Get To Know: Tira Mays | Broadlawns Celebrates Black History Month

This Black History Month, Broadlawns is celebrating by highlighting a few of the many amazing Black colleagues who make an impact every day at our hospital.

Tira Mays, Government Programs CoordinatorTira Mays

Job Title

Government Programs Coordinator

Tell us about what you do in a typical day.

My days are not “typical”. I start my morning by checking my calendar before I go into the office.

I have scheduled meetings daily, community committee meetings, patient meetings to assist with applying for resources and services, meetings with patients and case-management. These are all scheduled events. There are often non-scheduled events that I sometimes must drop the scheduled events to attend to; patient needs, staff needs. It is said that I am a “fixer”. 

When I physically get to the office I check emails, and the hospital daily census. I set aside each day an hour-two hours to review Iowa Department of Human Services and other appropriate agency rules and policies, and, during this time of the year legislative policies that involve Medicaid.

It’s my job to know healthcare systems, the ins and outs of healthcare.

How long have you worked at Broadlawns?

I have worked for Broadlawns going on 16 years this year October 17, 2021.

What attracted you to a career in healthcare?

I was not attracted to a career in healthcare. It just happened. When I moved to Iowa from Detroit, Michigan I worked for Consultec (a Medicaid fiscal agent at the time) for the State of Iowa.

After I completed my undergraduate studies at Grand View University in Business Administration I was recruited and hired to work for Cahaba GBA (Medicare/Medicaid fiscal agent).  It seemed that this career path in healthcare was becoming my unplanned profession.
I left healthcare for a few years to work for Children and Families of Iowa as a Domestic Violence Advocate and Trainer. After a few years I started to get burned-out and began to look for another job. The next job I accepted and was hired for was at Broadlawns Medical Center as a Financial Counselor. This was not where I planned to be, but this is where I was needed.

I went back to school to earn a Master’s Degree in Adult Learning and Organizational Performance through a partnership program that Broadlawns had with Drake University School of Education.  By this time, even before completing the program, I had already been promoted to Broadlawns Medicaid Program Coordinator after 1 year and half of working for Broadlawns. This career in healthcare was looking more and more promising, but still was not in my plans.

Lastly, the Affordable Care Act, also known as the ACA or Obamacare, was to be up at running by 2014. This was a huge deal for our country. I was asked to travel throughout the State of Iowa to help educate people about the Affordable Care Act. This was in partnership with The Iowa Insurance Commission.  I traveled the back roads alone (a Black woman) to small towns in Iowa educating people about the Affordable Care Act.

This is when I realized that I had a true passion for helping underserved populations in Iowa to secure medical insurance and services. I went on to go to Drake University Law School to learn more about the Affordable Care Act and healthcare systems. This is where I earned my second Master’s Degree, a Master of Science in Jurisprudence/Health Law.

I didn’t choose a career in healthcare. I simply chose to fulfil a need.

What do you like about working at Broadlawns?

I love our patients. I have met a lot of great patients while working here.

Name a Black American you admire and think people should learn more about.

I admire past President Barack Obama. I think that people should learn more about him and his style of leadership.

What books by Black authors do you recommend?

I love “Acts of Faith” by Iyanla Vanzant.

What does it mean to be an inclusive healthcare provider?

It means that you create a provider/patient experience that is welcoming for all people. It means that you offer services that are conducive of individual patient needs; their cultural needs, socio-economic needs, educational needs, and many other needs.

What ways do you challenge/invite others to honor Black history, this month and beyond?

I challenge or invite others to celebrate Black History Month and beyond by making time, putting time aside to get to know others who are unlike yourself. Take time to find out why people act a certain way, or do the things that they do. Take time to get to know yourself and your history, this will help you to learn and to understand why you do the things that you do, or act the way you act.  To know someone is to understand and to appreciate who they are, including their history and their culture.