Public Health students create a winning blueprint

By Jeff Carlton

Pictured from left to right : Kevin Stevenson (ACHENTX Secretary), Patrick Li Ashnia Taher, Paul Aslin (Executive Coach at Wise Health System), Aman Kaila, Chelsea Kleen, Shriya Sarin and Janet Holland (ACHENTX President-Elect)

Students from the School of Public Health took home the top prize in a recent case study competition organized by the North Texas chapter of the America College of Healthcare Executives (ACHENTX).

The winning students, all in their second year of the Master’s of Health Administration program, are Aman Kaila, Chelsea Kleen, Patrick Li, Shriya Sarin and Ashnia Taher.

Their challenge: to identify ways to transform a public safety-net hospital that was facing financial problems, a departing chief executive, low employee morale and operational inefficiencies. Their entry, which included a written report and 30-minute presentation, addressed each of these challenges to create a blueprint for a turnaround.

Assisting on the project were Thomas Fairchild, PhD, Vice President for Organizational Excellence, and Morten Ostensen, JD, MHA, MBA, Assistant Professor of Health Management and Policy, both of UNTHSC. The ACHENTX also provided a coach: Paul Aslin, the Chief Operating Officer of Clinical Care Associates at Wise Regional Health System.

The winning UNTHSC team received a cash prize, invitations to all 2017 ACHENTX board meetings and registration to ACHE’s national annual Congress on Healthcare Leadership conference in Chicago, said John Whittemore, ACHENTX Executive Director.

The School of Public Health’s MHA program, which trains students to be effective organizational managers and health care leaders, was good preparation for the project, said Kleen, a second-year MHA student.

“Much of what we have learned in our courses was put into this one analysis,” she said. “These studies are really helpful in preparing you for real-life scenarios. I think it’s one of the best ways to learn.”

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