As vice president of mission integration for Genesys, a Catholic health system in Flint, Andy Kruse gets to mix his faith with his career. He says, “I am not sure if I pursued the job or the job pursued me.”
Andy goes on to say that “The mission and values of Genesys represent our highest sense of purpose. Implicit in those statements of [Catholic] identity is our concern and care for those most vulnerable. The city of Flint has its challenges. Following the example of our historic sponsors, we continue to follow the need and provide programs and services to hopefully address those needs.”
Andy took a few minutes to talk to FAITH magazine about his mission and the role faith plays in his day-to-day operations.
I reflect on how God was calling me [to this job], in terms of using my gifts and talents at a place and time that God felt those gifts and talents matched the hopes and desires of the ministry.
I had a pretty good understanding of what the role entailed, primarily from having a good mentor in Sister Betty Granger. At the time, she was the vice president for Mission Integration at Genesys and took on responsibility at St. John Providence in the Detroit area.
Watching by example and through mentoring opportunities, I was exposed to the role long before I assumed the position. I’m not certain there were any surprises, but I don’t think you’re ever fully prepared because we live in a world that is constantly changing, and how do we adapt to those changes, and continue to be very true to the ministry.
I was in a meeting with one of my colleagues several years ago, and she asked me, ‘Why are you the way you are?’ At first, I didn’t know how to answer that question – is that a good thing or a bad thing? In terms of my faith and my values, the reason I am the way I am goes back to my parents, and they instilled Christian values in my family and in my faith life.
I think working for Genesys, in a faith-based institution, it was sort of matching the way I was raised. My beliefs are about my fellow man and how we treat each other, so I found a career where I match my professional with my spiritual life.
Continuing our long and storied heritage of serving the poor and vulnerable in our community, Genesys continues to provide necessary services to those most in need. Recently, we relocated one of our Residency Clinics to downtown Flint. Not only does this provide primary care services, we also opened an after-hours urgent care clinic in that location to ensure we were providing the right services to the underserved population in that area.
In addition, we recently opened a new PACE Center (Program of All Inclusive Care for the Elderly) next to the new Flint Farmers Market.
Through our Community Health Needs Assessment process, programs for our aging population emerged as an unmet need. PACE serves clients who are dual-eligible for Medicare and Medicaid whose families often come to us seeking support for their loved one. Not only are we providing necessary and needed care to our most vulnerable citizens, we are also creating nearly 140 jobs.
In addition to these two examples, Genesys’ leaders are expected to volunteer at community-based organization serving the community’s poor and vulnerable. Hundreds of community service hours are logged at organizations such as Catholic Charities’ Center for Hope, the North End Soup Kitchen and the Salvation Army.
Another activity in which the entire Genesys staff is involved is Shoes That Fit. Thousands of shoes, socks and gloves have been donated by Genesys Health System and their associates for the Flint Community Schools since the inception of that program. And throughout the year, Genesys associates support many other community initiatives such as Harvest Gathering to help feed the needy, Hope in a Box, Toys for Tots and the United Way, to name just a few more.
When we have employees and associates who leave Genesys and come back, or others who have had their care provided in other hospitals, whether it’s in the community or elsewhere, they will always say, ‘It feels different at Genesys.’ And often times, it’s very, very hard to pinpoint what that means and why it feels different, but I think when people are able to live out their faith and their values in a faith-based way, it’s very hard not to have that carry-over in their patient-care areas.
I think creating an environment that is mission-driven and values based, and being very proud of that, it spills over into the patient experience and how we treat one another.
Something To Do
A Special Mass is offered the third Thursday of every month at St. Michael Church, Flint, at 8:45 a.m. for the intentions of clients and staff of Catholic Charities of Shiawassee and Genessee Counties. All are welcome to pray for those in need.