Chair's Blog

By Diane Marie Howard, PhD, MPH posted 03-14-2017 12:30



The Admissions and Employment Race

As soon as we put our fellowship experience behind us, we move on to recruiting for our 2018-9 classes and assisting our current students in their employment prospects for the summer and post-graduation. By way of admissions, I interviewed a candidate from a private Midwestern university with an impressive personal statement, reference letters, and GRE and GPA scores.  One reference letter caught my eye which stated the candidate was in quotes “blue collar”.  With no further explanation in the letter, I was curious what the professor meant, but I will tell you what I saw.  I met a bright, engaged, industrious candidate who was ranked best-in-class for a day chocked with interviews. 

The candidate was fluent in Polish, Spanish, and English. She started a club at her university that catered to first-generation college students. She said upon entering her university, she was overwhelmed with customs about oral and written communication styles, networking, dress, and dining etiquette; about which she knew little.  What she could see was that some peers could contact their parents’ network to secure summer and post-graduate internships.  These were opportunities she did not understand how to approach. Rather than continue to function in an environment where she was made to feel deficient, she joined with a colleague to start the club to learn customs that her affluent peers knew.  With financing from the university, she and her co-president developed a curriculum of skills they wanted to develop over the course of their undergraduate experience that would help propel their careers. 

In response to the question “what defines a leader”, the candidate ran through a number of adjectives that she possessed including attitude, oral and written communication skills, enthusiasm, ethics, flexibility, focus, and analytical/conceptual skills. The committee’s prediction is that her pluck will take her far.  Our hope is that she will join our entering 2018 class.

Special Thanks to Jerry Glandon

The ACHE Chicago Chapter invited Jerry to moderate the meeting and lead a panel discussion with content experts in association, consulting, and insurance for its annual event to introduce students to alternative careers in healthcare management. Twenty-five firms shared their expertise in the evolving healthcare marketplace by identifying critical success factors in their industry and sharing their “aha moment” in their career.  Robert Currie, president/CEO of Community Care Alliance discussed the recuperation of his younger brother who was injured in a car accident.  He came to realize the importance of insurance in getting access to the care his brother needed.  That aha moment propelled Bob into the insurance industry working with investor and non-investor owned companies.  His goal was to get the population insured and to make sure his members understood the value of their benefits. 

While some see insurance companies as a force for evil, Jerry brought out the humanity behind the panelists which added to a rich student experience. The Chicago area Regent Ray Swisher announced that at the 2016 event, 22 students received employment offers simply by meeting and promoting their expertise to the firms that were represented.  So, the value of working with the local ACHE chapters cannot be underestimated.  Also present to represent the association world were ACHE, AHA, AHIMA, HFMA, MGMA, and AUPHA.  

The Universal Health Services representatives from King of Prussia, PA, remarked to Jerry that the company plans to introduce an internship to bring talented undergraduate and graduate students into its employment. The representative was very impressed with the students who were there and thought these venues were important for companies to gain access to talented early careerists.  I should add that the UHS representative graduated from the University of Minnesota. This type of participation enhances the AUPHA brand and certainly informs what we do in educating our students.

Thanks, Jerry, for sharing your birthday with AUPHA member universities and students in Chicago!

An Interview with Mary Stefl

In pursuit of our 70th anniversary in Philadelphia, Mike Meacham continues involving AUPHA legends to tell their story and their contributions to the field of healthcare management which will result in our history book. Mary Stefl, PhD graciously agreed to be interviewed.  She presented a number of interesting comments, the most compelling was her question: are academic institutions in business to train students for careers or to enhance their critical thinking skills.  She wanted the AUPHA membership to think about the question and, as we write our history, to reflect on it in describing what we do – teach, research, and provide community service.  While she did not answer the question, we hope we can convince her to address this issue when we solicit writers for various sections of the book!

Based on what UHS saw at the Chicago meeting, I think our graduate programs are doing both – preparing students for careers and teaching critical thinking skills. Thanks, Mary, for your insights.  Hope to see you at AUPHA Leaders Conference during the ACHE Congress on Leadership, March 27 – 30, 2017.


Diane M. Howard, PhD, MPH