New partnership supports recruitment of women for tech jobs

Gale Woodland led the presentation on telemedicine at the Women in Technology in Tennessee August meeting, held at Vanderbilt's Center for Better Health. (Steve Green/Vanderbilt)
Gale Woodland led the presentation on telemedicine at the Women in Technology of Tennessee August meeting, held at Vanderbilt's Center for Better Health. (Steve Green / Vanderbilt)

by Joan Brasher

Vanderbilt’s commitment to maintaining a diverse workforce took another step forward recently when Human Resources officially partnered with Women in Technology of Tennessee (WiTT).

The organization was founded 13 years ago by a small group of technology-minded leaders in the Nashville area with the mission to “empower women in technology through education, outreach, mentoring and networking.”

Ruby Reyes served as co-presenter. (Steve Green / Vanderbilt)

WiTT held its August membership meeting at Vanderbilt’s Center for Better Health. Gale Woodland, a project manager at Vanderbilt Medical Group, and Ruby Reyes, health information systems project manager in Informatics, led a discussion on telemedicine and its potential applications at Vanderbilt. More than 60 people attended the event.

“It was great to see the interaction of women across industries coming together to share information and learn about the telemedicine initiative at Vanderbilt,” said Janet Rachel, talent acquisition manager, diversity, relocation and career navigation for Vanderbilt’s Human Resources. “Collaborations of this nature make me proud to be here and excited about our commitment to increase diversity and women in technology.”

See our slide show by campus photographer Steve Green at the end of this story.

Rachel said she views this type of collaboration as a good example of the university’s focus on diversity recruitment.

“[rquote]Attracting and retaining women in information technology roles is a key diversity goal for Vanderbilt,” Rachel said.[/rquote] “We recognized the unique alignment of our values and goals – ­­specifically, professional development, community involvement and commitment to the next generation of talent – which made WiTT an ideal partner.”

About 60 people attended. (Steve Green / Vanderbilt)

Telemedicine – the use of technology to provide health care at a distance –was the topic of discussion. Through their work, Woodland and Reyes evaluate where telemedicine is already being used at Vanderbilt and areas where it might be effective, in light of an increasingly technological health care environment. Possible uses include implementing remote hearing tests at a school, monitoring of home-bound patients’ vitals, holding patient consultations via video conference, virtual health fairs and even surgeries conducted long distance.

“Traditionally almost all outpatient care has been delivered by face-to-face office visits because that is how physicians were paid,” Woodland said. “With the shift to payment models that focus less on compensating for office visits and more on managing a population, practices will increasingly value alternative, more efficient and effective patient encounters.”

Heather Satterfield, marketing coordinator at the Breast Center at Vanderbilt Health One Hundred Oaks, was intrigued when she heard about the WiTT meeting and registered right away. As community educator on the risks of breast cancer, she hopes to use telemedicine to educate more people, particularly those in underserved and rural areas.

The Vanderbilt contingent at the WiTT gathering included Heather Satterfield (front right in black pants) of the Vanderbilt Breast Center. (Vanderbilt University / Steve Green)

“For me, this wasn’t just a class, it was the chance to learn about possible new ways to reach the community and save lives,” Satterfield said. “This was my first WiTT meeting, but I hope to continue attending and join, because it was so exciting to have a group of strong women to listen to my ideas and concerns.”

For more information about WiTT membership and upcoming meetings, visit the WiTT website.

Contact: Theresa Zuckowsky, (615) 343-7179