Each September hundreds of bicyclists, or as we here at Housing Works call them, endurance activists, ride 285 miles from Boston to NYC as part of BRAKING AIDS® Ride. Though the three-day ride is fully supported by staff and crew, it requires a level of commitment above and beyond a typical donation. The riders and crew form teams – really quasi-families – who train and fundraise together all in the fight to end AIDS and homelessness. This weekend, Housing Works own Director of Quality Improvement, Ali Kliegman, will ride with her mother who flew in from Wisconsin to participate.
We caught up with Ali to discuss her role at Housing Works, her training and what inspires her to come to work each day.
Housing Works: Name, occupation:
Ali Kliegman: Director of Quality Initiatives, Housing Works
HW: In 140 characters or less, describe your role at Housing Works:
I guide programs in creating more efficient systems that will improve the quality of care for the Housing Works community.
HW: What inspires you to come to work each day?
AK: I was raised by parents who both worked in the healthcare field and had a commitment to underserved populations. I myself have been working in public health for 15 years now and I grow more committed every day. I am inspired by those around me who work in this field despite the issues our society faces with providing quality care. Ultimately I am inspired by the dedication to this work that I’ve seen from my parents, my co-workers, and most importantly the clients we serve who deserve the best care possible. It’s that simple to me, everyone deserves good quality care.
HW: Tell us a Housing Works success story:
I know that we have all been talking about the Undetectables in various arenas for some time now. But, as the person who analyzes the agency-wide data 2-3 times per month, I am still in awe of how I have seen this program transform Housing Works. What our community has achieved in 18 months is remarkable, and I still smile with pride every time I calculate the viral load suppression rate for our Undetectables community (which, by the way, has been OVER 80% for some time now). I see program directors and case managers beam with happiness when they report the viral load suppression rate for their program or case load. I see the joy that clinic staff have when they get to give a client a gift card for the first time. I see the clients bragging to their social worker about their latest undetectable lab results or wearing their Undetectables pin while visiting our offices. All of these are success stories, they are successes for us as a community on many levels. I look forward to Housing Works setting even higher goals with viral load suppression and going beyond what we once thought was possible in terms of providing quality care and improved health outcomes.
HW: You’re participating in BRAKING AIDS® Ride for the first time this weekend and doing it with your mother, how’s training going?
AK: The training has been very challenging, but after a long hot summer of early mornings and long rides I’m starting to see the benefits. I feel stronger and fitter and I even get excited about long rides. I have had to travel a few times and when I’m away from my bike for too long I start to miss it! I have gotten to know some amazing teammates (including staff) in ways that I would never have without doing this training; their support has been wonderful. I’m a bit accident prone and have fallen a few times on group rides. Whenever I’ve fallen the group has stopped immediately and everyone has shown true concern and support for how I am doing post-fall. I have definitely earned some scars during this training!
HW: What do you do when you’re not training for BRAKING AIDS® Ride?
AK: Well when I’m not training for the ride I am usually training for a marathon! I really do love exploring NYC by foot and challenging myself in endurance events. From all this running I’m often ravenous and spend a good amount of time eating, specifically finding the best vegan eats this city has to offer. You can also find me walking my dog Ennis all over Brooklyn; we’ve been together for ten years and I would take him with me everywhere if I could.
Follow Ali and the rest of the BRAKING AIDS® riders on Twitter at @housingworks.blog comments powered by Disqus