Kassie Marie Runsabove
BS Health & Human Performance 2008
Child Ready program manager, cultural liaison, St. Vincent Healthcare
Kassie Runsabove's family travels thousands of miles each year participating in powwows, where brightly dressed Native American dancers compete for recognition and sometimes for cash prizes.
"For me, it's a good way to stay in shape and be with my family," Runsabove said. "It's easy to tell your kids to do something when you’re doing it. I encourage them to dance because it helps them with the cultural exchange and to meet other tribes. If you're familiar with your own culture, you become more accepting of other cultures."
Countless hours go into crafting elaborate dance costumes. “Last year it took me four months to bead my son’s outfit,” Runsabove said. She cut the costume on the large side, she added, knowing that he would grow into it. It took her two years to make her own costume.
Runsabove’s name in the Gros Ventre, White Clay language is Nitowunh’eeih, or First Kill. It was given to her by her grandmother, Martha Nezperse.
In her previous job with RiverStone Health, Runsabove did outreach on the Crow and Northern Cheyenne reservations as a preventative health specialist with the Montana Cancer Screening Program.
That work led to her current position with St. Vincent Healthcare, where she is the Child Ready program coordinator and a cultural liaison.
The Montana Emergency Medical Services for Children program partnered with St. Vincent Healthcare to facilitate the Child Ready grant-funded program. The program was established to regionalize pediatric emergent care in Montana.
"We were trying to figure out what the hospitals need in regard to pediatric care, whether it was training, or education,” Runsabove said. “We found that what we needed was basic standards in the emergency department."
Child Ready and EMSC successfully developed two pediatric recognition criteria for critical access and major hospitals in Montana, she said.
“This is a volunteer program. However, we have several hospitals that have worked to complete the recognition program. There are four hospitals that are recognized as being pediatric prepared and three that are recognized as being pediatric capable,” she said.
As part of the process, the group distributed equipment to make sure that pediatric carts used to treat young patients are properly equipped.
What’s the biggest challenge you face in your job? My job requires a lot of travel to meet with all the hospitals across the state. The distance to travel and spend time away from my family is the difficult part.
What’s the best business advice you have received? Do what you love and love what you do.
Who gave you that advice? My Dad: retired CEO of Indian Health Service.
Here’s what I’d like to do to improve my community: I would like to see more celebration of diversity and acceptance across the cultures in our city.
Which living person do you most admire? My parents. They showed me firsthand what it meant to persevere and never give up.
Aside from profit and loss, how do you measure success in your job? I measure success in the healthcare field as one life improved through a strong collaboration between the person, family, community and healthcare organizations.
What do you consider your greatest achievement? Becoming a mother of three amazing children. My children are my world and seeing their personalities blossom is the best reward.
I’m happiest when I’m… with my family.
»» Find out how a bachelor's in health and human performance can help your career flourish.
Article & Photo credits: Billings Gazette