Dr. Rachel Kramer, a graduate of the Executive MBA for Physicians class of 2020, recently shared about her entrepreneurial start-up within her health system, a van that offers breast and cervical cancer screening to under and uninsured patients, and her recent promotion to Medical Director of Women’s Services at Virtua Medical Group (VMG). Read more about how she got her venture up and running and the details of her promotion below.
How did you come up with the idea for the Mammo Pap Mobile?
I developed the Mammo Pap Mobile project during the Entrepreneurship course in the EMBA Program. I started to think about the high number of CEEDS patients who would “no show” their appointments. CEEDS is the New Jersey Cancer Education and Early Detection Screening Program where underinsured and uninsured women had access to mammograms on a weekend in community locations such as a church and then sign up at the appointment for a Pap in our office for a later date. When I ran the numbers, 52% of these patients never showed up to our offices for their Pap smear.
How did you acquire support within your institution? Did you have this support going into your project or did you secure it later?
I met with the Oncology Nurse Manager in charge of the CEEDS program at Virtua, and we sat down together to brainstorm. My goal was to get a mobile van out with our own mammogram machine and an exam room so both a mammogram and a Pap smear exam could be done at the same time, increasing access to underinsured women. We decided that before we asked for a million-dollar investment, we would put a pilot together to show that women would want to get their Pap smears in the van. We leased a mobile mammo van from another institution and had it come to our offices on the weekend. Women could opt for a mammogram, Pap smear, or both. It was a huge success, with a line around the block. We then figured out how much money it would take to buy our own van, gas, driver, etc. and asked a foundation how to fund it with donors. The Foundation was very interested and took our proposal to senior administration and eventually the Board of the hospital. The Board granted permission to buy a van and start in 2022.
How has the mobile clinic been impacted by COVID-19?
When COVID happened a year ago, the proposal got stalled because senior administrators were busy with the emergency. However, I wrote to the CEO and said that if we had a mobile van, we could have used it to go to underserved communities that were suffering disproportionately from COVID to provide testing and vaccination. I kept pushing – calling the CMO, who is also my mentor, and not letting senior administration forget about this project.
Please tell us about your recent promotion. What are you responsible for? What are the major changes from your previous role?
Last month, I was promoted to Medical Director of Women’s Services for VMG. I am still the lead physician for VMG’s largest OBGYN group. I was promoted because last year I was successful in putting together a new OBGYN group at our flagship hospital, which didn’t previously have its own group. I was able to teach them the Virtua culture and their group is now flourishing. My new responsibilities this year are to bring a group we just acquired into the Virtua culture and to make sure all OBGYN groups are following Virtua guidelines. The leads of each group report to me. My current project is implementing direct patient appointment booking through MyChart for obstetrical appointments and to continue to drive culture development in all of the VMG employed OBGYN groups.
How has the EMBA for Physicians program helped you in your roles?
I used tools I learned in many EMBA classes to start the mobile clinic. Accounting taught me how to put together different financial statements that I needed for approval. I used the quick pitch method I learned from Entrepreneurship. I used the leadership lessons from Leadership and Organizational Behavior. Without the EMBA program, I would never have thought up this project, which saves the lives of so many underserved women. I have never felt a high so great as the first day I saw how many women showed up for Pap screening.