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MHA Today

MHA 633 (4 +1) Class Partners with Forefront Therapy
April 26, 2019 | G. Michael Barton

The MHA 633 (4 + 1) group partnered with Forefront Therapy for their HR Project this semester.  The President of Forefront Therapy, Ryan Wood, is a graduate of USI's MHA program.  The class created an Employee Handbook, Paid Time Off Program, and policies on Intellectual Property and Medical Leave for Maternity Purposes.  In addition, Mariah Wright created a Code of Conduct and Employee Checklist as part of her independent study project.  The class learned a great deal from Ryan Wood and was able to help assist Forefront Therapy with some key needs in the human resources area.  Ryan Wood and the MHA 633 (4 +1) class are pictured below:

Front row from left to right:  Hope Peckenpaugh, Elizabeth Barnes, and Hannah Sander

Back row from left to right:  Mike Barton, Instructor, Jeffery Norrick, Steeve Jean, Rokas Cesnulevicious, Ryan Wood, President of Forefront Therapy, Mariah Wright, and Jacob Delk

MHA Students Participate in USI Graduate Colloquium
April 2, 2019 | Tanner Watkins

Students of the USI Master of Health Administration program took part in the second annual USI Graduate Student Colloquium on Monday.  The event is designed to celebrate the work of USI's graduate students and showcases different forms of projects and research in a day-long gathering at Carter Hall.

The USI MHA program's involvement was spearheaded by Dr. Jennifer Williams as well as department chair Dr. Kevin Valadares.  As a result, the MHA program was one of the most visible programs in attendance with four physical posters on display as well as two electronic poster stations set up for Colloquium attendees to enjoy.  The USI MHA program was also present at last year's inaugural colloquium and built on a successful 2018 event to make 2019 even better.

Check out a few pictures from the day below!

MHA 624 '4+1' Students Work on Staffing Storages with ECHO Healthcare
February 5, 2019 | G. Michael Barton

Ms. Sandee Strader-McMillen, CEO of ECHO Healthcare met with the MHA 624-4 + 1 students on January 25 to discuss staffing shortages.  Three critical staffing areas have shortages at ECHO.  Those areas include physicians, registered nurses, and licensed practical nurses.  Three student groups have been formed to address each issue:

Group 1:  This group will address the physician shortage at ECHO.  Viola Donahue, Jahmel Fowler, and Madison Garland will be working on this issue.

Group 2:  This group will review the registered nurse shortage.  Group members include Michelle Garrett, Bryce Ridener, and Christopher Shelton.

Group 3:  This group will focus on the shortage of licensed practical nurses at ECHO.  Members of the group are Holly Wells, Hollie Woods, and Micayla Zeger.

Ms. Strader-McMillen also discussed the unique services provided to clients at ECHO.  The class learned how ECHO contributes to the homeless in the community and those individuals who have financial and economic needs.  The attached photographs show Ms. Strader-McMillen talking with the class.  The class is looking forward to touring ECHO on February 15. 

MHA students present year-end projects
December 17, 2018 | G. Michael Barton


The MHA 623 worked with the Education Center and the Counseling Center at USI on a computer application (App) for students on wellness and mental health.  The class designed a survey and administered it to students about a potential APP that focuses on wellness and mental health.  MHA 623 students presented the findings on December 7, 2019 to Mr. Brody Broshears, Assistant Vice President for Academic Success and to Dr. Tom Longwell, Director of Counseling Services.  The class made recommendations during the presentations regarding the funding and implementation of a potential APP.  The findings will help determine the next steps to be taken in implementing a student APP.


The MHA 635 class worked on a unique project for the Center for Children at St. Vincent.  The class created a cultural survey, cultural profile of the organization, code of conduct, and workplace diversity plan.  MHA 635 students presented survey findings to Mr. Brad Gant, Manager of Physician Operations on December 7, 2019.  The class also provided some practical cultural tools to the Center for Children from the project.  The class was able to learn some real world approaches regarding organizational culture. 

Student members for both projects include:

.  Rafat Alhindi

.  Elizabeth Barnes

.  Hope Cesnulievicius

.  Rokas Cesnulievicius

.  Jacob Delk

.  Steeve Jean

.  Jeff Norrick

.  Hannah Sander

MHA 635 students learn about the culture at Deaconess Clinic
November 14, 2018 | G. Michael Barton

Julie Dingman, Chief Operating Officer of Deaconess Clinic, gave an enlightening overview of the culture at Deaconess Clinic to the MHA 635 4 + 1 students on October 26, 2018.  Ms. Dingman is a 2015 graduate of USI’s MHA program.  Ms. Dingman talked about the importance of integrating culture with the overall business strategy. 

