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Michelle Hisaw 

Michelle Hisaw

  Business Manager / Bryan, Choctaw, McCurtain & Pushmataha counties

12 years of service

Got any favorite quotes?

“Anything worth doing is worth over doing.”

Who inspires you?

Even though they are both adults now, my kids inspire me. I continually want to be who they need me to be and for them to see me succeed. I want them to see, while I may fail at times, I never stop trying. I actually want them to see the good as well as the not so good in me then use that knowledge to their advantage when making their own life choices.

What is the most rewarding experience you have had in public health?

There are many things I have found rewarding throughout my time in public health. When asked this question though, my first thought is always from my SoonerStart days. There was a little boy in the program when I began working who had experienced a stroke in utero. He was only a year old when I started and seeing his improvement by the age of three, thanks to dedicated providers and a resilient momma who soaked in every bit of advice given to her, solidified to me that public health was exactly where I needed to be. It encouraged me to set a goal for myself to reach a position where I felt I could contribute and make a difference. Having the opportunity to be an administrative assistant then moving into my current role as a business manager allowed me to work and, hopefully, benefit the business side of public health in the counties I serve.

How did you start working in public health?

A friend of mine knew of an opening and encouraged me to apply. I was chosen for the positon and began working as an administrative technician for the SoonerStart Program in McCurtain County. At that point, I had very little knowledge of public health but was excited about the opportunity to learn. I quickly found there was much more to the health department than immunizations and WIC.

Can you share a few highlights of your experience in public health in Oklahoma?

I worked in the SoonerStart program from May 2007 until June of 2012. At that time, I accepted the administrative assistant position in Pushmataha County where I remained until June 2014 when I transferred to the administrative assistant position in Choctaw County. In November of that year, I accepted my current position as the business manager covering Bryan, Choctaw, McCurtain and Pushmataha counties.

I believe each position I held prepared me for my current position. Just prior to accepting this position, cash audits were conducted across the state and many areas were found to be lacking. A highlight for me was, after working with staff and educating them on proper cash handling procedures as well as overall financial guidelines, sitting through an internal audit which revealed minimal findings. I do not want to say this was a personal accomplishment. I feel like it simply reflects the competent work our staff is capable of when given a full picture of how things should be done and what documentation is needed to reflect that proper steps were taken to follow policy and procedures.

In your role, how do you educate people about public health?

I feel my role is more of an internal education role. Rather than educating the public as to the services available through their local health department, I educate staff regarding policy and procedures pertaining to the business side of our offices. I work with our clerical and nursing staff through chart reviews to ensure we have adequate client information and documentation for clinic visits. I also work closely with our administrative assistants who are responsible for financial tasks and local purchasing to make sure we are following OSDH policy/procedures as well as staying within county purchasing guidelines. 

What is the most difficult part of your job?

The most difficult part of my job is knowing there are public health needs not being met at times due to the rural area we are in and the lack of resources available in our communities.

If someone was interested in a public health career, what advice or encouragement would you give them?

I would encourage them to do some research on public health in order to know exactly what they were getting in to. While public health is a wonderful career choice for some, it isn’t for everyone. If they are looking for all sunshine and roses, public health may not be for them. However, if they are interested in a career that is rewarding due to being able to help others, some who are in very difficult situations, I would tell them they couldn’t make a better choice than public health. I truly believe our agency, and the programs we offer, make a difference in the overall health of our communities.

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