Hanh Tran: MHA, 2010
What brought you to the UW MHA Program?
As long as I can remember, my goal was to go to medical school and become a physician. I focused my efforts on obtaining a solid background in the sciences and gaining clinical experience by volunteering at various health care organizations. After completing my undergraduate degree, I continued these efforts and acquired employment as a research assistant in two areas: clinical research and health services research. During my two years working in these positions, my research in improving care for chronically ill patients brought about a whirlwind of questions and provoked my interest in areas I had never given much thought to before. I became very interested in broader aspects of health care and came to the realization that my interests were best suited to health care administration rather than medicine.
I looked into a number of MHA programs and found the UW program to be the best fit for me. The experienced faculty, internship program, networking opportunities, and interdisciplinary curriculum drew me to this program. Additionally, the Seattle area is rich in health care organizations, allowing for an increased number of opportunities, which I found very attractive.
What was your undergraduate major? What other educational experiences did you have before you came to the UW MHA Program?
I completed a BS in biology with a minor in philosophy at Oregon State University. Being on the pre-med track and having enjoyed philosophy so much, I completed a post-baccalaureate certificate in biomedical ethics at Portland State University.
What work experience did you have before coming to the UW MHA Program?
Prior to coming to the UW MHA Program, I worked as a research assistant in the Department of Medical Informatics and in the Child Development and Rehabilitation Center at Oregon Health and Science University in Portland. Through my position in Medical Informatics, I gained much insight into the current push for implementation of electronic health records, how care managers and medical homes can improve care for chronically ill or older adult patients, and the need to address problems with access to care – all currently hot topics in the health care field. Much of my drive to pursue health care administration stems from the knowledge I gained from this research experience.
What do you feel are the strengths of the UW MHA Program?
I would have to highlight the outstanding faculty and staff as a major strength of the UW MHA Program. There is a wide breadth of backgrounds, experiences, and research interests, which contribute to a truly unique learning experience. The faculty and staff are also very supportive and committed to helping the students succeed, whether that success is academic, professional, or personal. I also feel that the diversity of backgrounds and experiences of the students contributes immensely to my learning. I have found that the UW MHA Program is particularly strong in helping students with self-development. Much of our coursework and group projects require us to question our assumptions and look at ways to improve our skills as leaders as well as effective team members and problem solvers.
Are there any outstanding or unique experiences that you would like to share regarding the UW MHA Program?
Two outstanding experiences the UW MHA Program has provided me are the mentor program and the internship program.
My mentor, Judy Morton, has made the mentorship experience a fun and extremely valuable one. She has shared her knowledge and experiences, connected me with local leaders with expertise in my areas of interest, and acted as a sounding board for my ideas.
The internship between the first and second years of the program has been an amazing experience. It has provided me exposure to high-level decision making processes and provided an opportunity to bridge classroom acquired theory and practical application. My preceptors have worked closely with me to identify projects which interest me, align with the overall goals of the organization, and allow me to network throughout the organization.
What goals do you plan to pursue for your career in health care management?
I am considering pursuing a fellowship upon graduation to gain more extensive high-level exposure to health care administration. My career goal is to work in quality/process improvement and patient safety.
In September 2010, Hanh accepted the postion of Manager of Process Improvement with UW Medicine Neighborhood Clinics.