Honoring our veterans: One employee’s journey from naval ship to stroke center

November 11, 2016  //  FOUND IN: Our Employees,
Jenevra Foley, right, with her son.

Jenevra Foley, right, with her son, Trevor.

Jenevra Foley is ready for anything. As the operations director of the UMHS Comprehensive Stroke Center, Foley works with a talented team that ensures the center maintains its status as a national leader in stroke care.

“Our team works together so that we’re ready to react and perform in any situation to ensure our patients get the best outcomes possible,” Foley said.

As part of her work, Foley utilizes a versatile skillset — including organization, discipline and attention to detail — forged through service to her country.

“When I graduated high school, I knew I wasn’t ready for college,” Foley said. “So I decided to pursue the family occupation.”

Foley’s grandfather was a naval officer during World War II, while her father also served in the U.S. Navy along with several uncles. Foley enlisted in 1991.

During the next eight years, she proved to be a versatile and valuable asset to the Navy. She began as a hospital corpsman, where she assisted in the care of fellow service members. She then switched to operations, helping with ship navigation, aircraft tracking and weapons control. Finally, she spent time in the legal department, regulations department and as a project manager, all while onboard aircraft carriers in the Mediterranean Sea.

“You serve in any area of a ship that is needed,” Foley said. “That gives you great versatility and sets you up for the next chapter of your life.”

Foley was honorably discharged from the Navy in 1998 and turned her focus to health care.  “I enjoyed helping people, but I knew after my corpsman days that I wasn’t suited for hands-on care,” Foley said. “So I took a different approach and focused on helping doctors, nurses and other clinicians by improving processes to support their work.”

She worked in various physicians’ offices, specializing in health information management. By 2008, she came back to her hometown of Ann Arbor and made her way to UMHS, where her versatility has paid off. “I started as a temp, became a performance improvement coordinator in the quality department, and finally to operations director of the stroke center,” Foley said.

Her current role — which she has held for three years — gives her oversight of many aspects of care for stroke patients. Her proudest achievement came when the Stroke Program earned certification from the Joint Commission as a Comprehensive Stroke Center, one of 70 in the nation.

“To get that designation, you need to provide top-notch care and take credit for that by paying attention to details and documentation. I learned those skills from my time with the Navy,” Foley said.

To Foley, shipboard life and life in the hospital have proven to be similar. She points to one military value in particular that is at the heart of the health system’s culture: teamwork.

“In the Navy, you need everyone fulfilling their roles and performing well for the benefit of your fellow service members,” Foley said.

“Here, you need everyone fulfilling their roles for the benefit of the patient. All of my colleagues take that responsibility very seriously and make this work so rewarding — both for ourselves and for our patients.”

This week, the university is honoring military service members with a number of events as part of Veterans Week 2016. Click here for a full schedule and event details.