Sabrina Cannistraro is the new administrative director of the Pediatric Transplant Center. We sat down with her to learn more about her professional background, new role at Boston Children’s Hospital, and how she spends her time outside of work.
What does your role entail?
Most of the administrative staff at the Pediatric Transplant Center report to me. It’s my job to keep things running smoothly behind the scenes. My team answers the phones when patients are trying to reach us, helps to coordinate appointments and tests for patients, and ensures that pre-transplant insurance approvals get done promptly.
One of my main priorities is to ensure that every patient is happy with their experience with the Pediatric Transplant Center at Boston Children’s. I’m so fortunate because I have a great team and everyone works very hard for patients to make sure they can access the care they need, when they need it.
What do you find most rewarding about your job?
I love hearing all of the stories about the patients and the milestones they achieve. I am so inspired by all of the amazing kids and parents who have been through such challenges. To see them improve and be able to do typical kids’ activities that they couldn’t do before makes me really proud of the work we do in the Pediatric Transplant Center.
What was your previous position at Boston Children’s?
I’ve been with Boston Children’s for nine years. This is a very special place where people really care about the kids who come here for care. Before this job, I was part of the team that launched Boston Children’s Accountable Care Organization (ACO), and worked very closely with our affiliated community pediatricians.
One of the things that drew me to take on this role is the ability for my work to more directly impact the care we provide here at the hospital every day. I’m really looking forward to interacting with kids and their families at the various patient events, especially Family Celebration Day in September.
What is the most unexpected thing about your job?
I’m pleasantly surprised by how quickly things can move around here. On my first day on the job, there was a patient who came through the emergency department over the weekend and needed a lung transplant. By the next morning, the team had secured insurance approval, a lung match was found, and the surgical team had performed the transplant. Sometimes in health care things can move slowly, so this is a nice reminder that we are able to quickly respond when the need arises.
What made you decide to go into health care?
I’ve always known that I wanted to help people and that I wanted to be in health care. I didn’t become a nurse or a doctor because I was never good with the sight of blood, so I had to find another way to do my part to help people get better and improve their lives in some way. As a teenager, I worked in a pharmacy and as a lifeguard.
I got an engineering degree and started my career in a health care software company, but ended up leaning toward the business side of the organization. I love health care administration because it allows me to apply engineering and process design to health care, directly impacting the care we provide every day.
What would you be if you weren’t in hospital administration?
If I weren’t in health care, I’d want to be the host of a food and travel show. I love traveling and learning about different cultures and I love food, so hosting a food and travel sounds like the perfect way to experience both!
What do you like to do in your spare time?
I spend a lot of time with my own kids. I have a 4-year-old and a 6-year-old, who keep me really busy. I also love to travel and learn new languages, so try to go somewhere new whenever I have the chance.
I’m originally from Canada and lived in Italy for a year when I was doing my master’s degree, which was an amazing experience. I had the opportunity to meet and work with people from every continent and learned so much about many different cultures.
Learn more about the Pediatric Transplant Center.
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