Tiara Green of Accessia Health On 5 Things You Need To Know To Successfully Lead A Nonprofit Organization
Collaboration is key to success. The old adage ‘it takes a village’ or ‘there is strength in numbers’ couldn’t be more accurate in the nonprofit world. Given the modest size of most departments, being able to foster collaboration among all departments is vital to achieving organizational goals.
As part of my series about “individuals and organizations making an important social impact”, I had the pleasure of interviewing Tiara Green.
Tiara Green serves as the Interim CEO of Accessia Health, a national nonprofit with a mission to provide the financial safety net, products, services, and assistance to patients and families living with rare or chronic health conditions. With a visionary mindset, Tiara is dedicated to advancing health equity, identifying and fulfilling the disparities in patient care, and empowering the next generation of professionals. She has a B.S. from Virginia Commonwealth University and her MS.Ed. from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, focusing on community health and health promotion respectively.
Thank you so much for doing this with us. Before we begin our readers would like to get to know you a bit more. Can you tell us a bit about your “backstory”?
Born and raised in New York, I earned my B.S. from Virginia Commonwealth University and my MS.Ed. from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University focusing on community health and health promotion, respectively. With a passion for advancing health equity, health literacy, and justice, I’m fortunate that my career and personal aspirations align seamlessly. I serve as the Interim CEO of Accessia Health, a national nonprofit patient assistance organization, supporting individuals living with rare or chronic health conditions. I’m also the co-founder of a small nonprofit that uses art to give back to the local community, where I combine my passion for health and education with creative expression to empower and inspire marginalized groups.
Having two decades of experience within the public health sector, my focus has been on health, prevention, management, and healthcare. I’m honored to work for an organization that calls out the need for widespread and equitable access to healthcare, as well as the disparities that prevent many patients from obtaining treatment.
I started at Accessia Health 10 years ago, joining the team as a Program Manager and advancing to my former role of Senior Vice President of Programs & Policy. Now serving as the organization’s Interim CEO, I oversee organizational growth and adapt to the ongoing challenges and ever-evolving guidelines of the healthcare industry, including identifying new avenues to improve healthcare access and revenue generation. Committed to creating better health outcomes for all, my mission to improve diversity, inclusion, and equity throughout the industry also inspired me to co-create a DEI&B Committee at Accessia Health.
Can you tell us the story behind why you decided to join your nonprofit?
When I first learned about Accessia Health, it was a perfect alignment with my community health background, values, and passion to improve the health of all individuals. Given that, there was no question that Accessia Health was the right fit. When you are able to truly believe in the mission of an organization, it motivates you to do the hard work and be part of something bigger than yourself.
I’ve worked with nonprofits in the past and one of the most valuable experiences is being able to make a meaningful difference. At Accessia Health, I have the opportunity to see how our team is positively impacting the lives of individuals living with chronic health conditions.
Can you describe how you or your organization aims to make a significant social impact?
Accessia Health recognizes that for many underserved patients, the factors hindering access to medicines and optimal health outcomes are more than financial, and can vary significantly by medical condition and community. We are prioritizing equitable and inclusive access to resources and multilingual, culturally appropriate information and navigation to achieve better outcomes. Studies show that economic and systemic challenges often impede access to healthcare, particularly in communities of color. Hispanic or Latino communities have among the highest percentages of uninsured individuals at over 17%, with the African American community above 9%. Equitable access to affordable healthcare is pivotal in ensuring individuals and their families obtain preventive care, address health concerns sooner, and achieve the best possible health outcomes, while minimizing financial burdens and other stressors.
Through our 75+ disease programs, we offer case management, financial assistance, education, and other related services. Our holistic, inclusive, and outcomes-focused approach to patient assistance addresses the unmet needs and improves access to healthcare throughout the continuum of care. In fact, over 50% of our patient population utilizes our network for more than just co-payment assistance.
We’ve also launched community programs within the last year to support this priority, including the Healthy People, Healthy Communities initiative, a nationwide endeavor that aligns with the Health and Human Services’ Healthy People 2030 initiative to tackle health disparities by meeting people where they are, community by community.
Without saying any names, can you share a story about an individual who was helped by your idea/nonprofit so far?
It’s nearly impossible to single out just one story among the many we receive, all illustrating how Accessia Health has alleviated the financial burden and concerns associated with managing chronic conditions. However, certain narratives stand out.
