LIBN’s 40 Under 40 – Rebecca Charles
Rebecca Charles is the director of operations for Harmony Healthcare Long Island in Nassau County. In her role as director of operations, Charles plays a key role in developing and implementing systems and processes to help the organization improve efficiency and achieve quality outcome and productivity metrics for the underserved population.
Prior to her role as a director, she served as a project manager where she worked on special projects that impacted access to care, quality and operational efficiencies. Charles’ interest in healthcare was sparked in her early years when she worked as an AmeriCorps Vista for the United Way in Buffalo. Her primary focus was on research and childhood obesity prevention strategies and implementation. Charles remains passionate about helping the underserved by identifying strategies to eliminate barriers through the use of technology and systems to improve healthcare access and the patient experience. She is also committed to empowering and inspiring other up-and-coming leaders and promoting excellence.
She explains: “My experience as an AmeriCorps Vista truly helped to guide me to where I am today. As an AmeriCorps Vista, working as a health and wellness coordinator, I learned about healthcare policies and conducted research on childhood obesity prevention strategies and best practices for improvement. Prior to this, I was planning to pursue a career in occupational therapy, but this experience led me to change my field and pursue a career in healthcare leadership to work on healthcare initiatives and impact change.”
Charles also gives back to her community by volunteering at her church and donating to various charitable initiatives.
In her professional life, she aspires to make a difference as well. “I inspired change in my organization by transforming our call management process and leveraging technology to improve patient access to care,” she says. “In previous years, our organization experienced several challenges with phone access, which caused barriers to care and patient frustration. Within the last two years, I led the charge to restructure our call management process by implementing a new call center department with internal staff and an outside vendor. I also implemented call center software to help monitor performance and improve the patient experience. To increase patient engagement, I recently leveraged technology to implement a new appointment reminder system, online scheduling platform and electronic forms to streamline processes.”
Charles cites Michelle Obama as a source of inspiration for her “ability to impact change, have a family, be successful and make a difference in the world.” In addition, she points to her current supervisor, Stacey Jackson-Harley, as a woman who “inspires me as a visionary leader who walks in excellence and has a passion to serve the underserved.”
She received a bachelor’s degree in Healthcare Management from Stony Brook University, and a master’s in Health Administration from Hofstra University.