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Member Spotlight - February 2017
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Eve DeVaro, MA, CPXP


Director, Patient Advocacy
Bon Secours Baltimore Health System
Baltimore, Maryland

In her role, Eve is responsible for the comprehensive oversight of patient advocacy initiatives for an urban health system including an 88-bed acute care facility serving medical, surgical, psychiatric and Department of Corrections patients; outpatient primary and specialty care services; outpatient behavioral health services; and over 600 residential housing units. She is responsible for promoting and protecting patient rights in all service settings, including responding to quality of care complaints and grievances; facilitating ethics consultations; staff education on industry best practices in the areas of patient experience, patient satisfaction and trauma-informed care; and strategic alignment of advocacy programs across the health system. 

WHAT IS YOUR MOST SIGNIFICANT ACCOMPLISHMENT IN YOUR ROLE?

Though I’ve worked as a hospital-based patient advocate only in the past six years, I have over twenty years of experience in healthcare ethics, and a major longtime advocacy interest of mine has been the rights of psychiatric patients. Bon Secours has a vibrant behavioral health service line, including an inpatient unit, outpatient clinic, partial hospitalization programs, substance abuse programs, residential housing, specialized case management and assertive community treatment programs. I am very proud to have expanded access to advocacy services for the clients served by these programs, as I believe that people living with mental illness are among the most marginalized and misunderstood.

I am also proud to have been among the first cohort of advocacy professionals to earn the CPXP designation.

WHAT IS THE BIGGEST CHALLENGE YOU ARE CURRENTLY FACING?

Like many organizations, a scarcity of resources is probably our biggest challenge. Given the often massive barriers to health and wellness facing our community, one can easily become discouraged. A recently published community health needs assessment noted that the average life expectancy for an adult in our service area of southwest Baltimore is 15-20 years younger than just 4-5 miles up the road. In that context, finding ways to make meaningful, sustainable impacts with such limited resources is a very real and daily challenge.

WHAT ARE YOUR VIEWS ON THE FUTURE OF PATIENT EXPERIENCE?

My hope for the future of patient experience work is that it will focus its attention squarely on mental illness, addiction and trauma. Too often, the lived experiences of those living with mental illness are overlooked, yet I believe they account for much of society’s most profound suffering. And though the voices are marginalized, they are many. Before we can “wow” a person with outstanding service, we need to understand their reality, enter into it with them and develop empathic approaches to build trust and connection.

WHAT DO YOU DO FOR FUN WHEN NOT WORKING?

I love to sing, and studied classical voice for twelve years throughout middle school, high school and college, so singing remains a fun and therapeutic way to relieve my stress. I am also a voracious reader of both fiction and nonfiction and a lover of good food and red wine. When I’m at home, I look forward to spending quality time with my husband and two school-aged children.

WHY DID YOU JOIN THE BERYL INSTITUTE?

Quite simply, because it’s awesome! I was a member of both SHCA and Beryl, so when they merged, I felt like it was meant to be. I depend on the advice and support of my colleagues in the PAC, as well as the white papers, webinars and annual conference to keep me professionally engaged and well informed. I very much value my membership!

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