What resonates most through the testimonials is the profound gift of time that our assistance provides. Through our support, individuals gain the precious opportunity to spend more time with their loved ones — witnessing the growth of children and grandchildren, celebrating graduations, and simply savoring life’s moments. This, to me, is priceless. It’s the one thing that we cannot put a price tag on.
I vividly recall a specific patient whom Accessia Health aided during a period of financial hardship. Despite overcoming her challenges and no longer requiring assistance, she chose not to simply move on. Instead, she expressed a heartfelt desire to pay it forward by contributing to our organization through a generous donation. This encapsulates the spirit of people helping people, a core principle at the heart of Accessia Health’s purpose and success.
Are there three things the community/society/politicians can do to help you address the root of the problem you are trying to solve?
- Speak up and use your voice! Raise awareness about the existing healthcare challenges in your community, and use your voice to amplify the need for equitable access to care. Join forces and collaborate with local organizations and nonprofits who are focusing on addressing these unmet needs.
- Educate yourself and others. For care providers, understanding the barriers to care in your community is key to improving healthcare access. Knowledge is power, and the more awareness there is regarding social determinants of health and disparities, the better chance for action and change. It starts at the local level, identifying these roadblocks, community by community.
- Engage with local leaders. It’s extremely important to support legislation that will provide resources to the communities that need it the most, often in underserved urban or rural communities. Celebrate existing initiatives that are improving healthcare access in your community, and lobby for continued change.
Health-related costs and systemic obstacles can be significant barriers to accessing necessary care, treatment, and support. It is imperative that we have the courage to change how we think and operate in order to find ways to meet the needs of our communities. The more informed and action-oriented we are as a whole, the stronger the impact. However, it is important to note that this is a collaborative approach and does not fall on one individual, entity, or organization.
How do you define “Leadership”? Can you explain what you mean or give an example?
Leadership is all about guiding, influencing and motivating others toward a shared vision or goal. I operate as a servant leader by closely guiding and mentoring the next generation of healthcare professionals. In my time at Accessia Health, I’ve spearheaded an internship program to prepare young professionals for the health sciences world, ensuring the students — all of whom are from the same program that I graduated from at Virginia Commonwealth University — have the tools necessary to flourish in the workforce. This is one of the highlights of my job — preparing rising young professionals for the health sciences world.
Based on your experience, what are the “5 things a person should know before they decide to start or join a non profit”. Please share a story or example for each.
- Nonprofit work can be challenging and requires compassion. It’s important to truly believe in the mission of the organization. There are often long nights and early mornings, so the work that you are doing has to mean something to you and serve as motivation when the work gets tough.
- Fundraising is a shared responsibility that involves everyone. We know that many individuals/companies don’t give simply because they aren’t asked to contribute. So, what better way to ensure your fundraising success than by equipping every team member with the tools to promote your nonprofit and ask for donations.
- Let your data tell your story. Organizations and individuals alike want assurance that their donations make a difference. Once a donation is received, it is critical to demonstrate how the funds have made an impact. Tracking your organization’s successes and letting the data tell a story is key. The goal is to retain donors for more than one year, and gain new donors who want to join the organization in accomplishing its mission.
- Embracing adaptability allows a nonprofit to thrive. Flexibility empowers you to swiftly pivot when confronted with changes. Whether it’s navigating unexpected shifts in a new initiative’s outcomes, adapting to evolving circumstances, or responding to a key donor’s decision to alter their contribution, being adaptable allows you to effectively manage uncertainties in the dynamic landscape of our work.
- Collaboration is key to success. The old adage ‘it takes a village’ or ‘there is strength in numbers’ couldn’t be more accurate in the nonprofit world. Given the modest size of most departments, being able to foster collaboration among all departments is vital to achieving organizational goals.
Can you share your favorite “Life Lesson” Quote? How is that relevant to you in your life?
The best is yet to come. No matter what is going on in your life now, something better awaits. Regardless of your current circumstances, there’s always the promise of something better. Even in the face of adversity, it’s conceivable to manifest a brighter future with sincere intention and determination.
How can our readers follow you online?
Tiara Green’s LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/tiara-g-62bb3713/
Accessia Health website: accessiahealth.org
Accessia Health Instagram: @accessiahealth
Accessia Health Facebook: Accessia Health
Accessia Health Twitter/X: @AccessiaHealth
This was very meaningful, thank you so much. We wish you only continued success in your mission.
Tiara Green of Accessia Health On 5 Things You Need To Know To Successfully Lead A Nonprofit… was originally published in Authority Magazine on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.