Lessons learned at early age connect with public health career
Growing up, Dr. Jaime González thought he might one day become a priest.
Life, however, had other plans, taking him on a different path of serving others, through public health and health-related services.
Dr. González, a graduate of the School of Public Health, is now Chief Business Development Officer for the Health Plan Alliance, a national trade organization that brings health plans, hospitals and physicians together to address patient health and wellness.
He’s passionate about doing all he can to make health care better for all.
“It really started with my family,” Dr. González said. “Growing up as the seventh of eight children, with an even larger extended family of 60-plus cousins on my father’s side and 36 on my mother’s, I learned the lessons of giving and sharing at a very early age.”
Both parents were strongly committed to church and community, and Dr. González’mother was often the first to visit the sick or lend a hand when someone needed help.
“My dad moved here from Mexico to start a life and a family in Texas, and his commitment to making things better, not just for us, but for others around him, was truly inspiring,” Dr. Gonzálezsaid. “Being part of something bigger, of supporting and taking care of each other – our family, friends, neighbors, church and community – showed me what a difference can be made and impacted how I wanted to approach the world in both my career and personal life.”
When Dr. González started working on his DrPH in Health Management and Policy at UNTHSC, he had already completed a master’s degree in clinical social work and another in health administration.
He was serving in a top leadership role for UnitedHealthcare’s Latino Health Solutions division, developing projects, programs and partnerships to improve health services and health care access for the U.S. Latino market nationwide, when he was encouraged by a longtime friend, mentor and UNTHSC professor at that time, Dr. Adela González, to “connect the dots” in his educational experience by adding public health to his professional background and perspective.
“Public health is the ideal standard for serving the community and doing the most good for all,” he said. “Working in the health plan industry, being able to deliver services and resources from a broad, population health view, keeps the focus on what is most important – the patient.”
Today, in his role with the Health Plan Alliance, he oversees multicultural/health care equity programmingand partners with members across the country on educational opportunities and sharing of subject matter expertise and best practices.
“If I can help our members improve patient care outcomes, and connect people to information and people to people, then I know that I am doing what I believe in and helping others in the way that my parents taught me growing up,” he said. “My mother used to say that God has a way for everything. This is my way.”