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Welcome to Innovation in the Burg, a podcast about science and innovation in St. Petersburg. If you’re a self-described science or technology geek, or even if you aren’t, this will be a fun and informative conversation. Each week, we’ll be joined by a local science or technology expert who will talk about what they’re working on. But to make sure we keep this in perspective and we don’t become too technical, we have a community member joining us. Our hope is that you learn something new and enjoy our conversation.

02/24/2021 | Episode 13 | 26:32

Ep. 013 - STEAM-powered inspiration for a changing healthcare industry

STEAM-powered inspiration for a changing healthcare industry

On this episode of Innovation in the ‘Burg, Alison talks with LaTasha R. Barnes, Chief Financial Officer of Bayfront Health St. Petersburg and Wilma Norton, Vice President of Community Connections at the Community Foundation of Tampa Bay. They discuss the intersections of arts and medicine and building pipelines for new healthcare careers in a changing education landscape. Barnes brings her own career to bear on the ways she would like to grow Bayfront Health St. Petersburg. Norton shares perspective on learning through the arts, and on helping students and young professionals forge pathways to meaningful careers.

Key Insights

  • Today's expert: LaTasha R. Barnes, Chief Financial Officer, Bayfront Health St. Petersburg
  • Today's community member: Wilma Norton, Vice President of Community Connections, Community Foundation of Tampa Bay
  • In October 2020, Orlando Health, a private, not-for-profit system of 15-hospitals located in Orlando, acquired multiple Bayfront Health facilities. The sale included the 480-bed Bayfront Health St. Petersburg hospital, St. Petersburg’s longest-standing hospital.
  • Barnes, formerly the CFO of Orlando Health’s Winnie Palmer Hospital for Women & Babies, brings more than 20 years’ experience in the healthcare industry to Bayfront.
  • Educational initiatives in STEAM (Science-Technology-Engineering-Arts-Math) are an exciting prospect for Bayfront and partners in the Innovation District, bringing St. Pete’s flourishing arts community together with rapid development in tech fields.
  • The need for development in STEM (Science-Technology-Engineering-Math) was voiced by the National Science Foundation in the early 2000s, along with direct evidence of the connection between growth in STEM careers and regional economic outlook. Adding the Arts element brings new attention to creative problem-solving and expression of ideas. Barnes and Norton see this connection in the practice of music (Barnes is a flautist and Norton’s daughter a violinist)
  • Arts and medicine, or as Norton notes, “arts as medicine” are already coming together in St. Pete in some remarkable projects including the MFA’s soon-to-be-launched Art RX program and St. Petersburg Arts Alliance and SHINE Mural Festival’s You Good, Pinellas? collaboration.
  • A major challenge in building STEAM capacity is building career pathways that become professional pipelines. Bayfront Health’s tuition reimbursement program is one way to approach this, helping employees pursue education that expands career opportunities and enriches the community’s STEAM capacity. Bayfront is looking for more pipeline-building ways to connect with Pinellas Technical College, St. Pete College, and other academic institutions.
  • Diversity and equity are also important concerns in STEAM career pipelines, with people of color underrepresented in both STEAM educational programs and STEAM careers. Mentoring that includes and inspires students of color is especially important. As Barnes avows, “You can’t be what you can’t see.”
  • Pathways and pipelines are part of a larger conversation about changing norms in education, where, as Norton points out, traditional degree-to-career journeys may serve some students less effectively than finding the right combination of certifications and training.
  • Along with rethinking educational pathways, healthcare companies need to reimagine employees’ mobility within their organizations and between communities of organizations, creating what Barnes calls a “culture of constant movement.”
  • Community is key, the panelists conclude, in helping STEAM grow. With Barnes as the newest vice president of the Innovation District’s board, and the Community Foundation’s new office on Central Avenue, the time is right for collaboration to flourish.
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About the host

Alison Barlow is the Executive Director of the St. Petersburg Innovation District. Her role is to harness expertise in health science, marine science, education, and art to form unique collaborations. These multi-sector, cross discipline collaborations strive to identify innovative solutions that will grow the economic and social vibrancy of St. Petersburg and address key global issues. Alison grew up in St. Petersburg, graduated from Boca Ciega High School, received a Bachelors in Hospitality Administration from Florida State University, and later a Master of Business Administration with a concentration in Management of Global Information Systems from American University in Washington D.C. For 17 years, Alison worked as a business and technology consultant based in Washington DC, often for the Department of Defense. She focused on strategic planning, process improvement and technology collaboration. Following her relocation back to St. Petersburg, Alison became the manager and a lead facilitator for Collaborative Labs at St. Petersburg College. Alison joined the St. Petersburg Innovation District as its inaugural Executive Director in June of 2017. In addition to her work, Alison is involved with the Leadership St. Petersburg Alumni Association, Friends of Strays Animal Shelter Board, and the St. Petersburg Chamber of Commerce.

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