Student Spotlight: Antonesia “Toni” Wiley

Antonesia Wiley, also known as “Toni,” currently works as a regulatory compliance manager at an international humanitarian organization. Wiley decided to earn a degree from MHA@GW because she wanted to develop the leadership capacity and technical skills to improve health outcomes in underserved communities. Read on to learn more about Wiley in today’s student spotlight.

Tell us a bit about yourself.

I am a native of Birmingham, Alabama, and an alumna of Georgetown University. I have worked in the public health field for more than 15 years. My passion for improving health care access and outcomes was shaped by various formative events experienced in my youth. One such event included my travels abroad while in high school. During my travels, I encountered diverse cultures, diets and living conditions, and I was able to see the aggregate impact of health care disparities on local communities and the residents’ quality of life. I noticed a similar effect in underserved U.S. communities. I became very interested in evaluating the causes, effects and possible solutions for these health care disparities … and I never lost that curiosity.

Why did you decide to earn an MHA degree?

Earning a Master of Health Administration was the next logical step in my career progression. I had been working in public health management for a few years, and though I have been fortunate to gain exceptional experiential knowledge, I knew I needed to complement that experience with a graduate degree from an established public health program.

The student-to-faculty ratio [at MHA@GW] allows the professors to get to know the students on a personal basis; this is something that many traditional graduate programs cannot offer.

Why did you choose MHA@GW?

MHA@GW had so many features that I was looking for in a graduate program: the location and access to health care policy makers in Washington, D.C., small class sizes, renowned faculty and accelerated content for experienced public health executives. What really sold me was the hybrid learning approach, which coupled synchronous online coursework with face-to-face on-campus sessions.

Did you have any reservations about earning this degree online?

Initially, yes. I knew the Milken Institute School of Public Health had the robust program of study that I needed, but I was concerned that an online program would be isolated and would not provide the same level of faculty support and student interaction as an on-campus program. Surprisingly, that has not been the case — I am able to spend valuable face time with my classmates at least twice a week and have access to my professors whenever needed.

What excites you most about the program?

I think receiving instruction from esteemed faculty and industry leaders from top-ranked health institutions is extremely exciting. The student-to-faculty ratio allows the professors to get to know the students on a personal basis; this is something that many traditional graduate programs cannot offer. The program content also allows me to immediately apply the classroom concepts to real-life experience, and likewise, bring real-life experiences to the learning environment.

What has been your favorite part of MHA@GW?

I have really enjoyed the camaraderie that has grown among the students in the program. I have so much respect for them and their commitment to positively impacting the field of public health. We are all very accomplished in our respective areas and bring such a wealth of knowledge to the program. At the same time, we are always willing to listen and learn from one another.

What are you hoping to accomplish upon graduation?

I hope to graduate with a solid foundation in health administration concepts and a stronger professional network. Most importantly, I hope to gain the leadership capacity and technical skills needed to create sustainable health care improvements for those in underserved communities.