A New Training Program for the Next Normal

By Daniel Stein

This quote from the latest newsletter from the California chapter of the National Association of Social Workers caught my eye: “Public and private programs, agencies and organizations nationwide are preparing to build, rebuild, and grow in 2021 and beyond. And – as the pandemic has demonstrated every day – the need will be greater than ever to address socioeconomic problems, racial disparities, and health inequities with improved Interoperability and information-sharing.”

I couldn’t agree more, especially since the paragraph went on to urge readers to sign up for the Stewards of Change Institute’s new InterOptimability Training and Certification Curriculum. We created ITCC to address the specific need that NASW identified, and we’re grateful for the opportunity to partner with NASW to launch ITCC with its members.

That’s just the start. After years of development and testing with professionals across the country, we now invite individuals and organizations, large and small, to follow the NASW’s lead in signing up for this first-of-its kind program. You can learn more about it on the ITCC page of SOCI’s website, where you can also register for the first course. We are encouraging people to participate in a learning cohort (limited to 20) to maximize learning and develop relationships, but individuals are also very welcome.

The ITCC is a unique educational initiative designed to fill the need for a systems-thinking approach for  designing and/or implementing interoperability and information-sharing initiatives across health, human services and related programs. The lack of such an approach has had numerous negative consequences, including slowing the movement toward integrated, person-centered care, as well as impeding progress toward racial and socioeconomic equity.

ITCC confronts those challenges by providing organizational teams and individuals with the knowledge, skills and tools they need to work more effectively and collaboratively within and across their increasingly complex and interconnected fields. It’s also critical to point out that ITCC isn’t about just making learners smarter; rather, the program is designed to enable and accelerate systems-level change, while giving those who take the training the opportunity for certification that can increase their career and leadership prospects.

InterOptimability (think Interoperability + Optimization) is a unique methodology we created to build competencies that meet the demands of the modern workplace. This methodology is at the heart of ITCC, which offers a series of “training on demand” courses through its state-of-the-art, web-based platform. Its intent is to enable your organization to prepare for the convergence of programs that span the HHS continuum and to help you build capacity to embrace the social determinants of health and well-being.

Using a systems-level approach, ITCC helps prepare executives, program managers, supervisors and others in the public and private sectors to develop competencies needed to initiate, support and lead organizational change; facilitate cross-silo information-exchange; and leverage technical interoperability. ITCC helps create sustainability by providing a common vocabulary, a shared body of knowledge, and effective methods and tools that support change.

As the NASW rightly points out, the need for a program like ITCC is greater now than it has ever been. Indeed,  we believe that better, more-responsible data-sharing and collaboration across domains will not only enable our country to more-effectively respond to health-related emergencies (including the one we’re living through today), but will also contribute to broad progress on racial and socioeconomic issues in society. SOCI is committed to tackling these problems and to furthering equality through all our work.

I’ll end with another quote. This one’s from Michael Becketts, director of the Fairfax County (VA) Department of Family Services. After a team of his colleagues took the first ITCC course during its testing period, here’s what he said: “The ITCC program is genuinely unique and will be very helpful for addressing our Department’s work to integrate service delivery across multiple divisions. After taking the first course, our team unanimously found that it will further their work, while also improving our collective strategic planning.”

That’s exactly our objective in rolling out ITCC for private and public organizations in a wide variety of systems, sectors and domains. Let me know if you have any questions, then let’s get started.

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