Dave: My name is Dave Yost. I work with Catholic Health Partners, a large hospital system based in Cincinnati. We have over 20 acute care hospitals. I work in IT as the Director of Performance Analytics. This program, the MHA program at Ohio University was recommended to me by a Vice-President in our IT Department. I was actually looking for a Masters in Health Informatics Program, but he stirred me toward this program saying, “What if you get tired of doing information technology in the next 5 or 10 years? Wouldn’t you want to have a degree that gives you more access to be able to take other jobs in the health system?” It made sense, a hundred percent online, and I was very glad that I chose this one.
Tracy: My name is Tracy Lambis. I am from Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio. I work at Akron Children’s Hospital. I’m a Registered Nurse and I work in the Quality Department doing physician peer review. I chose the Ohio University Online MHA Program because I had just completed the RN to BSN online program at the university as well and it worked very well for my life.
Tiffany: My name is Tiffany Hartlieb. I live near the Wheeling, West Virginia area and I’ve worked in healthcare sales and marketing for the last 10 years. I have really enjoyed this program. I currently work for a home health and hospice company where I’ve had the privilege of working as an Account Executive. Most of my time is spent in the community, educating them on the important role that home health plays in the continuum of care and helping to facilitate different coalitions and things with the local hospitals and physicians as we’re trying to reduce hospital re-admissions.
Dana: My name is Dana Camacho. I work at the Cleveland Clinic, Lakewood Hospital. It’s a regional hospital. I’m currently the Assistant Nurse Manager of the operating room. I felt that through the nursing program, a nursing masters would limit me, so I felt the administration degree would give me a bigger umbrella to move within a facility.
Dave: It has helped me immediately in terms of getting a background of understanding what’s happening in our healthcare system today, so that as we get projects, I can help fit them in to where our system is going and it also helps me lead my team better in helping them understand the changes in the environment. The other added benefit is that in the fall, I’m going to get to be an adjunct faculty member myself in a Health Informatics Program. I’ll be teaching database systems and networking and security. I needed that masters degree as the credential in order to do that.
Dana: It’s helped me because I’ve been promoted recently to the position and that’s what I’m looking for in the future is more of a promotion, getting in to more administration. My goal is to start at our Abu Dhabi facility.
Tiffany: The MHA program has really affected my career by really challenging me to analyze the provisions of the Affordable Care Act and I think taking a real concrete look at those has really given me a competitive advantage in my market so I’m able to engage physicians and hospital discharge planners more on those conversations that are pertinent to their day to day operations.
Tracy: I balanced my studies with my career and my family. That was of the great things about the program is I was able to do it on my own time. I have a large family, blended family of 4 step-children and 2 biological children. I work well over a 40-hour week and so it was sometimes difficult to find time for studies. When I put the kids to bed and I was done with my normal duties then I would sit down and do my homework. There was lots of nights that I was up after 9:00 starting assignments or on the weekends, but I was able to fit it in to my schedule. It was flexible enough that I was able to work it in to my busy life.
Tiffany: The way I balanced both the online program as well as my personal life and professional life was really adhering to a very disciplined scheduled structure. I had a really supportive husband that always helps, but I think really setting aside a schedule and making sure that you adhere to it was definitely advantageous for me.
Dave: What I enjoyed about being able to do this is the fact that with an asynchronous program, a hundred percent online, I’m able to do my work anywhere. I’ve done assignments everywhere from Orlando to Maui and it’s worked out well in terms of balancing work and home. The impact of having this educational experience under my belt is tremendous. A lot of it is because for many years, my work has been supporting our hospitals and more recently, I’ve been asked to support applications that measure performance in our physician practices and out in the community with population health. A lot of the content in the program has helped me that way as has interacting with a variety of other students who come from those different work backgrounds and have helped me understand where we need to go as an organization for population health.
Tiffany: I think being exposed to new areas that in my realm of marketing and sales that I had really not been exposed to and really seeing a difference on the impact that it’s going to make to different stakeholders with the Affordable Care Act moving forward and I think helping to be prepared have been part of the solution in the future. I would say that the group discussions were just incredible. I learned so much from my counterparts and I think the interesting thing about it is getting to know students from all across the country from very different backgrounds and I think we all come from very different professional walks that has allowed me to really appreciate and see things from a very different vantage point that I may not have seen in the last 10 years. Continuing the learning process has been really worthwhile for me.
Dana: The online discussion with peers, even though they were distant, was very personal and very stimulating.
Tracy: I would describe the online community with my peers as very diverse. The online discussions included many different people from many different areas, different professions, different locations in the United States, so we had a lot of different perspectives on certain topics. A lot of my experience comes clinically since I’m a nurse. There were pharmacist and administrators and physicians, so it was nice working on those group projects with such a diverse group of people.
Dave: Something that I was pleasantly surprised with in the program was the easy ability to communicate with my fellow students in the online discussion forums. Never having gotten a chance to meet these people face to face, it felt challenging at first, but we really got into it and had really good discussions where we all learned from each other.
Tiffany: I feel health policy. I have some long range plans to get more into the legislative role and be a little bit more integrated in the decisions that are actually impacting our healthcare delivery system. That was definitely a crucial role and module for me.
Tracy: One of the courses that stood out to me in the program was the leadership course. There were two back-to-back, the second one being in human resources. With my job, it’s really helped developed me in my current job that I’m in now having those leadership courses and I applied almost in real time what I learned in the class to what I was doing in my job.
Tiffany: I found that extremely helpful having worked in the field for the last 10 years, so I think if any student’s considering entering into this type of program, it would definitely be beneficial to work in the field for a few years to really get that competitive advantage, get a really strong foundation and see what kind of direction you really want to go in to. I think the one thing I’ve learned in this program is that the sky is the limit and really the potential and the opportunities are endless. Having more of an idea where you see yourself fitting in and making the most impact, I think would be the best advice that I could give.
Tracy: My advice to a potential student would be not to wait to start the program. I am 42 years old today and getting my masters degree. Though reading did help a lot with my knowledge base, but it also made it a lot harder with time and flexibility. The program is very flexible, very easy to navigate through and it works well with busy families. I highly recommend entering it and furthering your career. It was a good choice for me and I would recommend it to anybody.