5 Questions with Vanessa Perez, King County Regional Case Manager, and the co-chair of CHPW’s Diversity and Inclusion Advisory Group (DIAG).
Vanessa has a passion for ensure our members reach their best level of health. We sat down with her to learn what is going on in the King County region and about her work with DIAG.
How long have you been with Community Health Plan of Washington and what is your current role?
I have been at CHPW for three years and in those three years I’ve had a few different roles within the Medicaid Case Management Team. Currently, I am the King County Regional Case Manager and I serve as the lead member-facing Case Manager for our Medicaid members who live in King County.
I have the honor of getting to work with our members while also collaborating with community partners and programs in the region and across the state. The community connections are instrumental in ensuring the programs our members are involved are all linked together, and the programs can help guide our members to reach their best level of health.
Why did you choose to pursue a career in health care?
My interest in healthcare stems from watching my family experience many challenges with accessing healthcare from an early age. There were times where I had to translate medical letters and conversations for my parents because language was always a barrier. And at an early age I was tasked to learn about the healthcare system so I could advocate and communicate healthcare related needs for my family.
I also developed a strong interest in learning about mental health because I saw firsthand how differently mental health needs were addressed within the Latino community vs in others.
Ultimately my passion to help others led me to pursue a bachelor’s degree then a master’s degree in Social Work with an emphasis in Mental Health. These two areas are where my personal and professional ethics live in harmony.
CHPW committed to working towards a more diverse, inclusive, and equitable workplace and to the pursuit of health equity as core to the mission of our organization. What has you excited about working with CHPW’s Diversity and Inclusion Advisory Group (DIAG*)?
I’m always re-energized and empowered when I connect with DIAG because everyone in the committee has so much passion and commitment to CHPW’s mission and values. I see DIAG as a microcosm of CHPW, and it serves as the perfect place to get a snapshot of the organization. And we can work together to impact change internally for staff and externally for our members, partners, and community.
I am looking forward to the continued growth of DIAG and the impact we will have in creating an equitable workplace.
*DIAG is an employee-led group that works to create awareness and conversation around diversity and inclusion internally at CHPW.
What is something you have recently learned or accomplished that you are proud of?
Professionally, I am proud of my recent promotion to Regional Case Manager 2. This accomplishment services as a reminder to myself that the I am capable and deserving to be where I am, and I look forward to my continued growth at CHPW.
On a personal note, I recently learned how to make apple pie from scratch and hope to make it again when my family visits me in the future.
Do you look forward to Washington winters? What is your strategy to manage the short days and long nights?
I like to consider myself more of a summer girl although I do love seeing the first snow fall from inside with a good cup of coffee. So far, I have been trying to get more activities done during the daylight hours like going to the gym or getting groceries.
I enjoy staying home and watching some good TV and movies, so the long nights don’t phase me too much. Taking Vitamin D has also been a huge must-do especially during the winter months.