Displaced Medical Professional Takes Advantage of USAID Health Reform Opportunities to Start a New Career Chapter

Friday, May 22, 2020
Olena Kara, Deputy Chief Physician for Client Service and Information Policy of Kramatorsk outpatient center #1, introduces changes in her clinic and shares modern client-oriented approaches towards healthcare reform with her fellow colleagues.
Courtesy of Olena Kara

Ukraine’s health sector is undergoing major change with the introduction of primary health care (PHC) reform efforts, which are fundamentally transforming medical processes and policies and replacing Soviet-era management approaches. Like many other medical professionals in Ukraine, Olena Kara, Deputy Chief Physician at Kramatorsk Outpatient Center #1, dreamed of increasing the effectiveness of hospitals in eastern Ukraine and fully supported the rollout of the nationwide reforms. 

Forced to flee her home and job outside Donetsk, in 2014, due to the onset of armed conflict in Eastern Ukraine, Kara was able to relocate to Kramatorsk. 

In March 2019, she began working at Center #1, tasked with organizational and management issues. 

Not long after, she attended a USAID training that honed her skills in unexpected areas.

USAID’s Democratic Governance East Activity (DG East) initiated a medical training program structured to reinforce new management practices among local medical staff. The program empowers participants as change-makers and reformers. “Through these training sessions I became acquainted not only with medical reform initiatives, but with new business models such as client-oriented service and communications, time management and team building, and strategic planning,” recalled Kara. 

Following the training, Kara developed a customer-service strategy and initiated a continuous learning program at the center.  

Kara completed other courses in hospital management and her efforts soon reaped benefits. “In March 2020, I became Deputy Chief Medical Officer for Client Services and Information Policy. Software engineers, human resources and sanitation staff, and the medical statistics department all work under my leadership. Today our team is using the knowledge I obtained in the USAID training course to update the center's website and develop questionnaires on client experiences in our outpatient clinics,” said Kara. 

With Ukraine shutdown by the COVID-19 outbreak, Kara now focuses her efforts on helping the center treat patients affected by the coronavirus. "Thanks to new time management and strategic planning skills I am now developing the Center's information policy strategy to address the COVID-19 situation in the region," added Kara.

Kara's participation in the USAID training was the start of a whole new chapter in her professional career. “I am very grateful for the opportunity to develop myself as a medical professional and gain momentum for improvement of customer satisfaction in medical reform,” she explained.  

Last updated: September 16, 2020

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