As a creative person, my career path has taken a number of turns, and has been varied, rich and challenging. After medical school I completed a residency in Ear, Nose and Throat Surgery, and additional surgical fellowship training. I spent several years as an officer in the U.S. Army, then joined the faculty at Johns Hopkins University, and became a medical director for their managed care plans. In 1999, I joined HealthPartners in Minnesota to lead the newly created Institute for Medical Education at HealthPartners.

I believe it’s critically important for leaders to constantly refresh their knowledge of leadership, emerging concepts in management and changes in the environment of health care. The St. Thomas MBA program was a great fit for me as a leader of an organization in an evolving health care marketplace. I especially appreciated the opportunity to have a structured framework in which to explore issues affecting the future of health care. At St. Thomas, the courses are practical enough to be useful immediately, but deep enough to provide guidance in ever-changing business environments.

For my final UST MBA project, I created a learning experience to enhance understanding of health care issues affecting diverse populations in the Twin Cities. The project involved four cultures: Somali, Latino, African American and Hmong. Issues affecting health in each of the cultures were explored from the viewpoint of an individual in that culture. The project was called “The EBAN Experience” after a four-sided symbol from Ghana.  Since graduation, I have been refining the model and creating a team to bring the project to reality. In 2010, HealthPartners, my employer, selected The EBAN Experience as its major health disparities initiative for the year. This is a good example of how the coursework at St. Thomas can evolve into something real and something that can improve health.

I believe adaptive leadership must engage both the rational and the emotional in order to be successful. Understanding leadership principles, as taught at St. Thomas, can propel ideas forward, moving from paper, to planning, to action.