CHICAGO – Dr. Knitasha Washington is an educated, motivated health care consultant and researcher on a mission, a mission that primarily focuses on minorities and their health care issues. Washington is the executive director of Washington Howard Associates, a Chicago-based health care consultant and research firm working to bring to the forefront the primary care development initiative within the “black” and “brown” communities, and to initiate policy for quality health care services. As a multidimensional health care professional, Washington has joined forces with faith-based organizations, reinforcing her commitment toward education, research and policy changes, and approaching research from a practitioner’s perspective.
Her undergraduate studies were at Chicago State University, Washington gone on to earn a master of health administration degree from Governors State University. She followed up that success by finalizing her research pertaining to a diverse pipeline within the health care workforce, completing a doctor of health administration degree, as well as a certification in international health studies from Central Michigan University.
Washington is concerned that sickness is normative in far too many under served communities. Therefore, her commitment to partner with various faith-based organizations entails bridging the gap in understanding among people of different backgrounds and economic levels, with the end result being “economic improvement,” along with long-term improvement in health and day-to-day health care.
Chatting with Washington makes it apparent that if such thing as destiny exists, she was one of its children: As in a “child of destiny.” According to her, she landed in the health care field by default. With her formal education being “temporarily” derailed by her becoming a teenage mom, she sought out any type of employment to support herself and her daughter, as well as pursue her academic goals. With continued support and encouragement from both of her parents, her hopes, dreams and desires prevailed. Her first job was with Humana. During that time there was a lot of attention being paid to HMOs and the escalating cost of healthcare. Hindsight shows that this job began her career path and passion into what she now refers to as her “healthcare ministry.”
During our pre-interview conversation, Washington and I discussed a prior Examiner.com article written by me, Ms. Rhonda B., about “what is the meaning behind ‘your’ name?” True to form as a researcher, she had already looked up her own name and told me that “Knitasha” has Russian origins and actually means “gift from God.” And what a valuable gift she continues to be for the healthcare industry. Her target group is the 18 to 34 years of age and her research shows that when you know better, you make better decisions on the things that affect your day-to-day, as well as your long-term, well-being.