We are delighted to introduce Susan Ourada as a member of our volunteer team. Susan is the Operations Director for the Facility Program Management Office (PMO) for The University of Chicago Medicine. In the role, she helps to plan and activate capital construction projects for The University of Chicago Medicine (UCM) campus. She has been employed by UCM for 19 years, working in various roles inside and outside of the operating room (OR). She loves working for UCM because her work has connected her “with so many different facets of the diverse organization.” When she is not working, Susan enjoys spending quality time with her five-year-old son. Susan says, “He loves to be active, so we are always on the move --- exploring new places and seeking adventure!”
Susan has been involved with Fresh Start Caring For Kids Foundation since its planning stages, and she has served as a dedicated advocate and volunteer since that time. Susan says, “When UCM/Comer and Fresh Start first started working together in late 2013, my boss, Jason Keeler (at that time VP for Clinical and Procedural Services, and now COO) asked me to be part of the project team helping to finalize the business agreement and develop a repeatable process for our hospital’s Fresh Start Surgery Weekends.” During the planning stage for the Chicago location, Susan had the opportunity to witness a Surgery Weekend at San Diego’s Fresh Start Surgical Gifts (Fresh Start Caring For Kids Foundation’s parent organization). Susan says of the experience, “I was blown away by the transformations that I witnessed firsthand. I wanted to help create that same environment at UCM – both for our employees as volunteers, as well as the patients that we serve.”
Susan’s role during Surgery Weekends in Chicago includes supporting the teams who provide direct care to Fresh Start patients. Susan says, “Much of my work takes place before the event: working with OR leadership to create staffing schedules; coordinating with Fresh Start to align patient schedules; and ensuring that everyone has what they need to do their best work for Fresh Start patients on the day of surgery.” In addition, Susan also works with external volunteers by orienting them to Surgery Weekend efforts and assigning tasks to them.
Susan most enjoys the positive mood during Surgery Weekends. She says, “The mood in the OR on a Surgery Weekend is so positive and enthusiastic! Our teams love being there and it is clear that the day is all about the patients. I am continually impressed by our staff and what they bring to each event. They are the heart and soul of our program.”
“My hope is that we continue the great work that is already happening, and increase outreach to expand our program further. I can’t wait to see how our program grows over time. Fresh Start Caring for Kids is changing lives – and I am so proud to be a part of the organization.”
In addition to completing her regular work-related duties, Susan is truly instrumental in ensuring that each and every Surgery Weekend operates as smoothly as possible. Her attention to detail is invaluable to Fresh Start’s delivery of quality services to its patients.
On behalf of Fresh Start Caring For Kids Foundation and our patients, we are incredibly grateful to have Susan as a member of our team and an advocate for our organization.