plugging along.


Will Bachman  42:51

Fantastic. Well, we will include those links in the show notes, and listeners. If you haven’t already, you can visit 92 Sign up for the email where we’ll let you know about the latest episode Susmita it’s been so great catching up and hearing about your amazing work and thank you for the work you’re doing on health equity and improving outcomes.


Susmita Pati  43:15

Thank you so much. Well, a pleasure as always