The health care industry is on fire. My interest in MHCDS really stemmed from wanting to learn more about how CEOs are leading their organizations through that fire. Now at the end of the program, I find myself not only passionate about helping my organization fight the fire but also want to help facilitate the transformation that needs to happen on a national and global level.
I am the Chief Information Officer at Aspen Valley Hospital District in Aspen, Colorado. I oversee our technology strategy, working closely with our executive team, medical staff, and community to develop innovative approaches to help facilitate healthcare transformation. Perhaps my most important role is as a wife to an air traffic controller and a mom to a 6-year-old daughter. Those who know me best would say that I love to stay busy, am always reading something, and enjoy working out. My greatest accomplishment this year was nailing the “ballet bun” for my daughter’s ballet recital.
Why did you decide to take the MHCDS program?
I decided to join the MHCDS program because I want to create positive change within the healthcare industry by leading with innovative strategies, strong financial acumen, and a commitment to patient-centered care. Healthcare is undergoing dramatic changes around technology, funding, and approaches to care. To me, the MHCDS program is one way in which I can collaborate with other healthcare leaders to accelerate the innovation that will transform the industry.
Why did you choose MHCDS over another type of master’s program (e.g., MBA, MPH, MHA)
I choose MHCDS over other master’s programs because it goes beyond just learning what is in a textbook. MHCDS brings together very talented healthcare leaders to create a refreshing think tank on how to design and lead the critical transformations that are needed within the US health care system. I continue to learn every day from my classmates and professors on how to approach the challenges facing health care with innovative and collaborative solutions. It was important to me that I am a part of a program that is looking to change the future, rather than just learning what is written in a textbook about the current state.
What has been the best part of the program for you – so far?
The best part of the MHCDS program for me has been my classmates. Dartmouth has truly brought together some of the most talented and diverse leaders from within the industry. I started the program learning about each of them and thinking “I think they made a mistake letting me into this program.” But I have found that we each have an important role in sharing our experiences and strengths with one another. There are times when one of us is the expert on that week’s topic and then the next week someone else has expertise on that subject. Learning from each other and building relationships that I will have into the future has been the best part of the program. I am trying to figure out how to trick my classmates into still getting onto Zoom together each week after the program ends. I will really miss them.
How will the MHCDS program prepare you for your next position?
I joined the MHCDS program with a curiosity about becoming a Hospital Administrator (CEO) in the future. My role as a healthcare CIO has transformed over the years as technology has moved from being a utility service to a critical part of driving innovation and enabling strategy. Unfortunately, I shared the same philosophy on the state of healthcare as we discussed in our first MHCDS course: The health care industry is on fire. My interest in MHCDS really stemmed from wanting to learn more about how CEOs are leading their organizations through that fire. Now at the end of the program, I find myself not only passionate about helping my organization fight the fire but also want to help facilitate the transformation that needs to happen on a national and global level.
How have you used the experience/skills/knowledge you have gained so far? Do you have a real-life example?
Since starting the MHCDS program, there has not been a week where I haven’t had a conversation or shared an article that we’ve read with someone at my organization. What we are learning about and talking about in class is very applicable to what we are dealing with day-to-day. The knowledge and experience that I have gained through the program and in learning from my classmates has helped me facilitate crucial conversations, which have sparked a lot of innovative ideas for our organization and community.
Is there anything else that you would tell a friend or colleague who was considering the MHCDS program?
What I think is very special about MHCDS is that it builds community and camaraderie for life. I have met so many people from prior years’ classes who are just as passionate about knowledge sharing and collaborating as my own classmates. There are local gatherings in my home state of MHCDS graduates who get together and talk about healthcare transformation, but there are also wonderful events held by the MHCDS program to bring together current students and graduates to collaborate. I can honestly attest to the fact that the MHCDS is more than just a degree, the program serves as an incubator for really strong leaders to change the health care industry together.