By Javier Smith
On January 27, the Eller Professional Development Center and Center for Management Innovations in Healthcare hosted the Healthcare Career Panel, inviting leaders from across the industry to speak with students regarding healthcare industry career opportunities available to them upon graduation.
The Healthcare Career Panel is part of an initiative led by Dr. Stephen Gilliland, Peter and Nancy Salter Chair in Healthcare Management and Executive Director of the Center, to increase interest and awareness among Eller undergraduate and graduate students of the employment avenues the industry offers, as well as to promote an undergraduate healthcare management certificate to supplement the curricula of Eller College majors.
“Our goal is to connect students with leaders and opportunities across the healthcare sector,” said Gilliland. “With all of the uncertainty and change in the current healthcare environment, we want the best and brightest Eller students to play a role in creating the future of healthcare.”
The panelists who volunteered to participate in the event reflected the wide array of organizations involved in today’s healthcare landscape, ranging from hospital administration and insurance groups to tech solutions and provider operations. The panel included:
- Bradley Anderson, Director, Western Region Underwriting, Cigna
- Tom Betlach, Director, AHCCCS (Arizona Health Care Cost Containment System)
- Kathy Bollinger, Executive Vice President, Banner – University Medical Center Tucson
- Sam Burns, Chief Operating Officer, Agape Hospice and Palliative Care
- Steve Bush, Senior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer, Tucson Medical Center
- Matthew Hawkins, President, Sunquest Information Systems
- Leslie Morgan, Compliance Senior Director, Ethics and Compliance, Banner Health
These experts engaged with a group of over 30 students during a moderated question-and-answer session. The discussion ranged from how the healthcare industry is being affected by new technology to the changing political environment to the challenges of an aging population, as well as how students can find meaningful healthcare employment.
Agape Hospice and Palliative Care’s Sam Burns (Eller Business Management ’13) appreciated the enthusiasm of the Eller students. “Speaking at the career panel was a wonderful experience, “ he said. “The questions the students asked indicated a level of awareness of the healthcare industry that surpassed my expectations, and makes me very hopeful for the future of healthcare in America.”
Students likewise expressed how valuable the panel was for them. The discussion provided them with a glimpse into the current operations, goals, and challenges of organizations that may employ them in the future.
“Knowing that Banner – University Medical Center accepts majors beyond health fields to improve healthcare is impressive,” said economics student Alvin Borzie. Borzie and others were pleased to hear that maintaining high standards for the patient experience is still an integral part of the organziations’ mission statements, even for those that do not directly house provider-patient interactions.
After the panel concluded, the students participated in an open networking session. Many students introduced themselves to the panelists, garnering beneficial one-on-one time while fostering important relationships with healthcare professionals.
The panel was considered a success by the students, faculty, and panelists. Student participation is expected to grow over the coming semesters as enrollment in the healthcare management certificate increases and subsequent collaborative events are held. Moving forward, the Center for Management Innovations in Healthcare and PDC hope to generate even more interest from students as they aspire to work in and one day lead the healthcare industry.
Header photo of Healthcare Career Panel by Cali Fisler.