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Compassion Behind the Numbers

Published on September 8, 2021

Meet Missouri Scientist, Xavier Ransome

Treating people with kindness has been a pillar of Xavier Ransome’s upbringing. He credits his parents, with their background in both healthcare and the military, for showing him goodness and the importance of being a steward to mankind. This passion for serving the community influenced his decision to go into healthcare and do something with his career that meant something to him.

“I wanted to help others achieve the benefits of life I have been lucky to experience,” Xavier said. 

Training at the Intersection of Technology and Health Care 

Xavier studied at the University of South Florida (USF) in Tampa for his undergraduate degree in health information technology and health information management (summa cum laude). Health information management sits at the intersection of technology and health care, focusing on analyzing medical information and using what has happened in the past to predict what may happen in the future. 

Throughout his time at USF, he was heavily involved in the Health Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS) which works to support healthcare professionals using information technology. As a student, he attended conferences and roundtables with other students and professionals to learn about research and new strategies in the field.

After graduating from USF, Xavier decided he wanted to do more for his community. 

“Working as a clinician you would have one on one interactions or just work with researchers but I wanted to impact healthcare on a broader population scale,” Xavier said. This drove him to the University of Missouri to pursue his dual master's in health informatics and health administration. As a graduate research assistant, Xavier was able to experience first hand the power of research in healthcare through data science and population health analytics. 

Tackling and Reducing Hospital Recidivism 

Xavier’s research works to tackle and reduce recidivism, which occurs when patients are readmitted to the hospital within 30 days of release. His research focused on highlighting different socioeconomic factors that contribute to patients being readmitted to the psychiatric department. Some of the variables investigated included a history of substance abuse, homelessness, foster care and even the tattoo to tooth ratio!

“When seeing a high tattoo to tooth ratio, or something similar, it’s a sign to look out for other factors,” Xavier said. 

Overall, the goal of the research was to find factors that may put a patient at a higher risk for returning to the hospital, and give them the resources and assistance they need the first time to reduce the likelihood of a return visit.

“This pushed me to fulfill my passion to become a champion for disadvantaged or minority populations,” Xavier said. “Taking action to actually help these people, not just on an individual level, but from a broader healthcare perspective.” 

Using Research Skills to Help Communities

Xavier started an administrative internship studying population health at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City shortly after he began his research with recidivism. His internship focused on analyzing the factors contributing to maternal mortality rates, specifically in women of color. 

Women of color have a higher chance of dying than white mothers due to pregnancy complications. This research opportunity solidified Xavier’s mission to help his community through his research and data wrangling skills. He became a HIMSS Program Assistant shortly after his internship ended.

“I started working for the same society that I dreamed of [as an undergraduate],” Xavier said. As a Program Assistant, he was able to work for and lead the same conferences he was attending just a few short years before, teaching students and professionals alike how healthcare research can change lives.

Xavier’s passion for bettering his community led him to join Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity Inc., the first Black intercollegiate fraternity in the world, while at the University of Missouri. “We strive to build leaders and provide service and advocacy for our communities which really helps feed into my passions of helping people who aren’t normally able to get the resources they need,” Xavier said. 

Combating Health Disparities through Diverse Perspectives

Xavier is currently in the 3rd year of his dual master's program and works as an Associate Data Analyst at the non-profit Government Employees Health Association where he analyzes population data in regards to healthcare. All of his work is aimed at using data and predictive analytics to assist the community to get the help they need when they need it. However, this work is not without its challenges - many doctors and healthcare providers don’t have the time or resources to report this data to scientists, such as counting the tattoo to tooth ratio. 

“When you have these patients and can identify these signs, you’re able to find out other factors which can increase their risk of recidivating,” Xavier said. “You can start to form a profile for patients that are more likely to return and we’re able to focus on getting them resources, seeing what we can do to prevent this.”

There are many disparities in healthcare that lead to repeat patient visits, a big one is patient literacy. As a scholar of the Institute for Diversity and Health Equity, an affiliate of the American Hospital Association, Xavier attended The Leadership Summit where senior healthcare executives and experts in the field discuss how to improve equity within healthcare. At present, he is an Administrative Scholar at the Bluford Healthcare Leadership Institute, which aims to eliminate this inequality found in healthcare by supporting healthcare workers of color and providing them professional development to be ready for leadership roles in hospitals.

Xavier chose to pursue informatics because of the advancements the healthcare field is experiencing every day, and his mother’s career of finding efficiencies in healthcare operations gave him a sneak peek into this industry. This upbringing coupled with his passion to help others seemed like a natural path to analyzing healthcare data to improve communities.

“I felt that healthcare is experiencing a new revolution in digital care and we need pioneers and people with diverse mindsets that are going to be able to care about these inequities,” Xavier said. “And then we figure out a way to really impact them and provide a solution.”

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