Veera: My profession advocates for “helping people help themselves”
Veera’s first visit as Chilldren’s HeartLink’s in-country India consultant to our partner hospital Postgraduate Institute of Medical Education and Research in Chandigarh
What does a typical day at work look like?
Since I work from home, my work day is very flexible. My work revolves around working with our partner hospitals in India – understanding their needs and planning how best to support them in delivering quality care through mentoring. I also try to identify potential hospitals to partner with and resources that will enable us to build capacity in pediatric cardiac care in the country. We are building capacity to help hospitals strengthen the clinical skills needed to work independently. Part of my job also involves planning calls with my office colleagues in Minneapolis, trying to match our schedules!
Tell us a little about your background and why it led you to Children’s HeartLink.
My background has been in medical and psychiatric social work. I have always enjoyed working in hospitals with medical teams and families. My profession advocates for “helping people help themselves.” I believe that the way to bring sustainable change in health care in India, where there is always a challenge of balancing high volume and low resources, is through building capacity at various levels of health care delivery. Working with Children’s HeartLink allows me to enable that, and at the end of the day this gives me job satisfaction.
What motivates you?
There are several things:
- The passion and commitment of the teams, both in-country and our volunteers, to do their best for the children under their care
- The struggles and sacrifices that the parents and families make every day with great fortitude, traveling long distances, spending out of their pockets and beyond that, to access the best possible care for their children
- The innocence and resilience of the children, the heart warriors
- Children’s HeartLink’s mission and vision that children around the world have access to high-quality heart care, and our values of integrity, friendship and commitment towards improving health care quality
What is the most rewarding part of your job? The most challenging?
- Facilitating change through building capacity is rewarding itself
- When our partner hospitals share their success stories as a result of the training opportunities we have enabled
- The relief seen on the faces of the families when their child has recovered after treatment
The most challenging:
- Seeing the suffering of children and the helplessness of the families in coping with heart disease
- When teams resist collaborating either because of hierarchy or interpersonal issues
- Lack of equity in health care
What are the most important traits for your job?
Patience and persistence, as change takes time and is initially met with resistance; flexibility, both in time and approach; communication; empathy; passion and a tinge of humor. Humor always saves the day!
What do you like to do in your spare time?
I love reading and always have a stack of books to catch up on. Catching up with friends, listening to music and traveling are some other things that I love doing.
What’s something people are surprised to learn about you?
At times I love playing pranks!
Tell us about your family.
My husband and my son constitute my immediate family. My son has just joined college. I am lucky to have my parents live near me. We live in Coimbatore, a city in the southern part of India, which is a hub for textiles and other manufacturing industries and educational institutions.
Based in Coimbatore, Veera is a consummate connector and trusted colleague who develops and strengthens relationships with our program partners in India. She has worked as a social work educator and practitioner, and she has a postgraduate degree in social work from the University of Madras and a predoctoral degree in psychiatric social work from NIMHANS in Bangalore.
Learn more about our work in India.