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Kruse Scholars

Grace Savard

Graduate Degree Expected
MPH, Public Health Administration and Policy

Arden Hills, MN

College of St. Benedict and St. John’s University, Biology and Peace Studies

Please tell us why you are interested in the Kruse Scholar Program and how this aligns with your academic and professional goals.

As an aspiring Kruse Scholar, I am eager to engage in systems-based approaches that enhance performance, reduce costs, and improve quality of health care in partnership with communities. Through my time working in North Memorial Health’s first ever Population Health Care Management Program, I became drawn to strategic program and process development—a skill I hope to further develop as a Kruse Scholar. Utilizing the Lean Six Sigma framework, I worked with nurse care managers and social workers to effectively plan, execute, and integrate a care management program to meet the needs of individuals who frequently visited the emergency room. Driven to reduce waste and create efficient and standardized processes, we identified population-specific barriers to care and incorporated evidence-based strategies grounded in health coaching and shared decision-making. As the first team member hired for this program, I took on the role of building partnerships with community-based organizations. Recognizing that health outcomes are largely influenced by social determinants of health beyond the hospital’s walls, I streamlined closed-loop referral processes between North Memorial Health and various local food banks, housing assistance organizations, legal aid resources, and mental health supports. Together—linking the health care services of North Memorial Health with invaluable support from community-based organizations—we were able to address the multifaceted root causes of health disparities, help individuals stabilize their lives, and work alongside patients to create personalized, goal-oriented health plans.
In alignment with the Baldrige Performance Excellence Framework, I witnessed firsthand how investment from leadership and integration of strategy, workforce, customers, and operations can lead to sustainable results. Moving forward, as a Kruse Scholar, I hope to strengthen my understanding of quality improvement in communities and apply this knowledge to long-term care settings. I hope to explore how cross-sector initiatives can be implemented to align with the needs of older adults and organizations that serve them. Through attending the PENWorks Baldridge 101 training and Annual Conference, COE Annual Conference, and participating in Kruse Scholar cohort meetings with COE leaders, I look forward to engaging in creative innovation, thoughtful partnership, and working relentlessly together to build a healthier world.