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Why I Joined DUOS: Rita Chakrian




The DUOS System of Aging focuses on older adults’ aging needs and maximizes their well-being by connecting them with untapped health plan benefits and building high trust relationships. This work is possible thanks to a team of creative, forward-thinking operators, who are passionate about improving the lives of older adults and their caregivers. So, what’s it like to be a leader at DUOS? We caught up with Rita Chakrian, who leads our Research team, to get a look behind the scenes. 

Q: How were you introduced to DUOS?

A: I stumbled upon DUOS while browsing Redesign Health’s LinkedIn profile. It was serendipitous timing, because I was considering pursuing a doctorate in gerontology. after meeting members of the DUOS leadership team during the interview process and being offered the opportunity to join an ambitious startup team, I followed my gut and switched paths. Surely, I’m glad I did.

Q: What has been your personal experience with caregiving for older adults?

A: I was too young to appreciate the aging experience of my grandmothers in the same way I did for my grandfathers. I referred to one of my grandfathers as Babik and the other as Dede. Babik developed dementia in old age, while Dede struggled with keeping active in old age. 

They lived their lives devoted to caring for our family. In reciprocity of these values, our family stepped in as their caregivers as their aging needs increased, with each of us doing what we could and learning as we went. I think about them often in my current role at DUOS, asking myself this question: what meaningful support do I wish my family and I had better awareness of and access to when my grandfathers needed it the most? 

Q: What appealed to you most about DUOS?

A: So long as we’re alive, we’re aging. It’s the one thing that connects every human being. And, since aging impacts us all, I consider DUOS’ undertaking to renew and redefine the aging experience essential. Today, benefits and resources available to older adults and caregivers are scattered across organizations and tools; often, we don’t know where to look or what to look for. Simplifying this complex navigation problem is exciting because it improves the lives of all people and has a big impact.

Q: What has been your favorite moment at DUOS so far?

A: Stories and feedback shared from both members and team members ground me in a sense of purpose. I’ve talked first-hand to members who’ve shared thanks. I’ve also listened to countless member calls conducted by the Research team who’ve received words of appreciation. It’s special to hear the voice of someone, somewhere whose life is touched in a big or small way. These interactions fill my cup. 

Q: How is your work at DUOS different from past experiences?

A: Sparks of innovation come rapid fire at DUOS, resulting in a dynamic and collaborative work culture. The team at large is connected by a shared mission and that authenticity keeps me inspired and energized each day to contribute with the same enthusiasm I had on my first day. 

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