Friday, May 17, 2024

Holistic Approach Key to Technology Supporting Public Sector Clients

FedHealthIT’s President, Susan Sharer, recently chatted with Jennifer Welham, newly appointed Senior Vice President for ICF’s health, human services, and workforce business. Poised to reach new heights in 2023, Welham discusses the intersection of technology and the people it serves, and the importance of remaining mission focused when supporting public sector clients.

Deep Understanding of Clients’ Missions

After three decades with ICF, Welham is leading the company’s efforts to meet client goals and the needs of the populations her team’s public sector clients serve. Her new role offers an exciting opportunity to bolster many domain verticals contributing to the foundation of ICF’s success: federal health and human services, including social and workforce programs. At the same time, horizontals like data management and analytics, technology, and change management will cut across all verticals and are essential to her team’s ability to offer cross-cutting solutions to clients’ most complex challenges.

The Role of Data

As others in the Federal Health IT sector have also discovered, a wealth of data presents both possibilities and challenges. The billions of dollars invested in research each year provide a greater return when utilized to create policy and inform decision-making to improve people’s well-being. Welham believes the answer lies in enhancing digital solutions, as well as better serving the human element and end users of those solutions. To that end, ICF recently executed strategic acquisitions of organizations—including ITG, SemanticBits, Creative Systems and Consulting, and ESAC—that offer an improvement in scalability, analytics and other functionality related to data. Seeing how all this data fits together allows for a deeper impact and keener insights.

Challenges Ahead       

In addition to data, a holistic approach to population well-being is a high priority in the coming years. The intersection of social determinants of health and health data is key to broadening a narrow view of communities into big picture thinking. Welham shares the example of the circumstances around extreme heat events last summer where underserved communities were disproportionately affected. The lack of modern conveniences such as air conditioning or clean water grew from a weather issue to a child welfare concern. Taking these community circumstances into account creates a new, holistic view of well-being.

Creating a Culture for Success

It is not unusual for ICF employees to have long-standing tenure with the company. Welham herself started as a research assistant more than 30 years ago. The intentional commitment to employee growth overall is a large part of this retention. In addition, the company fosters an inclusive and diverse work environment including affinity groups to encourage personal interaction. Welham explains that each employee shares an investment in the company’s purpose and a dedication to clients, something that every organization aims for but rarely achieves.

About Jennifer Welham

A 30-year veteran of ICF, Jennifer Welham brings an unparalleled federal health background to her role as Senior Vice President of the company’s health, human services and workforce business. Jennifer previously led the team that provides research, analytics, training, technical assistance, and evaluation support to a wide range of U.S. federal health clients, from the National Institutes of Health to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Prior to that, she held positions at the Environmental Protection Agency for over 10 years, overseeing large task orders and contracts for several federal agencies with public health missions.

In her new role, Jennifer leads a 2,650+ person team focused on growing the company’s U.S. federal health, social programs, security, and organizational business, which had a record number of contract wins recently.

About ICF

ICF is a global consulting and technology services company with approximately 9,000 employees, but we are not your typical consultants. At ICF, business analysts and policy specialists work together with digital strategists, data scientists and creatives. We combine unmatched industry expertise with cutting-edge engagement capabilities to help organizations solve their most complex challenges. Since 1969, public and private sector clients have worked with ICF to navigate change and shape the future.


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