A Closer Look at the April 2015 Immersion: Day Three

MHA@GW students are required to attend a total of four immersion experiences while enrolled in the program. Recently, the Milken Institute School of Public Health at the George Washington University welcomed more than 20 new students to campus for an intensive, three-day course on leadership and ethics, led by Program Director Dr. Leonard Friedman and Professor Ricky Allen, MHSA, MDiv, FACHE. Check out our recaps of days one and two.

Curious about previous immersions? Read more about our experiences in September 2014 and January 2015.

Reflecting on New Knowledge and Ethics in Health Care


To kick off the final immersion day, Professor Ricky Allen took a few moments to reflect on the last few days by addressing lingering student questions about leadership. The tricky business of situational leadership — wherein a manager utilizes different leadership styles depending on a specific scenario — was one topic on a lot of students’ minds. Professor Allen reminded the class that, like any other skill, it takes real-life practice.

The final session of the immersion on health care ethics sparked one of the most enthusiastic and valuable debates of the weekend. “Ethics is not a pretty topic, but it’s something that is so very, very serious,” Professor Allen said. “And we included it in the immersion on leadership rather than a module because it’s a thread that runs through everything you do.”

“Leadership is like driving. The more you drive, the easier it gets. You just have to actually do it.” — Professor Ricky Allen

Since health care professionals make so many decisions that significantly affect people’s lives, the class explored the topic through several lenses, from identifying and solving ethical problems, to administrative and biomedical ethical issues, to ethical questions that have come to the fore with the increasing use of technology in health care. The discussion was by turns highly theoretical and deeply personal, as students shared their own relevant experiences.

Professor Allen and Dr. Friedman both remarked on the passionate nature of the discussion. “We couldn’t do this session on day one,” Dr. Friedman said. “Because this discussion requires an intensely high level of trust.”

“Everyone here is a leader.”

As the immersion came to a close, faculty and students took a few minutes to say thank you to one another. Many were surprised by just how close they had become in just three days. “I feel like everyone here is a leader,” Kendra Fascilli said. “Everyone was very down to earth, very collaborative. I could ask anyone here a personal or professional question.” Student Cristeta Smith concurred, “I got close to people very quickly, and the structure was conducive to collaboration.”



Others said that the immersion opened them up to new ways of thinking. “I think it’s been amazing,” said student Daphne Pierre-Paul. “The diversity is nice. It was nice to be with people who do totally different things. I think the MBTI was my favorite part. It’s all about finding people who can complement you and complement each other.”

Student Jeffrey Orr said that coming to campus reinforced his feeling of belonging in the GW community. “It really enhanced the experience of going back to school. It made me feel like a part of something,” he said.

London Calling

As much as we love introducing our online MHA students to the GW campus, it’s time for a new adventure. This July, our fourth immersion will take us to the heart of London, England, for a weeklong course on the United Kingdom health system.

Curious? Keep following the MHA@GW blog for coverage of this incredible international trip, or read more about immersion experiences.