Connect with MHA Alumni

Our MHA program prides itself on our deep connection with the healthcare administration industry. We strive to connect our students with industry pioneers and professionals throughout the program, and networking with alumni is one of the most significant benefits of the Eccles School’s MHA program.

Networking opportunities are actively infused into almost all program activities and are the backbone of our student’s success.

Alumni Leadership Team

Kelcie Douglas
Chris Miller, M.D.
Anthony Rodebush, FACHE
Cody Backus
Nico Bronzati

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Alumni Spotlight

Jason Fox   |   MPA/MHA degree, 2012 graduate

My sister had just completed the MPA program, and I was interested in getting an advanced degree. At the time the MHA wasn’t a stand-alone program but could be paired with a few other degree options. Based on my understanding of the MPA program, the MHA seemed like a good dual degree to pursue. I had been working for U Health since 2008 and living in Salt Lake City. It was a slight change in terms of determining an Administrative career is where I wanted to pursue my efforts.

The MPA program gave me a great framework for systems of administration and how they function, particularly in governmental systems. The interest in the MHA program was healthcare-specific training from a business background. I felt that there would be specific skills in the MHA program that would apply to the Administrative career I was interested in.

I wanted to have a strong business background specific to healthcare, as my intention is/was to remain in the healthcare sector. I was seeking business-based classes like Operations Management, Managerial Accounting, etc. I felt that if I could pair the MPA and MHA programs together I would be attractive from both a healthcare perspective, as well as a non-profit government entity perspective, i.e., U Health.

2011-2012, Huntsman Cancer Institute, Preceptor Donald Milligan, Executive Director Cancer Hospital.

While not a decision point, but a funny instance that I will carry with me forever. Don and I would meet monthly early in the morning in his office to discuss progress on the projects he had me working on. One of the last times we met he was being called away to deal with leaking water/pipes from a higher flower directly draining into patient care rooms a floor below. He looked at me and said something to the effect of, “now are you sure this is what you want to be dealing with in your future?” It was funny but also grounded me to remind myself that while we can be doing very high-level things from an administrative perspective, the patient and patient care and delivering the right care at the right time for the right reason is paramount to our roles as administrators. So if that is looking at leaking pipes at 7 am to get ready to see patients at 8 am, then that is the priority.

For me, I think it was the completion of a journey that at the beginning seemed so daunting, but by the end went by so quickly. Packing 2 master’s degrees into three years, including a year-long internship, while also working full-time and trying to raise a family was a test in endurance. I feel I was most productive during that time, and anytime I feel stressed/overwhelmed I think back to that time in my life and realize I can accomplish almost anything as long as I have the dedication and commitment to stick to a plan. One way I “checked off” progress was only thinking of things in terms of semesters completed. At 6 semesters over 3 years, each semester is basically 16.6% progress towards graduation. So I never thought about how long things would take at the moment and would only reflect on where I was posting each semester. So being 33.33% done after 2 semesters sounded way better than saying I still have 2 more years to go.

I chose to complete a year-long post-graduate training to move beyond discipline boundaries to provide optimal services to children and adolescents with special health care needs(more info at URLEND.org). I was a part of a team that was able to reconstruct how autism services for families are determined at the state level, and as such was able to rewrite the Utah Medicaid Autism manual to expedite services to families once their kiddo received a formal autism diagnosis. Along with that team, we developed a multidisciplinary care team model to expedite autism diagnosis and were able to reduce days to diagnosis in our clinic by close to 6 months.

I believe it has been very important in my career advancement. For the things I am involved in, without an MHA, I would likely not be a viable candidate. I believe there are so many people graduating with advanced degrees that if you don’t get a degree and differentiate yourself with your specific areas of interest, you are bound to be overlooked. I also think principles like the theory of constraints and quality improvement/process improvement are tangible skills learned through the program that can be applied daily for the operations work I am involved in.

I currently serve as the Director of Primary Care Operations for the Department of Pediatrics at the University of Utah. In that role, I interface closely with U Health as our Primary Care Practices of University Pediatric Clinic, South Main Clinic, and Sugar House Health Center all fall under the U Health umbrella. In addition, our Well Baby and Intermediate nurseries that I have oversight for are within the University of Utah Hospital. In that role, I also serve as the Division Manager for General Pediatrics, which includes the services listed above, as well as our Developmental Assessment Clinic at Primary Children’s Outpatient Services. We also have a quality improvement and research arm in our Division that I am actively involved in.
I also serve as the Division Manager for Adolescent Medicine and Comprehensive Care, which are both specialist Divisions in the Department of Pediatrics and we see patients at the Primary Children’s Outpatient Services building, as well as provide medical direction at 2 Pediatric long term skilled nursing facilities along the Wasatch Front. I try to frame everything using the theory of constraints, and understanding that in a limited resource model that healthcare typically functions under, it is our role as administrators to identify the bottleneck that is limiting capacity, and constantly work to address/fix the bottleneck to increase efficiency. In addition, quality improvement, PDSA (Plan/Do/Study/Act), and small tests of change are simple yet effective ways to manage change/improvement at a practice level.

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