She also discussed key components of the Deaconess Clinic culture.  The 4 + 1 students were exposed to a real world example of how culture is a key driver of an organization’s overall success.  The students appreciated that Ms. Dingman made time to share her knowledge about healthcare organizations with them.

MHA students participate in Google Sprints with Pott College of Science & Engineering
September 13, 2018 | Jennifer Williams

Google sprints was created by Google Ventures about 5 years ago, and the Design Sprint framework is based on the understanding of Design Thinking.

Design Sprint is a five-day process for answering critical business questions through design, prototyping, and testing ideas with final users and customers; basically it is a way to solve design problems quickly.

The Design Sprint is run by the Sprint Master who is in charge of the event, and also in charge of the team, leading them toward a much higher level of satisfaction and of deliverables.

The primary goal of the Sprint Master is to identify the challenges the team should be solving and also invite the right talent for the Design Sprint.

What are the Stages?

The Sprint Master starts defining the problem and after the definition of the problem is revealed, the Spring Master works in six problem-solving ways to resolve the challenge.

Six Problem Solving Ways


Understand to be understood. The first part of the Sprint requires inviting the right people to share business goals, technology capability, and user need. The goal of this stage is to expand the understanding of the product/project.

Diverge/Sketch Anything is possible. Participants in the Design Sprint should explore all possible solutions to their user problems.

Decide Time to review all ideas and vote for the best options as a team.

Prototype Prototyping and testing without investing a lot of time, money, or resources.

Validate Allows the team learn different ways to design in a new form, but also hears each other’s points of view on their own designs.

The sprint is a five-day process for answering critical business questions through design, prototyping, and testing ideas with customers. Developed at GV, it’s a “greatest hits” of business strategy, innovation, behavior science, design thinking, and more—packaged into a battle-tested process that any team can use.

Working together in a sprint, you can shortcut the endless-debate cycle and compress months of time into a single week. Instead of waiting to launch a minimal product to understand if an idea is any good, you’ll get clear data from a realistic prototype. The sprint gives you a superpower: You can fast-forward into the future to see your finished product and customer reactions, before making any expensive commitments.

This process has launched some of the most successful startups today.  Some of those startups are robotics maker searching for the perfect robot personality, a coffee roaster expanding to new markets, a company organizing the world’s cancer data, and Slack, the fastest-growing business app in history.

MHA students partner with the Evansville Rescue Mission over the summer
August 20, 2018 | G. Michael Barton

Students from MHA 625 collaborated with the Evansville Rescue Mission on two critical projects this summer.  Team 1 comprised of Jacob Delk, Isabel Hyer, and Hannah Sander focused on tracking volunteer hours and addressing volunteer recruitment and retention.  Team 1 recommended a new software program that will help with tracking volunteer hours. 

The program is relatively inexpensive.  The recommended program also stores volunteer application information that can be used to track potential volunteers for the organization. 

Team 2 comprised on Steeve Jean, Jeffrey Norrick, Mariah Wright, and Elizabeth Barnes focused on creating a “Volunteer Events Plan” that details the resources needed for Evansville Rescue Mission fundraisers and other special events.  Team 2 also recommended a new summer fundraiser.  It involved partnering with the Evansville Otters to create a local softball tournament to be held at the Otters’ home stadium. 

On August 8, 2018, both teams presented their recommendations to the Evansville Rescue Mission in a formal presentation on campus.  Representatives from the Evansville Rescue Mission were on hand to hear the recommendations and ask questions.  Pictures of the presentations are provided below. 

The Evansville Rescue Mission was excited about the recommendations presented.  The partnership with the Evansville Rescue Mission with the MHA students has proved to be successful for the students and the organization. This is the third project that MHA students have conducted with the Evansville Rescue Mission.

All three have produced valuable learning opportunities for the MHA students as well as providing some detailed recommendations to the Evansville Rescue Mission.  Take a look at some photos from the morning below!

USI MHA partners with the Evansville Rescue Mission
June 19, 2018 | G. Michael Barton

On June 13, the Evansville Rescue Mission met with the MHA 625 students to enlighten them about the mission and services of their organization. 

