Sometimes life takes us to the place where we belong in unexpected ways. In 2012, Elide Marquez Romero was working for No Boundaries, a company that provides interpreters and translation services to businesses in Chester County and the surrounding area. One day her supervisor asked her to fill in for another interpreter at ChesPenn’s Coatesville office. She continued to substitute at Coatesville off and on for three years until Dr. Rekha Yagnik, ChesPenn’s Medical Director, asked to have her assigned to our Eastside health center in Chester full time. Elide found the work of giving patients a voice – as she puts it, “letting them borrow me to express their needs, worries, and fears” – to be challenging and fulfilling. She shared the story of a woman who had recently arrived from Africa and only spoke French. While she’s not fluent in French, Elide was able to communicate enough to help her and her child. The woman broke down in tears because someone could finally help her child, who had been sick for months.
Elide became an integral member of the Eastside team. She attended meetings and trainings side by side with ChesPenn employees. In 2019 when we began working to develop more trauma-informed practices, she was one of the first to sign on as a Trauma Champion so she could be a part of that process. As an interpreter, Elide was able to observe every aspect of the operation of the site – she was at the front desk and in exam rooms with patients and their providers. And the more involved she became, the more passion she felt for the work. In 2020, when we were seeking a new Office Manager for Eastside, she was the obvious choice. In 2022, she was promoted to Senior Office Manager and then Director of Operations.
Elide had previous experience as a manager but found quickly that managing a health center brought unique challenges. “Susan (Susan Harris McGovern, ChesPenn’s CEO) gave me a lot of support. I started on February 24 and a week later the pandemic started. I think the most important role for the Office Manager is to make sure every part of the clinic runs as smoothly as possible so we can take care of the patients and the staff both. Being able to anticipate what might come up is key.”
As Director of Operations, Elide has expanded her approach to ensure that every site runs smoothly while building a culture of teamwork across the sites. It can be hard to create that feeling of unity across multiple sites in a large organization, but she sees it as essential to the wellbeing of both staff and patients. Drawing on her interest in trauma-informed organizations, she is well aware that patient wellbeing is directly related to the staff’s sense of working in a safe, high-functioning environment. Consistency and a spirit of unity foster that feeling of wellbeing for everyone. Her philosophy is “We are not Coatesville, we are not Upper Darby, we are not Chester – we are ChesPenn.”