Staff Spotlight: Supporting Survivorship, Patient Navigation, and Health Equity with Ruta Brazinskaite

December 11, 2022
Authored by
Ruta Brazinskaite posing for a portrait

Ruta Brazinskaite joined the George Washington University (GW) Cancer Center in 2017, serving as a senior assistant. Three years later she advanced to program associate. Along the way, her team members have come to know Brazinskaite as a quick study who inspires comradery, lends support, and demonstrates grace in the most challenging situations while upholding the GW Cancer Center’s comprehensive cancer control training and technical assistance initiatives. Here, Brazinskaite shares some insights into her role at GW and who she is outside of work hours.

How long have you worked at SMHS?

Brazinskaite: I’ve been a part of the George Washington University for more than 5 years.

What is your current position and role at SMHS, and what does that entail?

Brazinskaite: My current position is program associate with the GW Cancer Center. I am mainly responsible for educational initiatives and accreditation for various trainings. These trainings are mainly focused on cancer survivorship, patient navigation, and health equity; the primary audience is public health and health care workers.

How do you define success in your role?

Brazinskaite: Officially my success would be defined by the number of learners who enroll in our trainings and complete them. However, to me personally, it is more important to hear success stories from the learners of how the knowledge acquired in our trainings allowed them to do their job more effectively and successfully implement the changes.

What excites or inspires you the most about your job?

Brazinskaite: Something that excites me about my job is the entire process of creating a training. First, I dive into the literature to find out what I can about the topic, then I create a presentation that is reviewed by the subject matter expert (SME) and I incorporate their feedback. Then, I record the audio of the SME presenting the content, and finally I combine the presentation and the audio and create additional images and effects to look like a training video.

What’s the best career/life lesson you’ve learned while working at SMHS?

Brazinskaite: I learned that individual work is important; however, teamwork is even more important, and does the dream work (is that the saying?). Having a good relationship with the team is essential to achieving department goals.

What would you do (for a career) if you weren’t doing this?

Brazinskaite: I have a background in psychology and I really value connection with people, therefore, I would probably be working as a patient navigator or as a social worker assisting cancer survivors with their mental health needs.

Name something that has changed at since you started working here, that you think has made the school a better place.

Brazinskaite: Hybrid work. That improved the flexibility and performance of many employees.

If given the chance, whose role at SMHS would you like to have for a day? Why? What would you do?

Brazinskaite: I would work in mental health services providing support to GW cancer patients.

What’s a fun fact about you that most people don’t know?

Brazinskaite: I have lived in 6 different countries (Lithuania, Cyprus, Ireland, Netherlands, Argentina, and now the United States) and two states (California and Maryland).

Complete this sentence: In another life, I’m pretty sure I was ...

Brazinskaite: A nomad. I love to travel! If I could, I would travel year-round without actually having a proper home to come back to.

If stores sold a Ruta Brazinskaite action figure, what accessory would come standard with every purchase?

Brazinskaite: A set of “how to” books, since I develop educational materials, I think I have gotten very good at listing steps on how to achieve a certain goal.

What are some of your other interests or passions?

Brazinskaite: Traveling and books.

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