An interview with Rachelle Woods, MSN, RN, Nurse Consultant at the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE).
By: Aanchal Gupta, Program Coordinator, NaRCAD
Tags: HIV/AIDS, PrEP, Detailing Visit
Aanchal: Hi Rachelle! We’re so excited to learn more about the work you’re doing. To start, can you tell us about your background and your current role?
Rachelle: I’ve been a registered nurse in the state of Colorado for 26 years. My clinical background is obstetrics and gynecology (OBGYN), which includes family planning, HIV/STI education, and direct patient care. I've also taught OBGYN and other health courses at a few nursing schools and universities as well as in the community.
I've been at CDPHE for a little over three months and will be functioning as a nurse consultant and public health detailer. I'm currently working to harness a deeper understanding of the needs of each of the communities that I'll be serving within our state. In order to do that, I’ll be conducting a statewide community needs assessment. I plan to tailor the needs of each geographic area when detailing to identify areas of urgent need and take into consideration epidemiological concerns among special populations.
CDPHE is implementing a public health detailing approach to control STI and HIV infections which are increasing in Colorado and across the nation. My role is to serve as both a recruiter and consultant to optimize healthcare integration of public health prevention practices regarding STIs, HIV, and viral hepatitis within our state.
Aanchal: It’s exciting to hear how your background intersects with your current role at CDPHE. I’m curious about the community aspect that you spoke about. What services and supports already exist in your community for the patient populations you’re working with?
Rachelle: CDPHE has 80 contracts with several community-based organizations and local public health agencies throughout the state. Our goal is to collaborate across sectors and provide services within several of our communities. Our partners include pharmacies, pharmacists, clinical providers, non-clinical persons, public health agencies, publicly funded healthcare centers, and other community-based organizations.
Aanchal: It's important to leverage others in the community to provide the best care and support to patients. Tell us about CDPHE’s prior successes with HIV PrEP detailing.
Rachelle: We had a public health detailer a few years back that focused on PrEP rollout. Between 2014 to 2019, PrEP use increased from 383 to 3,659 among Coloradoans. We’re now working on expanding our public health detailing program and have been focused on partnering with other local agencies to bring the best evidence to clinicians. The Denver Health and Hospital Authority has helped us disseminate relevant updates to providers so that we can better meet the needs of Colorado’s most vulnerable populations.
Aanchal: It’s impressive that your program had success with your first detailing intervention and that you’re continuing the momentum with a community-based approach to detailing. Since you began the role a few months ago, what resources helped you to learn more about academic detailing?
Rachelle: I spent a great deal of time on the NaRCAD website and reviewing our internal resources. I was introduced to NaRCAD by my director, Rosemarie. She said, “I know that you have experience with educating clinicians, but I want you to take a look at this organization and see if perhaps there could be anything of benefit for you.”
I spent a whole week absorbing the materials on the NaRCAD website. Being able to access the webinars and videos on demand was especially helpful. I'm somebody who likes to keep my finger on the stop button when watching a video so I can replay and relisten. I loved the fact that I could get a firm grasp of the concepts of AD at my own pace.
Aanchal: I’m glad you found the NaRCAD website to be useful as a new detailer. Based on that, if someone were in your shoes and was just starting out as a detailer, what advice would you give them?
Rachelle: When you initially step into something new, you're outside of your comfort zone. Do you harness the fear and turn it into excitement for learning or do you shy away from it? It's important to step into it and remember that the goal is to better the communities that we live in. Take that excitement and run with it. Don't be afraid – as long as your intentions are in the right place, everything's going to work out.
Aanchal: Definitely! I’m sure that’s a reminder many of us need to hear. Thank you so much for speaking with us, Rachelle! We look forward to hearing more about your findings from the community needs assessment and your exciting detailing project.
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Rachelle Woods, MSN, RN brings an expansive clinical, leadership, and professional development background deeply rooted in OBGYN, STI/HIV, Family Planning, Transgender Health, and Infection Control to the Public Health Detailer role at CDPHE. Rachelle’s passion for all things infectious has afforded her a career rich in opportunity to meet people where they are and engage in robust discussion surrounding STI/HIV transmission, prevention, biomedical interventions and resources, and personal wellbeing. Her audiences have spanned multiple platforms and have included clinical and non-clinical staff, patients/families, teens, and students. Rachelle is looking forward to applying her skills and experience in support and growth of the Public Health Detailer role at CDPHE.
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