We connect with Health Systems Governance Global Solutions Director Dr. Nino Kharaishvili, to talk about her role partnering with clients across our markets and geographies to solve their challenges, and her ongoing journey to improve awareness around the impact of climate change on human health.
Tell us about your background and role at Jacobs.
I’m a medical doctor but instead of practicing medicine, I have dedicated my career to global health and health consulting. As part of my professional journey, I’ve supported the U.S. government, insurance companies, medical manufacturers and various hospitals around the world. My career has taken me to over 40 countries, which has been an incredibly rewarding experience and allowed me to see first-hand the differences in each country - how various national health systems are structured, their mode of operations and levels of resilience.
I’m one of the Global Solutions Directors for Jacobs’ Health market, responsible for the health systems governance sector and work closely with colleagues responsible for health business advisory and health infrastructure.
What excites you the most about your role?
I love working in international settings and find it humbling to experience and observe different cultures. National health systems are in place to serve a specific population, and when you work directly with local people and teams it provides perspective and understanding around why and how their health systems are structured. Working internationally allows me to observe best practices - I then cross-pollinate successful approaches from one geography to another, and I love doing that.
The possibilities are endless when you work for Jacobs, and for me, no two days are the same. My global role allows me to work in any market and geography that we operate in and bring my knowledge and experience to partner with clients to solve their challenges.
“Health equity, or how we achieve fair and equitable opportunity for good health, eliminating disparities and improving social determinants is a real focus for us. We work closely with health, as well as cross-sector clients on developing an end-to-end health equity solution that can measure, monitor and evaluate the impact of their projects or programs on improving health equity.”
Describe what “Health Systems Governance” is to Jacobs as part of our consulting & advisory framework and how we help our clients deliver their critical missions.
Health Systems Governance is a complex segment of every country’s health system, and it ensures that all strategic and policy frameworks are in place to enable the most effective and efficient delivery of care. Health system governance is critical to health systems’ operation and overall performance and, in general, is responsible for providing direction and guidance to achieve better health for everyone.
As part of my role at Jacobs, I partner with government representatives, healthcare agencies, hospital leadership and public health authorities to identify the most effective and efficient ways to deliver healthcare in a particular geography. Countries face different challenges in their health systems governance and require tailored approaches to solve them. Sometimes the solution is a policy framework, or a risk or vulnerability assessment to understand the potential occurrence of adverse events, or workforce development and training assistance – no one size fits all.
What does “health system resiliency” mean and how can Jacobs help clients be more resilient in the face of external threats and crises?
According to the World Health Organization, health system resilience is defined as the “capacity of a system to absorb, adapt, anticipate and transform when exposed to external threats – and/or to forecast shocks that bring about new challenges and opportunities – and still retain control over its remit and pursuit of its primary objectives and functions.”
We are living in an interesting era with the COVID-19 pandemic, climate events and social-economic disruptions all testing the capacity of our health systems and giving the resilience concept another level of importance.
To address the complex operational environment for health systems, we created a health system resilience framework which is organized into eight solutions-based core competencies. We use this framework to offer comprehensive services and address challenges ranging from facilities to operational continuity, to policy frameworks, to technology services, among others. We believe that by improving our clients’ resilience we will minimize economic loss and impact on affected communities.
What are some of the other challenges in the Health market that we’re helping to tackle?
Health equity, or how we achieve fair and equitable opportunity for good health, eliminating disparities and improving social determinants is a real focus for us. We work closely with health, as well as cross-sector clients on developing an end-to-end health equity solution that can measure, monitor and evaluate the impact of their projects or programs on improving health equity.
Another passion of mine is improving awareness around the impact of climate change on human health. Climate change has many negative impacts on human health, including changes in infectious disease burden, exacerbated respiratory and cardiovascular issues, food and water insecurities, impact on mental health, to name a few. I’m working with multiple industry groups to raise awareness of climate change and health intersections and improve inclusion of the One Health concept (unity of the human, animal, environmental ecosystems) in the climate response activities.
If you aren’t working, what would we most likely find you doing?
I have a huge appreciation for classical and jazz music and that’s how I unwind. If I feel particularly energetic, I like hiking and exploring places. My true passion is travelling, experiencing new cultures and exploring historic locations. I’m also a big foodie and oenophile and travelling allows me to experience many wonderful cuisines.
What do you enjoy most about being part of #OurJacobs?
The unlimited abilities to positively impact the world and develop new and innovative solutions. We’re a diverse organization and can bring together a broad range of disciplines and skills to develop integrated and tailored solutions.
About the interviewee
Dr. Nino Kharaishvili is a healthcare expert with working knowledge of 40 different countries across the former Soviet Union, Africa, southeast Asia and Middle East. She has over 15 years of international healthcare consulting experience and has managed teams specializing in global health security, health system preparedness, disease surveillance, biosafety and biosecurity, program metrics and evaluation. Nino is skilled in defining paths for healthcare system sustainability and resilience, as well as designing and implementing various emergency preparedness exercises aimed at improving public health emergency preparedness and response. She draws on this breadth of experience as Jacobs' Global Solutions Director for Health System Governance as part of the global health market.
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