Celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month: Omar Santiago
Hispanic Heritage Month is recognized from September 15 - October 15
Omar Santiago is the Executive Director of Continuous Improvement in Primary Care and Population Health at Southcoast Health.
National Hispanic Heritage Month began on September 15. Omar shared what this time means to him, as someone who was born and raised in Puerto Rico.
“When you think about it, the Hispanic American culture was born out of conflict. Yet despite this origin, our culture is known to value hard work, strong family ties, and yes, a love for dance!” he said.
To Omar, this month is a time for people of Hispanic heritage to reflect on their history and celebrate the achievements of Hispanic culture and communities.
“I am not sure how much of my identity is shaped by the fact that I am Puerto Rican,” said Omar. “However, I can say that others have described me as passionate, hardworking, and a family man. I believe I share these qualities with many other fellow Puerto Ricans.”
Now living in Massachusetts, Omar enjoys celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month with his friends and family. “Usually food and music are abundant during these gatherings. Last year we all got together and attended a Taino music concert,” he said. “The Tainos were the indigenous people of the Caribbean and are my ancestors. It was a great experience to learn more about my ancestors’ culture while enjoying some great music!”
At Southcoast, Omar works to promote operations improvement within Primary Care. In this role, he identifies and pursues opportunities to improve patient care and satisfaction while improving operations and expanding access to more patients in the community.
“I collaborate with others to help transition our Primary Care sites from a fee-for-service model of care to a value-based model of care,” he said. “I spend a lot of my time figuring out ways for Primary Care to improve health outcomes for their entire patient population, rather than that of the individual patient.”
A former operations management consultant in manufacturing, Omar did not always imagine himself taking on this role in healthcare. “In 2002, my second child was born with some health issues that required specialty care support for at least 2 years. Throughout that time, I spent many hours in hospitals and outpatient facilities and saw that many of the operational problems in these sites were similar than those in the factories that I used to work in,” he said.
“It was at that point that I decided to focus my career to help healthcare organizations become more effective. I have been working in healthcare ever since and also went back to college to earn a BSN.”
Today, Omar’s daughter is doing great, and he is looking forward to helping other patients. “Joining Southcoast Health just six months ago, I aspire to become a full-on member of the Southcoast Health family! I know that I just started, and I still have to prove myself to many; but I am able and willing to work hard and help in any way I can.”
Thank you, Omar.