This October, four remarkable women of color from Health Catalyst have been nationally recognized for their excellence and contributions as women of color pursuing STEM. They have made outstanding contributions through their hard work, persistence, and commitment to success.
We sat down with award recipient Cass Eddy to learn more about her background, role, inspirations, and experiences as a woman in STEM. She was awarded with a Women of Color STEM Outstanding Achievement Award (OAA) as a Technology Rising Star based on an employer recommendation. Creative and innovative-minded, Cass applies her proficiency in UX strategy, data visualization, visual design, and web development to ensure user satisfaction and engagement through visually appealing and easily navigable web development, prototyping, and qualitative/quantitative research.
Will you share some of your background? What are some interests that have motivated where you are today?
I went to a health sciences high school and learned a lot about health and wellness. Through this experience, I changed my lifestyle and started exercising and eating a healthy diet which improved both my physical and mental wellbeing. From gaining such inspiring insight from my mentors in high school, I decided to take classes in college that focused on how I could help other people improve their physical and mental health through healthy habits. Majoring in exercise science and sociology and learning about physiology and research methodology allowed me to realize that research can be mistranslated. From this realization, I saw how social factors directly affect health outcomes which interested me in studying sociology.
How did you end up in your role at Health Catalyst?
Coming out of college, I initially wanted to do research and try to get my PhD in studying social factors of health. Towards the end of my college career, I started doing IT and technical work with mapping data. From familiarization with mapping data and computers, I realized I had the patience for technology. This inspired me to connect my passion for technology with social factors of health in applying how social factors of health can be addressed through technological capabilities.
What about your role at Health Catalyst is most exciting to you and why are you passionate about it?
I am a part of the User Experience Design and look at the more psychological side of research. I am passionate about making sure we are building efficient platforms for people to use that address their needs appropriately.
Are there any projects you are currently working on that excite you?
I am a part of the team that is working on the Healthcare Analytics Summit (HAS), and I worked on it last year as well. Working on it again this year excites me as we are making some improvements in mobile development to make the event as successful as possible.
How long have you been at Health Catalyst?
I have been here a little over a year!
Would you share a role model you find inspiring? What about this person inspires you?
The CEO of Duolingo, Luis von Ahn, was looking for ways to help people from all over the world. Duolingo is a fun, free app on your phone that creates a space for learning languages through quick, bite-sized lessons. He determined that learning English is vital in many foreign countries for increasing income, so he built Duolingo and is continuing to make it as interactive and helpful as possible. This inspires me because seeing Luis von Ahn’s commitment to expanding Duolingo’s capabilities connects with how UX’s abilities are continuing to be expanded through the implementation of social factors into the user experience and design process. Luis’s work not only teaches an individual a language lesson, but his work goes further in allowing this person to use the skills he or she learned and apply it to their life in a job, interaction, etc. Like Duolingo, working under the User Experience and Design side of Healthcare IT not only saves more time and money, but will ultimately improve someone’s life.
What advice would you give those following your footsteps in pursuing a career in STEM?
Seeking out great mentors was extremely helpful for me when I first began my journey in STEM. Having supportive mentors who inform you about the different aspects of the work you’re trying to pursue helps give a clear view of what the work entails on a variety of different levels.
What advice would you give your younger self?
I would tell myself to broaden my definition of what working in healthcare looks like. I wasn’t familiar with the reality that working in Healthcare IT and healthcare informatics programs is also an option in working under the realm of healthcare. Working in Healthcare IT has the potential to impact just as many people as providers do, if not more, from users from all over the world. I wish I would have known that when I was younger so I could have broadened my horizons and not have just limited myself to the exclusive definition of healthcare involving providers.
How does the mission of Health Catalyst resonate with you and inspire your work?
The mission of “to be the catalyst for massive, measurable, data-informed healthcare improvement” resonates with me because there are various inefficiencies in our healthcare system. Working at a place where all team members, regardless of their role, unite under that overarching goal is inspiring to me because we can solve some of these problems which will save numerous lives.