Grant Program Is a Game-Changer for Good Shepherd

September 14, 2021

Good Shepherd Innovation Grants

Michael Spigel, President & CEO of Good Shepherd Rehabilitation Network (GSRN), and Jessica Cooper, Executive Director of Good Shepherd Penn Partners (GSPP), share insights on the Good Shepherd Innovation Grant Program.

The brand-new program is the single most significant investment in idea generation that Good Shepherd has undertaken in its storied history.

Q: What are the goals of the Good Shepherd Innovation Grant Program?

SPIGEL: The goals are three-fold. Number one, we want to create a safe environment where employees feel good about bringing their great ideas forward. Number two, we want to promote greater collaboration between our employees who work at Good Shepherd Rehabilitation in the Lehigh Valley and Good Shepherd Penn Partners in Philadelphia. And number three, we want to solve big problems. We want to find new ways to improve patient care, clinical outcomes and develop new technologies. We want to solve big problems that affect our patients and can make their outcomes far, far greater.

Q: Why is this program a game-changer?

SPIGEL: We have 2,300 employees that work between Good Shepherd Rehabilitation Network and Good Shepherd Penn Partners. Empowering that many people to bring forward ideas, it’s really kind of unimaginable what we think may happen in the next year, the next five years and the next 10 years.

COOPER: When we think about grant-funded programs, it seems scary. It seems intimidating, and it often seems like you need to have past experience in research. And with these programs, you don’t need previous research or academic experience. You just have to have an idea, and we will help support you in implementing and generating further ideas and implementing the project.

Q: Tell us more about the types of grants.

SPIGEL: There are four categories. The first is clinical innovation grants; these are opportunities to improve the care, quality and outcome of our patients, or make changes in the clinical environment. The second category is research grants for individuals who may want to undertake or continue a research project. The third area is for grant opportunities that come from or impact non-clinical areas; it could be grants submitted by non-clinicians or ways to improve business processes or just the way we do work. The final grants are programmatic grants; they are meant to focus on ideas that introduce new services and programs, and can generate new revenues for the company.

Q: Why is collaboration between GSRN and GSPP so vital?

SPIGEL: Two brains are better than one. It sounds like a cliché, but it is absolutely true. We have seen this happen time and time again in the organizations where people come together with great ideas. They push one another to think differently, to think outside the box, to frame the question differently and test it in different environments. Collaboration can take a great idea and make it even better.

Q: What if you’re not sure if you have an idea?

SPIGEL: We’re encouraging all staff: If you have a speck of an idea, a germ of an idea, please bring it forward. You never know where that idea could go. You’ll have the support, you’ll have the mentorship, you’ll have the time to pursue your idea. But the most important thing is to bring your ideas forward.

Q: What most excites you about this program?

COOPER: I’m most excited just to hear some of the ideas. We know that they’re there. We hear them every day. Our employees are frontline. They know how things work day-to-day. They’re the best drivers for improvement, and we would like to stimulate that thinking.

SPIGEL: I’m most excited to see what we actually create over the next one, five, 10 years and beyond, and how it changes our workplace. And what I feel will happen is, we’re going to be the place that people who work in rehabilitation are going to want to be, because they’ll be able to pursue their ideas. The innovation they have, the curiosity they have — they’re actually going to be in a place where they can make that come to life.

Q: How does the Innovation Grant Program support a more employee-centric environment?

SPIGEL: By creating this trusting environment, we’re going to see people who may have otherwise kept their ideas to themselves really come forward. Through that atmosphere of trust — that environment where people bring ideas forward, they’re taken seriously, they’re receiving awards — I think that just adds some of the ingredients of creating a more employee-centric environment.

Good Shepherd Rehabilitation Network Career Opportunities

Interested in bringing new ideas, fresh perspectives and solutions to the Good Shepherd team? Visit our Careers page for open positions and more information.