Student Adds Health Care Credentials to Business Experience

MHA@GW student Eric Johnson is a senior financial analyst at Sutter Health in Sacramento, California. Passionate about serving others and being involved in his community, he always believed that the health care industry would be a great industry for him to pursue. He credits his mentor, a retired hospital CEO, for encouraging him to pursue an MHA instead of an MBA.

“My desire is to get into health care leadership, so I felt it was important for me to learn about the operational and administrative aspects of the health care industry,” Johnson said. “Given that I already had a business and finance background, my mentor helped me recognize the value of rounding out my skills with an MHA degree.”

Also a husband, father, athlete and entrepreneur, Johnson is a busy professional who loves being active and engaged in many activities while still pursuing his educational goals. An avid ultra-runner, he has trained and completed four 100-mile foot races and is also a partner of a startup for a new running product he is helping to develop. Additionally, he volunteers as a church youth leader and for the Boy Scouts of America. He admits it isn’t always easy to balance everything, but it’s well worth it.

“I think one of the most helpful skills I have been able to learn is how to manage time and prioritize,” he said. “I have been able to fit everything in — spending time with family, working, volunteering, schoolwork and running. In 2016, I trained for and completed the Western States 100 Mile Endurance Run. I was not able to complete it as fast as I have in prior years, but it was fun to still be able to be a part of the sport I love.”

Eric chose the MHA@GW program a number of reasons.

“First, GW has a reputation as one of the top MHA programs in the country,” he said. “Second, the curriculum is accredited by the Commission of Accreditation of Healthcare Management Education (CAHME). Third, the virtual platform allows me to work full time and not have to move my family. Fourth, the school’s focus on leadership development is important to me. And finally, I wanted a program that would help me to expand my network and connections across the country.”

When asked what advice he has for others considering an MHA degree, he said, “There is no better time to fit it in than now. I feel an MHA degree is very helpful for health care professionals, especially with the ever-changing industry regulations and the increasing need to be able to successfully lead health care organizations through uncertain times.”

He explained, “I was concerned that I would have a very difficult time fitting it in, but the interactive online platform has been excellent. The asynchronous material can be done at my convenience and the group work has been relatively easy to plan into the week. Meeting online via video conferencing for the group work and weekly instructor-led live sessions has been wonderful.”

Johnson said that the lessons he’s learning in the classroom are already having a positive impact on his career.

“In my current role, the knowledge I have gained has enabled me to provide better services to all of our internal customers, as I have a better understanding of operations and management,” he said. “I feel confident that earning my MHA will be very beneficial as I progress in my career and will provide me with the knowledge and skills I need to help shape the future of health care.”

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