Liga Mezaraups, Executive MHA Candidate 2012
What brought you to the UW MHA Program?
I had been a registered nurse for 23 years when I entered the program, and although I had considered pursuing a graduate degree on more than a few occasions, my uncertainty about an ultimate career goal prevented me from moving forward. Serendipitously, a colleague sought my assistance with his Capstone Project, and my interest was renewed. I realized that for me, having a concrete career goal was essentially irrelevant; what was paramount was formal training in transformational leadership and the ability to examine healthcare issues and solutions within this context.
What was your undergraduate major?
I graduated from Georgetown University with a Bachelor of Science in Nursing in 1987.
What work experience did you have before coming to the UW MHA Program?
My years of clinical nursing involved a variety of hospital settings, including medical-surgical and telemetry units, emergency departments, and ambulatory surgery departments. From a clinical care perspective, my greatest passion was emergency medicine. That said, I continually wanted a more significant positive impact on care delivery and began supervising staff and managing departments. I moved from Los Angeles to Seattle in 2004, and have worked at Swedish Health Services since, initially in the capacity of an Operating Room supervisor, manager, and now as the Director and Transplant Administrator of our Transplant Program and Liver Center.
What do you feel are the strengths of the UW MHA Program?
The UW Executive MHA Program has exceeded my every expectation. From the personalized interest and attention given when I was considering applying to the program, to the administrative support of the program staff, to the phenomenal faculty, it is no wonder the UW EMHA Program has an outstanding reputation. Although team-based learning is not a model that initially seemed attractive to me, it is remarkable how closely the program mimics real working experience. I recently shared with a colleague, now in her first year in the program, that on the very first hour of my very first day in class, I immediately found applicable elements from work that enriched the classroom experience, and vice versa. Finally, the faculty is truly remarkable. Their combined experience is enviable; learning increases exponentially because students are engaged as colleagues and share relevant experiences that enhance the curriculum.
Are there any outstanding or unique experiences you would like to share regarding the UW MHA Program?
As much as I dreaded an off-site team-building event to kick off the program, the experience very successfully built a strong foundation of familiarity and trust that has enhanced the entire experience.
What goals do you plan to pursue for your career in health care management?
The MHA Program has broadened my thinking from how I might lead to improve my department and service line, to how I might impact and improve my healthcare organization, to how I can impact the delivery of health care altogether, from access, to quality, to cost.
Is there anything you would like to share about your experience as a student at the University of Washington? (story, highlight, etc.)
I cannot say enough about the profound impact the program has had in my life already. The program is structured so carefully and deliberately that one finds oneself learning about a variety of subjects simultaneously, all the while challenging leadership skills, expanding one's emotional intelligence, and challenging one's own beliefs about what really matters. I recommend the program wholeheartedly and enthusiastically.