Spotlighting the Career of CDR Malini Krishnan
Biography Contributed by: CDR Amy Valderrama
This Nursing Spotlight is brought to you by CDR Nichole Vetter, LCDCR Allison Gallen and LT Alyssa Givens
CDR Malini Krishnan’s interest in public health developed over time and her love for working with diverse populations has continued with a variety of assignments in the PHS. CDR Krishnan grew up in India and came to the United States when she was 16 years old. Her interest in infectious diseases began at an early age and led her to study Medical Technology at Southeastern Louisiana University.
CDR Krishnan’s interests continued to grow through her volunteer efforts with indige-nous populations in the jungles of South India working on a variety of conditions, in-cluding syphilis, sickle cell disease, leprosy, gastrointestinal diseases, severe anemia, and tuberculosis. During this time she gained an appreciation and love for public health and decided to study nursing to become a nurse practitioner. She began her studies at Case Western Reserve University; however, she soon realized that she would be limited to treating only one patient at a time and wanted to focus on larger populations. She transferred to Johns Hopkins University, earning a Master of Science in Nursing with a focus on Community Health and a Master of Public Health focusing on Occupational and Environmental Health. While at Johns Hopkins, a PHS officer working for the Indian Health Service (IHS) spoke to the students. As she recalls, "He spoke about the fantastic public health work that he was doing. I love indigenous popula-tions and what they have to offer. They have a whole different way of living with nature." She made it her goal to work for IHS after graduating. CDR Krishnan began working as a Public Health Nurse on the Nav-ajo Reservation at Fort Defiance, AZ in 2002 and was commissioned into the USPHS in 2004. During her 3 ½ years at Fort Defiance, LCDR Krishnan served a population of over 13,000 Native Americans in re-mote and isolated communities spread over 225,000 acres. She describes her experience by saying, "When you do this kind of public health nursing, you do everything – just like the textbooks. You touch every aspect of the pub-lic’s health from schools and the environment, to disease outbreaks and mass vaccina-tions." During this time, she worked on infectious diseases, environmental health, wound care, health screenings, school health check-ups, and case management. She states that "On the reservation, I felt that it was so important to connect with people and do more for the elders." She worked closely with social workers, checking on pa-tients during the winter, especially the elderly, making sure that they had enough fire-wood and clean water, monthly B12 shots, and flu vaccines.
In 2006, CDR Krishnan joined the Division of Quality Improvement (DQI) of the Cen-ters for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) Region VI as a Project officer. For the past 10 years, she’s been the Contracting Officer Representative for the Dallas DQI in the Quality Improvement Organization (QIO) program monitoring the financial and technical performance of Quality Improvement contractors. She is also the regional Lean lead for CMS, making sure that work is standardized and efficient and coaching staff through Lean methods and presentations. CDR Krishnan is currently assigned to work with Program Staff in the Baltimore office as the Subject Matter Expert (SME) for Beneficiary Satisfaction Surveys, monitors and oversees the Hospital Short Stay review program, and is the liaison for the Office of Medicare Hearing and Appeals. Addition-ally, she provides support to the CMS Healthcare Acquired Infection SME.
While CDR Krishnan’s experiences in the USPHS have been quite diverse, she’s en-joyed each experience. She recommends that officers, "Find a way to enjoy whateveryou do, because you can modify it to something that is really interesting and fun. Askfor help because most people are happy to help . Over time, you’ll get more confident and build expertise. I’ve been lucky to have other officers who worked well with me. We still keep in touch and laugh about some of our experiences. Don’t let anything hold you back. Reach out for help at every stage and you will thrive in what you do."
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