Moving Healthcare Forward

As part of a team transforming the Lehigh Valley Health Network, Ada Rivera ’09 and Nate Boateng ’14 build consensus with clear, confident leadership.

By: Cindy Kuzma  Tuesday, October 15, 2019 10:40 AM

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When your job involves shifting a large health system from the status quo into the future, you’re bound to run into a little friction.

“We are a disruptive team. We swim in everybody’s lane,” says Ada Rivera ’09, administrator for network transformation and strategic partnerships at Lehigh Valley Health Network (LVHN).

Fortunately for Rivera and her coworker Nate Boateng ’14, a project analyst in the same department, the liberal arts education they received at Muhlenberg’s Wescoe School of Continuing Education provided communication, storytelling and leadership skills to smooth over any choppy waters.

Both work for the LVHN’s Center for Connected Care and Innovation. Under the chief transformation officer, this department encompasses everything from telehealth initiatives to innovative partnerships to community and population health projects focused on reducing re-hospitalizations.

The end goal? To embrace the shift away from fee-for-service in health care toward newer models. “We have to do a better job at offering higher-value care at a lower cost,” Boateng says. 

To aid in these efforts, Boateng oversees key performance indicators and analytics development, making sure the organization is tracking the right metrics. And he transforms complex data into visually appealing and easy-to-digest charts, maps and graphics.

“I have to figure out how to tell the same story to a number of different audiences, from hospital executives to community members and folks who may not have English as a first language,” he says. For instance, one recent project was a community health needs assessment, where he and his team found an understandable way to display nearly 80 pages of publicly available data.

His major at Muhlenberg was media & communication, and the knowledge he gained is “invaluable; I use it in almost everything I do here.”

Rivera, meanwhile, leads the health system in developing strategic partnerships with companies like Medtronic and CVS for community outreach, education and screening efforts.

She was in the first cohort of Wescoe’s accelerated business administration program, earning her bachelor’s in 22 months while working full-time, and she credits the fast pace and the focus on presentation skills for her emergence as a confident, refined leader.

“In the work I do right now, I'm not successful unless I’m leading others within different areas of the organization,” she says. “You need to have extremely strong communication and relational skills to make that happen. My experience at Muhlenberg was that foundation for me.”

LVHN - Ada Rivera and Nathan Boateng - 2Ada Rivera ’09 and Nate Boateng ’14 challenge the status quo on a daily basis in their work for Lehigh Valley Health Networks' Center for Connected Care and Innovation.

The two didn’t overlap at Wescoe. They didn’t meet until earlier this year, when they both moved to the department (Boateng has been at the organization since 2001; Rivera started in 2006).

“It's really a lot of coincidence,” Boateng says. “We’ve laughed about the fact that we both did our undergrad well into adulthood, and here we are working on some pretty disruptive projects aimed at redesigning traditional healthcare.”

In fact, now that they both have degrees—Rivera also earned her MBA at DeSales University, and Boateng is halfway through his master’s in instructional technology at Lehigh University—there’s no limit to where they can go within the organization, Rivera says. She hopes their example inspires others considering coming back to Muhlenberg later: “You can do it, because this structure is made for you to come out successful.”