Etcetera - 01/19/12


Qualis Health in Seattle selected Whitman College graduate Tina Schwien for the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services' Innovation Advisors Program.

A resident of the Ballard area in Seattle, Tina has been a bedside nurse, an analyst and consultant with a number of private- and public-sector entities. She has served as a quality improvement consultant at Qualis Health since 2010. After Whitman, she also graduated from programs through Johns Hopkins University and the University of Washington.

The initiative, launched by CMS Innovation Center in October 2011, will help health professionals deepen skills that will drive improvements to patient care and reduce costs, according to a release.

"We are delighted that CMS has recognized Tina's past accomplishments and her great potential to make substantial contributions to improving healthcare," said Dr. Jonathan Sugarman, president and CEO of Qualis Health. "Our organization is committed to supporting her efforts to engage patients and providers in order to achieve our goals for better care, better health and lower costs." Tina is one of 73 individuals from 27 states and the District of Columbia participating in the Innovation Advisors Program. After an initial orientation phase, Innovation Advisors will work with the CMS Innovation Center to test new models of care delivery in their own organizations and communities. They will also create partnerships to find new ideas that work and share them regionally and across the U.S.

The daughter of Carol Schwien-Weider and sister of Erika Riley, both of Walla Walla, Tina has an extensive clinical and research background. She has served as a quality improvement consultant at Qualis Health since 2010. Tina and the other participants were selected from 920 applications through a competitive process,.

Qualis Health will receive a stipend of up to $20,000 to support Tina's activities while serving as an innovation advisor.

Russ Winton mentioned the Walla Walla area in a Jan. 10 commentary, "Wine Line: Pulling the cork off of 2012" in the Merced Sun Star online.

Russ listed several resolutions for the new year, the final one being he plans to visit Washington state with an eye on the Columbia River Valley and Walla Walla region, which "have become world-famous for their red wines. Washington is the second-largest wine-producing state with about 700 bonded wineries. "Visitors have increased to 1.7 million in 2010 from 350,000 in 2006. Yes, I do believe the time is right. I can hear those engines revving now, just waiting for takeoff. So here's to an exciting 2012. Cheers!" Read more at

Etcetera appears in daily and Sunday editions. Annie Charnley Eveland can be reached at


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