Community Focus

Celebrating Women's History Month at Providence Health Plan

21 March 2024

Every year, March is celebrated as Women’s History Month — a time set aside to honor women’s contributions in every field and area. It’s a wonderful time to celebrate the incredible achievements and contributions of women both in the past and today. As we embrace this month of honoring influential women, let’s take a moment to recognize the pivotal role women played in shaping the foundation, development, and growth of Providence Health Plan (PHP).

The Sisters of Providence religious community was founded in 1843 by Emilie Tavernier Gamelin, in Montreal, Quebec. In 1856, at the request of Bishop A.M.A. Blanchet, five sisters traveled to Fort Vancouver, Washington Territory, to serve the French-Canadian settlers and Native Americans.

Fast forward to 1856, when Mother Joseph of the Sacred Heart led a small group of Sisters of Providence from Montreal to the Washington Territory. These trailblazing women wasted no time and set up the Providence Enclosure, a facility where they cared for the elderly, orphans, and the sick. Talk about making an impact! They even opened St. Joseph Hospital in 1858, the first permanent hospital in the Pacific Northwest.

Incorporated officially in 1859 in the Territory of Washington, the Sisters of Providence continued their vital work, responding to medical needs and supporting communities far and wide. Their dedication knew no bounds, as they oversaw the construction and administration of various hospitals while also establishing, staffing, and managing schools across multiple states.

Jumping ahead to more recent history, PHP was born in 1984 when Providence Portland Medical Center and Providence St. Vincent Medical Center joined forces to create a health maintenance organization. By 1985, their Physician InterHospital Plan, aka The Good Health Plan, was recognized as a federally qualified HMO. In 1987, the Sisters of Providence expanded into managed care by establishing a new division, encompassing both HMO and PPO services.

The legacy of these incredible women lives on through the Providence mission of service and the dedication of caregivers committed to caring for society’s most vulnerable. It’s truly inspiring to see their impact echoing through the years.

Women continue to serve incredibly important roles in the development and growth of PHP, across all levels. Here are just a glimpse of the women of PHP:

Amy Van DykeAmy Van Dyke, Senior Manager of Commercial Customer Service, has worked at Providence Health Plan for 25 years. Her journey is a testament to her passion for serving our members and her dedication to fostering a supportive and empowering workplace environment. Her reflections on the impact of her fellow female caregivers truly resonate with our values of collaboration, encouragement, and growth.

Amy finds inspiration in her incredible team at Commercial Customer Service, witnessing firsthand how they embody our mission and core values in their daily interactions with our members. “My caregivers go above and beyond every day to ensure the member we serve get the best customer service,” she says. “It is extremely rewarding knowing they are positively impacting our members lives.”

Outside of work, Amy finds joy in spending time with her nieces, dogs, and friends, as well as indulging in her hobbies of cooking, gardening, and enjoying the outdoors.

Tiffany GoTiffany Go, BSN, RN, serves as a nurse supervisor in the Utilization Management (UM) Team at PHP, where she oversees three nurse teams dedicated to clinical claims, provider reconsideration, and member appeal. With over five years of experience at PHP, Tiffany reflects on her journey with gratitude, acknowledging the invaluable impact of her female colleagues. “I have been so blessed to work with the most incredible team, coworkers, and leadership. In my role, I get to work with these warm, kind, compassionate, driven, and brilliant caregivers,” she says. Beyond her professional work, Tiffany says her greatest joy comes from being a wife and mother to two children.

lori parishLori Parish, manager for the Operations Financial Transactions (OFT) team, has dedicated 17 years to serving our community and supporting our most vulnerable populations.

Lori says her journey with PHP has been filled with invaluable experiences and inspiring mentors who imparted essential lessons about the organization’s mission, values, and heritage. “These experiences have given me a heart for our mission, and I hope I can inspire others,” she says.

In her role, Lori says she finds daily inspiration from the incredible female caregivers who demonstrate unwavering care for our members and community. “I am blessed to have coworkers that I call friends. They teach me how to be a better person and inspire me,” she says.

Outside of work, Lori finds joy in her family, including her three adult children, husband, and her dog.

jenifer smithJenifer Smith, PharmD, Senior Clinical Pharmacy Manager, has been PHP for more than a decade. Throughout her time with PHP, Jenifer says she has been deeply inspired by the remarkable women in our pharmacy division, who serve as leaders and individual contributors, each bringing unique experiences and insights to the table.

“I think I have learned from other women on how to balance that with also making sure I take care of myself both physically and mentally,” she says. “It’s inspiring to see women leaders across the organization, as it really makes you feel that you can do anything and will not be held back by the traditional ‘glass ceiling.’”

Jenifer is passionate about the work she and her colleagues do in pharmacy, but also says she has a beautiful life outside of work. In her free time, she says she enjoys gardening and spending time with her partner Andy.

Darcy WhiteDarcy White, Director of Provider Relations at PHP, will mark an impressive milestone with 20 years of dedicated service to the organization in April. Within PHP’s Provider Relations and Behavioral Health Network teams, Darcy says she has been surrounded by a remarkable cohort of female caregivers, many of whom have been integral to Providence since its inception.

“In recent years, our network team has shifted its focus from a purely quantitative approach to one centered around health equity,” she says. “We strive to understand what our members need and want in terms of healthcare. This shift involves collecting data on diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) from our providers and openly sharing it on the directory while actively using that information to improve the network recruitment.”

Outside of her job, Darcy finds joy as a professional musician and music director for musical theater companies in Portland. Through her monthly cabaret show, “Cabaret White,” she invites the city’s top professional actors and singers to join to develop a show.

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