The background information is instrumental because the class will be partnering with the Evansville Rescue Mission this summer to assist them with two important projects. 

The class will be making recommendations to the Evansville Rescue Mission on two key areas.  Group 1 comprised on Jacob Delk, Isabel Hyer, and Hannah Sander will be developing a “Volunteer Management Plan” for the organization. 

The Evansville Rescue Mission is in need of a strategic plan that addresses the recruitment and retention of agency volunteers. 

Group 2 comprised on Elizabeth Barnes, Steeve Jean, Jeffrey Norrick, and Mariah Wright will be designing a “Volunteer Events Plan”. 

This plan will address the processes, timelines, and planning needed for volunteer events held by the organization.  This plan will also address the marketing and strategic opportunities associated with offering special events.  The MHA 625 class focuses on marketing and strategic planning. 

The two projects provide an excellent way to utilize the concepts learned in class while at the same time helping a community services organization.   USI has had a long-term relationship with the Evansville Rescue Mission.  Two previous MHA 625 classes successfully completed projects for the Evansville Rescue Mission. 

The Evansville Rescue Mission and the current MHA 625 class are both excited about this unique opportunity to help one another.

Tinker toys can be fun and educational!

The MHA 625 class also participated in a fun exercise on June 13.  The class was divided into two groups for the exercise.  The purpose of the exercise was to build the tallest, free standing structure out of tinker toys.  The two groups had to construct an action plan detailing how they would accomplish the task. 

At the completion of the action plan, both groups had 15 minutes to build the tallest structure.  The completed structure could not be propped against the wall or against another stationary structure.  The class learned a great deal about working together, listening to instructions, and adapting to change. 

The class had fun with the exercise and enjoyed the lessons learned.  Check out some of the photos below!

MHA program holds May intensive
May 16, 2018 | Tanner Watkins

Making up for lost time after snow cancelled the January 2018 meeting, students and faculty of the USI Master of Health Administration program gathered May 11th and 12th for the first intensive meeting of 2018.

The two-day special was kicked off Friday with a quick introduction which led right into dueling class sessions where Lavonne McMillen and Dr. Jennifer Williams each led 2 hour, 15 minute course meetings.

A quick 15-minute break allowed students to mingle before lunch commenced and more socializing followed.

Following lunch, Dr. Williams was back in action teaching her MHA 625 Marketing & Strategy course while Dr. Gabriela Mustata-Wilson led the MHA 624 Health Informatics session.  All classroom activity was held in HP 2024 and 2025.

Finally, the students had made it through the tough part of the day when 2:30 p.m. rolled around and they were able to enjoy a special MHA Alumni Round Robin session. 

Former MHA students Sean Bagbey (Class of 2006), Casey Barrett (Class of 2015) and Andi Oeding (Class of 2014) were invited back to campus to offer their expertise and experiences in the healthcare industry.

The sessions were informative and engaging, with interaction from not only the speakers and the students, but instructors also offering insight and dialogue that created a very powerful and motivating environment.

To conclude Friday’s festivities, the MHA program hosted a reception with finger foods and lemonade in the Health Profession Building’s “Link,” where students, faculty and staff were able to mingle and learn more about each other.

After a full day of action there was still one more day to go, and Saturday provided more course instruction courtesy of McMillen, Dr. Kevin Valdares, Dr. Williams and Dr. Mustata-Wilson. 

This time, lunch was accompanied by MHA capstone presentations where MHA students presented their findings from dedicated field work sessions.

Following the afternoon course sessions, an evaluation and discussion on the capstone presentations “capped” the two-day gathering before attendees were dismissed for the summer.

The next MHA intensive will be August 10 & 11, 2018.  Check out some photos from the event below!

MHA Students Present Capstone Projects
April 20, 2018 | Tanner Watkins

On Friday, April 20, four USI Master of Health Administration students presented their capstone projects.  It was the culmination of many months of work, networking, note taking and exploring.  Students Carly Andrews, Carlos Caballero-Ramirez, Ru Jia and Kirsten Martin each spoke during a morning where all MHA 4+1 students were on hand to see the wonderful things they had done.

The Master of Health Administration program is fortunate to have had these students as 4+1 participants and we are so happy that they chose USI.  We would like to extend our thanks for all of their hard work on these capstone projects and for the rest of their school curriculum that continued while they worked diligently on these side projects.

Check out some photos from the morning below!

Contact Dr. Kevin Valadares


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