Mercy Health Colleague Spotlight

In celebration of Black History Month, Mercy Health is spotlighting some of our many colleagues who are contributing to the health and safety of our patients and the communities of West Michigan.

Tanisha Norman CPhT, LPhT    

Technician, 340B Purchasing Analyst

 Mercy Health

Question: How long have you been working at Mercy Health? What is your area of expertise?

Answer: I have been an employee at Mercy Health for over 15 years. Previously, I was a technician in the retail and specialty pharmacies at the Hackley Campus. I have been a 340B Purchasing Analyst for two years now, and I consider that my expertise.

There are a lot of moving parts to the 340B program. Simply put, it is a federally funded program that reduces the cost of specific pharmaceuticals that qualified facilities (hospitals/clinics) can purchase. The savings can then be used in the community for services and programs where they are needed.

Q: Positively or negatively, how has your race impacted your experience as a clinical colleague?

A: Honestly, my race has not impacted my experience as a colleague very much. From the day that I was hired, most of my interactions with my patients and customers have been good. My colleagues treat me with kindness and respect equal to everyone else.

Q: What or who has been an inspiration to you during your career journey? 

A: My family has been an inspiration to me during my career journey. Like everyone else, I want more for my children than I had while growing up.

Q: Will you please share with us your education and training?

A: I completed the Pharmacy Technician program at Baker College of Muskegon, and I earned my associates degree in General Studies from Muskegon Community College. I am a Certified Pharmacy Technician (CPhT) through the Pharmacy Technician Certification Board and the State of Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs (LPhT).

Q: Would you encourage others to consider a career in health care?

A: I would encourage others to consider a career in health care because it’s extremely rewarding to help others, especially at a time such this. Whether you are on the frontlines helping patients or supporting others who are on the frontlines, it feels good to help those in need.

Q: Is there anything else you would like to say to our readers about being Black in America?

A: Outside of work, being black in America can be a challenge, to say the least. I have always felt the need to be nicer than average to cancel the stereotype of aggressiveness, and work harder than average to debunk the myth of laziness. Because there are so many people who have preconceived notions about people of color, at times I find myself walking on eggshells.

The need to have “The Talk” with our children is disheartening. For those who may not know what that is, “The Talk” is a conversation we have with our children (both boys and girls) to make them aware that some people could look at them, see their color and instantly decide that they are not good enough or smart enough, or that they have committed a crime or are about to. It has been painful to tell our children that they need to be prepared for racial profiling.

For example, in a store, I would tell our children not to touch things that they are not planning to purchase, and they should not put their hands in their pockets because in most cases they are being watched and/or followed.

I also tell our daughter that she must work even harder to “get a seat at the table,” in certain cases, because she is a female and a person of color, making her somewhat of a double minority. I often remind her that she could be the only person of color or only woman in the room but that doesn’t mean that she didn’t earn her place there.

Unfortunately, “The Talk” never really ends because I must help our children be ready for when they encounter certain situations. Despite all this, I take comfort in knowing that God is still in control no matter what things look like or how people treat you. That is something that we share with our children regularly to keep them encouraged.

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