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Healthcare Leaders in the Making

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“ In a field where decision making has the ability to impact very large numbers of people, I know that, with my graduate-level preparation, my own decision making will occur through a public health lens.”
— Joycelin Trujeque

EVEN BEFORE ENROLLING in the UCLA Fielding School of Public Health’s Executive MPH Program in Health Policy and Management, Bianca Natt had a goal: Upon graduating, Natt hoped to be in a position to earn an administrative fellowship at a prestigious institution. “I want to end up in a leadership role, and I knew that to get there it was important to learn about all of the disciplines and components of healthcare,” says Natt, a recruiter for UCLA Health when she entered the school’s EMPH program.

The UCLA Fielding experience took Natt out of her comfort zone, as she worked with classmates to complete deliverable projects on previously unfamiliar topics such as healthcare marketing, finance, and law. But it was a confidence-builder, Natt says — and it helped her realize her ambition: a position in Johns Hopkins Medicine’s administrative fellow class of 2024. As part of the two-year program, Natt will rotate through the expansive Johns Hopkins health system, learning from leaders in departments ranging from surgery to human resources, within both inpatient and outpatient settings.

“I’m thrilled to be working for an organization with such a great reputation in healthcare,” Natt says. “The senior leadership is heavily invested in the development of the fellows, and the fellowship structure will allow me access to these leaders while learning from the departments and teams I will work with. What’s exciting is that nothing is set in stone — there are so many possibilities for where this could lead.”

Natt is one of four 2022 graduates of UCLA Fielding’s Department of Health Policy and Management — two from the full-time MPH program, two from the EMPH program — to earn coveted administrative fellowships at top institutions in California and beyond. “Managing healthcare systems is complex and challenging,” says

Dr. Jack Needleman, the Fred W. and Pamela K. Wasserman Chair in the Department of Health Policy and Management. “Major systems, recognizing that they need to cultivate promising future leaders, have set up a limited number of one- to two-year administrative fellowships to give their most promising management recruits in-depth experience across the system and mentoring from senior leadership. These are highly competitive placements and the success of our students in obtaining these fellowships reflects both the strength of the students and the quality of our MPH classroom education and out-of-classroom professional development activities.”

As a clinical and research molecular laboratory scientist, Jack Tyndall saw firsthand that the greatest barrier to improving patient care often has less to do with biomedical technology than with how — and whether — patients access health services. This became especially evident to Tyndall early in the pandemic, when he was part of a team working to develop an FDAapproved COVID-19 test. “The science was relatively straightforward; the real challenge was scaling and getting the test to patients,” Tyndall says.

That realization led to a career change, which started with Tyndall’s enrolling in UCLA Fielding. “I became very interested in the role health systems play as the primary mechanisms for healthcare delivery,” he explains. “Administrators work on these issues of access, quality, and implementation every day.”

Tyndall’s two-year administrative fellowship at UC San Francisco is divided into two parts: For the first year, he will take on a variety of projects as he explores the department and job functions across the UCSF Health system. Throughout the year he will be paired with a senior administrator working on call to help solve any operational problems that arise. In his second year, Tyndall will work as interim manager of a practice, collaborating with UCSF Health clinical staff in serving patients.

“I’m excited to take advantage of such an incredible learning and career acceleration opportunity,” Tyndall says. “I had no previous experience in healthcare management, but at FSPH I had amazing mentors who allowed me to quickly learn many of the basics of healthcare finance, strategy, and program management, as well as taking on new learning opportunities. All of that prepared me to be a competitive fellowship candidate.”

“ I had no previous experience in healthcare management, but at FSPH I had amazing mentors who allowed me to quickly learn. All of that prepared me to be a competitive fellowship candidate.”
— Jack Tyndall

Joycelin Trujeque’s first exposure to public health came as a UCLA undergraduate. Working in hospitals and health clinics as part of her community courses, as well as taking undergraduate courses offered by UCLA Fielding, Trujeque learned about public health’s role in addressing social, economic, environmental, and other factors affecting people’s health. “I had never made the connection between the ailments that lead people to seek medical attention and the social determinants of health,” Trujeque says.

Setting her sights on a career in healthcare management, she completed FSPH’s MPH program. “In a field where decision making has the ability to impact very large numbers of people, I know that, with my graduate-level preparation, my own decision making will occur through a public health lens,” Trujeque says. “I am committed to placing equity, accessibility, and sustainability at the forefront.”

During her two-year administrative fellowship with Kaiser Permanente Southern California, Trujeque will rotate through the organization’s three entities (Kaiser Foundation Health Plan, Kaiser Foundation Hospital, and the Southern California Permanente Medical Group) as she develops her skills in strategy, operations, and project management. “I’m excited to take on projects in areas that are completely unfamiliar to me, learn from current leaders in the organization, and receive ongoing mentorship and support,” Trujeque says. “I have aspirations to drive change within healthcare, provide equitable access, and create a positive workplace culture. To be that kind of leader, the insight, exposure, and experience I’ll be getting will be vital.”

Like Bianca Natt, Jessica Thies decided she wanted to do an administrative fellowship before she knew where she’d get her MPH. As much as she loved her job as a nurse in the pediatric intensive care unit at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles, Thies sought to make an impact on a larger scale than through one-on-one patient care. “As nurses, especially in a pediatric ICU, we see only a small part of what goes on in healthcare,” she says. “I wanted to get involved in different departments and see the hospital from outside that clinical environment.”

After learning that many top hospitals offer administrative fellowships, Thies began to look into executive MPH programs that would best prepare her for the experience. Talking with another pediatric ICU nurse who had graduated from UCLA Fielding’s EMPH program and gone on to complete an administrative fellowship, she made her decision.

At City of Hope National Medical Center in Duarte, California, Thies will rotate through departments taking on projects, working with assigned mentors and sitting in on executive meetings. “My goal is to always stay grounded through bedside nursing, but I’m looking for a new challenge, and I really enjoy helping my peers be able to do their jobs better,” she explains.

As she embarks on the fellowship, Thies feels well prepared by her UCLA Fielding education. “As much as I benefited from the instruction, I also learned so much from the cohort about how to have conversations on complex healthcare topics with people from different backgrounds,” she says. “Ultimately, that’s what leadership is — sharing experiences with people from different backgrounds and then determining how to work toward the common goal of improving patient outcomes.”