Helping lead a mass vaccination program for more than 100,000 UI Health Care employees, community members, and patients is no small feat, but John Heinemann, MHA, MPH, stepped up to the plate.
After guiding the UI Stead Family Department of Pediatrics through the first six months of the COVID-19 pandemic as the department’s interim director, Heinemann assumed critical leadership responsibilities in UI Health Care’s vaccine program as the new director of clinical performance management. In this role, he provided operational oversight for the implementation of UI Health Care’s COVID-19 vaccination clinics which spanned across multiple locations.
Heinemann says he will never forget being on Level 12 of the UI Stead Family Children’s Hospital back in December 2020 when the first employee—and first Iowan, for that matter—received a COVID-19 vaccination that was not part of a clinical trial.
“It was a heartwarming and emotional day, especially considering everything that we had been through as a society and workforce,” Heinemann says.
Over the following months, employees across UI Health Care stepped up to provide vaccinations to thousands of colleagues and patients. Heinemann recalls the excitement and hope among the first group of patients who became eligible to be vaccinated in early February 2021.
“I’ll never forget the patient who was so enthusiastic and thankful to be vaccinated that he was handing out his business cards telling us to stop by his produce stand to get free ears of corn,” he says.
Although Heinemann and the team graciously declined the gift, he explains it was “the happiest place you could be at UI Health Care that day.”
Giving back through education
Beyond his professional obligations at UI Health Care, Heinemann has also volunteered in various educational roles for almost two decades.
His passion for education started when he was a tutor as an undergraduate student at the University of South Dakota. Then, after college, his work continued when he became an educator for at-risk young adults. Now, as an adjunct professor at the UI College of Public Health and a leader in multiple community education programs, John continues to support his community through education.
“To me, it’s just about giving back because I know how I was impacted by having a mentor early on as a student,” he says. “It’s my continued way to want to pay it forward.”
When asked to give advice to young professionals looking to make an impact in their careers, Heinemann says, “I think finding and running with your passion is crucial because that’s where you can really impact your day-to-day work. We all have a role to play in the health care delivery system.”
Colleagues nominated Heinemann for the Corridor Business Journal’s Forty Under 40 Award, an honorary award for young professionals making an impact in their business and community early in their careers. As a recipient of this award, Heinemann will be recognized by CBJ on Oct. 20.
Congratulations on this well-deserved recognition John! You’ve stepped up to the plate and knocked it out of the park in nearly every role you’ve held throughout your remarkable career!
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