Thrive by IU Health

April 23, 2023

After 20-plus years, this team member says: ‘I grew up in transplant.’

After 20-plus years, this team member says: ‘I grew up in transplant.’

She started her role with IU Health working in the transplant unit and has continued moving up with new roles.

By TJ Banes, Senior Journalist, IU Health,

She never really thought about working in the medical field. It just happened.

Catina Harris started her career at IU Health working as a receptionist in the transplant unit in 1996. Over the years, she has worked as a data clerk, a database specialist and now as a project coordinator in quality control.

Harris credits her personal and professional drive with the family that raised her. She was born in Indianapolis, and at the age of nine, moved with her brother and mother to Mississippi.

“My grandma had 11 children in Mississippi and my mom was next to the last. She didn’t finish high school. Living in Mississippi in the 60s was very hard. Some of my mother’s other siblings had already moved to Indianapolis, so that’s when she decided to pack us up and move there too,” said Harris. “You'd never know my mom didn’t have a high school diploma; she was a hard worker and inspired me to always do better.”

When Harris and her mother moved back to Indianapolis, her mother worked at Brightwood Community Center, dedicated to building stronger families and vibrant communities. Through her membership with St. Paul United Methodist Church, her mother helped out in the local food and clothing pantry. “She was a facilitator for a program teaching young women about survival skills. I always admired her way of giving back to the community, her drive and her love and support,” said Harris.

Back in Indianapolis, Harris graduated from North Central High School and enrolled in Central State University in Ohio.

“I was a mama’s girl and I didn’t like being away from home so after a year I came home and started looking for work. That’s when I ended p at IU Health,” said Harris. She went on to obtain her Bachelor of Science Degree in Business Administration from Martin University - working and going to school full time.

“One thing led to another and something hit me upside the head and I decided to go for my MBA,” said Harris. She enrolled in the University of Phoenix and continued working at IU Health.

She lost her mother two and half years ago and says she has been surrounded by strong women. Many are part of Sigma Gamma Rho, a historically African American sorority. The organization was founded in 1922 by seven educators on the Butler University campus. Harris has been involved in numerous service projects with the sorority, some involving health initiatives.

Over a span of 27 years, Harris said she’s learned more than she ever thought possible about IU Health’s transplant program.

“I’ve been behind the scenes and I’ve seen the outcomes of patients who come into the department very sick and then are transplanted and their lives improve,” she said. She describes her current role as “the compliance police,” making sure nurses are completing all medical record documents correctly during the entire patient transplant phase, and audits all the organ transplant procedures at IU Health, including kidney, liver, heart, lung, intestine, and pancreas. “I was 22 when I started and they’ve been with me through highs and lows. The team members genuinely care personally and professionally.”

Outside of work, Harris enjoys family time, line dancing, sorority activities, and spin classes. She also loves being a fur mom to her dog, “Miss Bianca.”



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