New Executives in Residence program gives MHA students an added benefit


Published: December 15, 2020

By Sally Crocker

Mha Execs In Residence

One of the best ways to prepare for a career is to learn firsthand from experts in the field. HSC Master of Health Administration (MHA) students now have that opportunity, through a new Executives in Residence program, putting them in touch with seasoned healthcare executives, thought leaders and authors recognized for their achievements and unique perspectives.

“We are thrilled to introduce this new initiative,” said MHA Program Director Stephan Davis, DNP, MHSA, FACHE. “We view Executives in Residence as key partners in helping to prepare HSC students for their important leadership roles of the future.”

Executives in Residence can be involved in a variety of ways, from guest lecturing in MHA courses; providing exclusive talks for faculty, preceptors and alumni; serving as expert judges on program case studies and competitions; mentoring select students; offering insight into industry trends and career preparation; and partnering in other ways related to advancing the profession of healthcare management.

The inaugural Executives in Residence class includes:

  • Cie Armstead, DBA, Director of Diversity & Inclusion, American College of Healthcare Executives (ACHE). Armstead is a nationally-recognized innovative leader in diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI). With more than 28 years’ experience as an association management professional, she previously led DEI strategy for the American Bar Association (ABA), providing consulting services to both internal ABA entities and bar associations across the country. She has also served as ABA President’s Senior Staff Advisor, and as Director of Litigation Section Periodicals. She is a frequent presenter, writer and consultant on DEI and association management topics, specializing in evidence-based practices and creating collaborative initiatives to achieve DEI objectives.
  • Jennifer Brown, Founder, President and CEO of Jennifer Brown Consulting. Brown is an award-winning entrepreneur, speaker, diversity consultant and author of the bestselling book “Inclusion: Diversity, The New Workplace and The Will to Change.” Her new book, “How to Be an Inclusive Leader: Your Role in Creating Cultures of Belonging Where Everyone Can Thrive,” was released in 2019. Brown’s workplace strategies have been employed by some of the world’s top Fortune 500 companies and nonprofits, including Walmart, Microsoft, Starbucks, Toyota Financial Services and T-Mobile.
  • Joy D. Calloway, MHSA, MBA, Executive Consultant and Board Member, National Association of Health Services Executives (NAHSE) and Founder & Principal of Joy D. Calloway. Calloway has been an integral leader and board member with NAHSE, the professional association dedicated to Black healthcare executives. A consultant and public speaker, Calloway heads her own firm, specializing in strategic planning and group process consultative services to businesses in various industries. Calloway has 27 years of professional healthcare and non-profit leadership experience.
  • Robyn Diaz, Senior Vice President and Chief Legal Officer, St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. Diaz oversees the legal affairs, technology transfer, compliance, internal audit and government affairs departments and manages outside counsel relationships. Before joining St. Jude, she was an in-house legal team member at MedStar Health, served as Adjunct Instructor and Academic Preceptor at Georgetown University School of Nursing and Health Studies, and was an attorney with Crowell & Moring, LLP. She is Chair of the University of Memphis School of Law Institute for Health Law & Policy, and Vice Chair of both the American Bar Association Health Care Facility Operations Interest Group and Health Law Section Student Writing Competition. She is Board Counsel and serves on the Board of Directors Executive Committee of Memphis Child Advocacy Center.
  • Michael E. Frisina, PhD, founder and President, The Frisina Group, LLC. and The Center for Influential Leadership. Frisina is author of the bestseller, “Leading Yourself to a Higher Level of Performance,” published by the Center for Influential Leadership, 2014, and “Influential Leadership – Change Your Behavior, Change Your Organization, Change Health Care,” published by Health Forum, American Hospital Association Press, 2011, reprint 2014, Health Administration Press. He is a retired U.S. Army career officer and civilian healthcare executive who has achieved numerous professional honors and published over 50 papers and articles on leadership and organizational effectiveness. Dr. Frisina is Chairman of the Health Administration Advisory Council for American Public University/American Military University.
  • Ajith Pai, PharmD, MBA, FACHE, President, Texas Health Harris Methodist Hospital Cleburne. Pai oversees day-to-day operations, advancing physician engagement and promoting effective employee, governance and community relations. He is responsible for ensuring achievement of the hospital’s goals for patient safety, clinical and non-clinical quality, operational performance and patient, physician and employee engagement. Dr. Pai is a Fellow of the American College of Healthcare Executives (FACHE) and is 2020 chairperson of the ACHE Asian Healthcare Leaders Forum.
  • Monica C. Vargas-Mahar, MHA, FACHE, Market Chief Operating Officer for The Hospitals of Providence, and Chief Executive Officer for the East Campus in El Paso, Texas. Vargas-Mahar provides strategic and operational leadership for the East campus and outpatient locations, with responsibility for four acute-care facilities and micro-hospitals in The Hospitals of Providence network. She has more than 15 years’ experience in healthcare administration and is active in her community and across the state, having served as Chair Elect for the National Association of Latino Healthcare Executives; Board Chair of United Way of Greater El Paso; and on the boards of Texas Lyceum, Texas Hospital Association Council on Policy Development, and El Paso Community College Foundation. Vargas-Mahar was named a Modern Healthcare magazine “Up & Comer” in 2012.
  • Kenneth R. White, PhD, RN, FACHE, FAAN, author and UVA Health Professor Emeritus, University of Virginia School of Nursing. White is professor emeritus at University of Virginia School of Nursing and Professor Emeritus of Health Administration at Virginia Commonwealth University. He has more than 45 years’ experience in healthcare organizations, working in clinical, administrative, governance and consulting capacities. He is a board-certified acute care nurse practitioner with specialty board certification in palliative care. He has authored nine books on healthcare management and nursing leadership. He is president-elect of the American Academy of Nursing and founding chair of the American College of Healthcare Executives LGBTQ Forum. Dr. White was honored with the ACHE Gold Medal Award for healthcare leadership excellence in 2019.