Alumni Profile: Jennifer Dunivent
By Patrick Broadwater
Monday, January 28, 2019 12:10 PM
In the summer of 2014, Jennifer Dunivent ’00N, ’04N (MS) was less than a year into a position as an IT consultant when she learned that her new company was eliminating her entire division. A single mom raising three girls, Dunivent had just left a job she loved as a clinical consultant for a health services technology firm because the travel had become too onerous for her and her family.
Uncertain which way to turn, she entertained thoughts of remaining in the health IT field, focusing on her clinical work, or returning to a position in health care management. Within days, she had found her way. She got an email that the Finger Lakes Performing Provider System (FLPPS) was looking for a senior associate on their provider relations team. Leveraging her clinical background and customer relations skills honed as a consultant over the previous six years, she dove into health care reform, where she connected with health care leaders across a 13 county region, including Dan Ireland, the president of United Memorial Medical Center (UMMC) in Batavia.
Her two-year stint with FLPPS led directly to a new role at UMMC as director of operations for outpatient practices. The newly created position oversees the business functions of all outpatient practices associated with UMMC, including all primary care, urgent care, and specialty practices, focusing on excellence in operations, patient experience, quality care, and budget management.
“I’ve focused my entire career to get to this point,” said Dunivent, who was named a 40 Under 40 honoree by the Rochester Business Journal in 2017. “Knowing it’s a brand-new role, I have the freedom and autonomy to leverage my diverse background and help develop a relatively new line of business for UMMC, and that’s what really appealed to me.
“I’m not doing hands-on patient care anymore, but I’m still impacting patient care. I can impact the lives of many more than the 20 patients I might see in a day as a nurse practitioner.”
Dunivent’s twisting career path and unique combination of clinical and analytical skills prepared her well for the role. She started her career as a neonatal ICU nurse at Strong Memorial Hospital then transitioned to the Emergency Department full time. She served as a clinical resource nurse and bed coordinator at Strong while concurrently working as a lead NP and nurse manager at Rochester General Hospital’s pediatric emergency room. At RGH, she oversaw major changes in operations, such as getting the ER to remain open 24 hours a day and moving to electronic medical records.
Feeling that she had a knack for the business side of health care, the two-time UR School of Nursing grad went back to the University of Rochester, earning an MS in business-medical management from the Simon School. After graduating in 2008, she joined MEDHOST, the software firm that she worked with at RGH to implement the electronic records system. As a clinical consultant, she helped health systems do an assessment of their needs and leverage technology to fill performance gaps and improve overall operations.
Before she even enrolled in nursing school, Dunivent saw the benefits of using technology to improve how systems work. As a first-year college student she shadowed her mother, who was working at the time as a nurse for a plastic surgeon in California, taking it upon herself to create clean digital copies of patient education materials, replacing faded, misaligned paper handouts that had degraded in quality from multiple runs through a photocopier. Her mother later clipped an article out of a magazine that focused on the emerging role of chief nursing information officers and shared with Dunivent with a note that said, “I see you doing this in the future.”
“Ten years later, that was actually the field I was working in,” said Dunivent. “She saw me commingling the clinical and technology – it just didn't really exist yet back then.”
“I strongly believe that everything happens for a reason. That’s my mantra. When I look back, everything led me to where I am right now. I feel like I’m right where I’m supposed to be.”