“We are on the brink of greatness here at Inova Mount Vernon, we will be a market leader” — these are the words of Deborah Addo — Chief Execute Officer (CEO) of Inova Mount Vernon Hospital in Alexandria Virginia (IMVH) — during an interview with Oral Ofori of #TheAfricanDream in January 2015.
Inova Mount Vernon Hospital is a 237-bed state-of-the-art hospital that provides services within a community environment. The hospital is recognized in the USA for being home to the Inova Joint Replacement Center and Inova Rehabilitation Center, both ranked among the top orthopedic and rehabilitation programs in USA. It is also the administrative and clinical home for the Inova Wound Healing Center, the largest and most experienced of its kind in the Washington DC area.
Deborah Addo whose father is originally from Ghana, joined the multiple award winning IMVH in June 2014 with nearly three decades of leadership experience in health care operations and management. Prior to joining Inova, she served as Chief Operating Officer and Senior Vice President of Meritus Health in Hagerstown which is the largest health care provider in Western Maryland.
The CEO has served in numerous executive capacities in management across high profile institutions in the Washington DC area. She started out seventeen years ago working at the Children’s National Medical Health Center in Washington DC from where it has been an upwards journey for her career.
Outlining her vision for IMVH, Deborah said she sees herself responsible for bringing to life the Inova promise of seeking “every opportunity to meet the unique needs of each person we are privileged to serve, every time, every touch.” In her opinion, all practitioners within the health care industry have the privilege to being the extension of the Creator every day in respective ways, which is why it is important to ensure that her leadership is doing what needs to be done to meet needs of patients and clients.
“For us to attain long term success here at Inova I personally intend to have my leadership style lean towards modeling the way, creating a shared vision and just encouraging the heart by removing the barriers that prevent us from doing the work that we really need to do” says Deborah of her philosophy as a leader, adding that it is very important for people to know that the value of the work they do is always appreciated.
Besides appreciating the people she works with, Deborah Addo intends to make more people aware of the services Inova offers. “This is because some people within the US African and immigrant communities many times shy away from seeking medical attention immediately when they need to either because they are afraid, uninsured or under-insured. Such people unfortunately end up arriving at the hospital too late” she lamented.
“We will try to make people aware first and foremost of the fact that we are a non-profit entity and are obligated by law to provide them with care when they come to the emergency department, we also intend to stress the importance of prevention and link people up to the services that are available, how to access them and encourage them to get in sooner to get the needed help because it is a whole lot easier and much more inexpensive for us in the health care industry to address issues earlier than later” Mrs Addo said.
Responding to a query from this writer about the effects of the Ebola virus disease mostly in west Africa, Mrs. Addo advised the public worldwide to take the simple act of hand-washing very serious as it is one of the first preventative method of keeping away pathogenic infections even though some people unfortunately take it for granted.
Deborah Addo described as unfortunate the death of Thomas Eric Duncan, a Liberian national in his 40’s who was reported by American health authorities as being the first patient diagnosed with Ebola in the USA on September 30, 2014 in Dallas, Texas. “His death however made the gravity of the disease hit home, literally, and it galvanized the American government in adopting a more global approach to attacking the disease.”
She urged for calm as more research is made into finding a more lasting cure and solution for the deadly disease while encouraging people to be more informed and aware of it because rumors only go to fuel the fear mongering and misinformation that people initially peddled about the disease in its initial outbreak.
Youngest and only girl among 3 other siblings, Deborah has yet to visit her paternal homeland of Ghana even though she looks forward to doing that with excitement.
The health administrator, whose areas of expertise include financial management, organization re-engineering, strategic planning, physician engagement and population health among others strongly believes in community hospitals, where “the people you are caring for are oftentimes people you know, and there’s a personal level of accountability”.