Calisa Fitzpatrick thinks good communication makes the world go round.
For her, there is immense power in a team working together towards a common goal. And as a member of the Evaluations Team, a big part of her job is helping ensure that HDI is doing that in every way it can.
“We work with partners to help inform them about the impact their programs or services are making on the individuals they intend to serve and hopefully provide them with information to inform decision-making to improve those programs and services,” Fitzpatrick said. “We ask a lot of questions, have lots of conversations, and then come up with a plan to evaluate all the things they’re doing.”
She didn’t set out to be involved in evaluations, but she fell into it, as she puts it. Fitzpatrick Holds a master’s in Health Administration and a psychology undergraduate and directed an outpatient program for adolescents at a behavioral health hospital. Her work has always had a strong focus on helping young people address their own challenges with mental health and reducing stigma around receiving services. What she does now still serves the same mission, but looks at it from a different angle.
Her story is not a unique one. Many from the evaluations team didn’t start there, and Fitzpatrick sees that as a boon to the team.
“We bring a lot of diverse perspectives to our work, experiences from the healthcare world, mental health services, education, or research-based activities,” she said.
Fitzpatrick’s path was a strange one. She hadn’t been at HDI for more than two months before COVID-19 changed everything and had to effectively relearn her new job after having barely learned it on the first place. This is where her teamwork proved incredibly beneficial.
“We have a lot of camaraderie on the unit. We get a lot of support from each other,” she said. “Coworkers just understood where we all were, and they were willing to work through that together.”
Likewise, getting to know those colleagues – both directly in evaluations and in other partnerships.
“I enjoy the relationships that are being built. That sharing of knowledge has been super important,” she said. “I appreciate the conversations with grant partners like the Kentucky Department of Education, the Department of Behavioral Health, Developmental and Intellectual Disabilities. There’s so many people that are really dedicated to their work, so getting to know them and how they think about the work they do and seeing that passion for it has been inspiring.”
As someone who values teamwork so much, it comes as no surprise that Fitzpatrick loves sports too. She’s an avid runner and a rookie pickleball player with a desire to compete.
But it’s not just the teamwork that she values, as you can find her taking a nice run, or
She wants to get her heart going and she likes to challenge herself to go higher. She’s already run several marathons. Now, she’s considering running another.
“It takes a lot of discipline to get out there and constantly do it,” she said. “When something is demanding mentally or physically, that’s something I like. It might sound like ‘Oh, why would anyone want to do that,’ but I like being pushed.”
Ultimately though, a lot of her life comes down to healthy communications, healthy relationships, and healthy collaboration.
“That’s so imperative to the work that we do,” she said. “My faith guides me to do to others as you would have them do to you. I think that’s where a lot of teamwork and collaboration stems from…I also think I can learn from others. I don’t know it all, so I value that collaboration.”