Meet Kendra Urdzik: Her New Role Highlights Innovation, Integration, Collaboration

As Judson’s newly appointed chief collaborative health officer, Kendra Urdzik works with the vice presidents of each campus and of the Judson Home Care program, to establish strategic quality goals, measureable outcomes and innovative approaches to care, as well as to initiate innovation projects and evaluate relationships and outcomes. “A large part of the role is overseeing collaboration,” she says, “determining what’s emerging on the healthcare market and initiating innovations so that all three campuses can share in them.”

Kendra’s CCHO title comes in addition to her long-standing role as Judson’s vice president of health services, and represents an understanding that the need for collaboration has never been greater, both within Judson and across the industry.

“We are making huge changes to the care model, shifting away from a medical model to a person-centered model,” she says. “The question becomes, ‘How do we deliver the needed services in a way that best serves the individual?’ My new role is very much about forming strategic partnerships and creating and deploying evidence-based best practices to do just that.”

Several of Kendra’s key initiatives as CCHO will be implemented over the coming year:

  • Collaboration with the Phelps Collaborative for Older Adult and Family Engagement, in partnership with the Frances Payne Bolton School of Nursing at Case Western Reserve University. The cornerstone of the collaboration is a faculty position at the School of Nursing that also includes a clinical appointment at Judson. “This nurse-educator position will help us redefine the model of care in our community and better enable our residents to make good healthcare decisions.”
  • The Navigator program puts a staff member on each campus to partner with individual residents and/or families, and helps coordinate services and programs to meet the needs of each individual. The Navigator will look at all aspects of a resident’s life at Judson – including health, nutrition, physical and mental fitness, community activity, social engagement, spirituality, and lifelong learning – and provide consistent contact and follow-up to help each resident work toward their goals.
  • A new electronic medical records system will link all three campuses and their approximately 600 residents. “We’re creating one unified repository that reflects full, comprehensive knowledge of our members’ health and wellness concerns and is personalized to reflect their entire experience at Judson,” she says. “It won’t just tell you that a resident has a dog: It will tell you the dog’s name!”

As a healthcare professional and a long-time member of the Judson community, Ms. Urdzik is uniquely qualified for her new role. A licensed nursing home administrator with undergrad degrees in healthcare administration, an MBA with an emphasis on health care, and a certificate in gerontology, she is also active with the Leadership Academy of LeadingAge, a national organization in the healthcare industry.

“The program gave me the opportunity to connect with other healthcare leaders,” she says, “and now the CCHO position allows me to be strategic and innovative in focusing on our collaborations – not just in the healthcare industry, but across all lines – as we change the face of aging.”

Ultimately, Kendra’s strategic vision is grounded in her profound commitment to Judson and its residents.

“I started here 16 years ago as an administrator in training and worked in every department. Once I finished, I knew immediately this was where I wanted to spend my career.”

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