Born in Bangladesh and raised in Kuwait, Harun Rashid could probably live anywhere in the world, but he chose to make Akron his home when he joined Akron Children’s Hospital as vice president and chief information officer in 2017. The seasoned IT veteran and 1 of the top CIOs in the country (according to CIO Magazine) has more than 25 years of information services experience.
As a Pittsburgh transplant, it’s no surprise Harun roots for the Steelers (when they aren’t playing his favorite team, the Tennessee Titans).
Tell us about your background and role on ELT.
I have over 25 years of information services and business experience, having most recently served as vice president for international services and vice president for telehealth services at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center (UPMC). I also led as the CIO over UPMC Children’s Hospital, UPMC Magee Women’s Hospital and UPMC Western Psychiatric Hospital.
My role on ELT as the vice president of information services and chief information officer means I oversee the following areas: information technology, EPIC electronic health systems, enterprise analytics and data warehouse, applications support, service desk, telecommunications, PBX operators, clinical informatics, telehealth, health information management and bio-medical engineering.
Tell us a little about your role as CIO.
My role as CIO is to be the change agent who prepares our organization for the future. This includes managing cybersecurity risks, moving our systems to the cloud and making our systems smarter using artificial intelligence and machine language. All of these changes improve quality and safety, create enterprise analytics that help users make decisions with data and facts, and prepare us for the digital transformation of health care.
Technology has already made an impact in the way we deliver health care and will continue to shape the future as we are forced to do more with less. Infusion of artificial intelligence will enable us to improve outcomes, quality and reduce errors. It will have the greatest impact on our industry in the coming years. Telehealth will enable us to provide care in virtual settings thus improving access, patient satisfaction, flexibility and staff efficiency. Using telehealth, we have been able to see patients during the pandemic in the comfort of their homes, which allows us to minimize the use of PPE and maintain social distancing.
What do you like about working at Akron Children’s?
I love our mission and how we work together as a team to achieve the mission. You can always tell a lot about an organization by the way people greet each other in the hallways or say hello as you pass them. We are all passionate about making a difference and that is demonstrated by the commitment of the board, ELT, leaders and our valuable employees.
Why is employee engagement important to you?
Engaged employees are happier at work and home, productive, caring, willing to provide opinions and suggestions, and focused on our mission. Our employees are our biggest assets, and through employee engagement we hope to retain our talented workforce.
If you didn’t work in health care leadership, what would your dream job be?
I always wanted to be an Air Force pilot but was not eligible due to not having perfect eyesight.
Tell us about your family.
I have 2 adult daughters, Dahlia and Maya, and a son, Zaiden, who is almost 1. Both my daughters will graduate from college in 2021. I relocated my parents from Clarksville, Tenn. to live with me in 2017. It is good to have them with me, especially considering the current situation. They love being able to spend all their time with Zaiden, which helps us greatly. My wife, Tina, grew up in New York, and she has adjusted remarkably well to living in Akron.
How do you relax?
I’m an avid soccer player; I normally play twice or more a week. I also enjoy golf, although I can probably kick the ball farther than I can hit it with my clubs. I spend as much time as I can with my family. I love watching football, especially my favorite team, the Tennessee Titans. It is one of the most interesting games because there is so much technique and strategy involved.
Most interesting place you’ve been and why?
I’ve traveled to over 38 countries on 5 continents. No matter where you go, people love their heritage and are always welcoming if you respect their social and cultural values. I love places by the water, but I would say two of my favorite places are Dubai, UAE and Cartagena, Colombia.
What was your first paying job?
In college, I worked part-time doing in-home restoration and construction. It was hard work, but I loved it.
What would you change about yourself if you could?
I constantly strive to be a better father, son, husband, friend and business colleague.
Do you have a favorite quote or mantra you live by?
One of my favorites is, “Watch your character, it becomes your destiny.” Another is, “The faster you move, the slower time passes, the longer you live.”
Tell us something about yourself that most people don’t know.
I was born in one of the poorest countries (Bangladesh) in the world. I grew up in one of the richest countries (Kuwait), and I now live in one of the most technologically-advanced (United States) countries. Ever since I was little, I always wanted to be in the U.S. I am so grateful to be a citizen of this great country where I have lived for 34 years.