MHA Connections 2

Letter from the Director

Hello from the UW Campus,

The past months as program director have been educational, exciting, and rewarding.  Beginning at the end of April, I visited advisory board members, faculty, and health care leaders across the state, logging nearly 1,400 miles.  The conversations were enjoyable and the comments helpful.  Summing up 23 conversations in a few words is difficult, but the following is my distillation of common themes:

  • Creating a pathway for students to be certified in lean management, project management, and IHI, through the program, would be ideal.
  • Increasing diversity in the student population, and in teaching, is extremely important.  
  • Increasing the ability of graduates to work with ambiguity and ongoing and discontinuous change is vital for future managers and leaders. 
  • Our industry buzzwords, “big data”, “population health” and “analytics” came up frequently, but almost as frequently with the caveat that we’re still defining what they mean to operations.
  • We must offer students a broader view of the industry and career prospects, not only hospital management.

We’re considering how to incorporate these ideas into the program as we move forward.  One way we are already responding is through our commitment to diversity within the programs. We’re proud that for the last several years, the ethnic diversity of our students accurately reflects the NW population.  We are actively pursuing initiatives to broaden and strengthen diversity in our programs, so we continue to reflect the population we expect in 2025.  To this end, the program, and several of our alumni, are members of the WSHEF diversity committee co-chaired by Daniel Montanez (’14) and Gregg Davidson, CEO of Skagit Valley Hospital.

Many more exciting things are happening in the program…

This year we had 45 first-year students placed in summer internships. Congratulations, and thank you, to Bill Dowling and Hayley Leventhal for their work placing all of these students. As usual, some of the students found their own internships, but for the most part, Bill and Hayley worked with our health care community to match students with their summer experience.  Eight of these placements are in eastern Washington.  And a big thank you to the internship sponsors for providing these valuable learning experiences.

In June and August, we celebrated the graduation of MHA and EMHA students, respectively.  In front of family and friends, we shared a meal and stories about the program and each other.  These are two excellent cohorts of students, who I thank for increasing the value of my UW MHA degree.

As the cohorts change, so too do the faces who teach them.  We’re excited to announce the addition of three new Senior Lecturers to the program, Sarah Cave (’99), Kurt O’Brien and Jeff Sconyers. They bring years of practice and teaching experience to the program.  My smile gets broader when I think of the contributions they will make, in addition to Suzanne Wood and Cindy LeRouge, who joined us in January and March. 

Sarah, Kurt, and Jeff were hired to take the reins from some of our senior faculty members retiring this year.  Many thanks to our colleagues Will Welton, Ed Walker, and Doug Conrad, who have, or will, retire this summer and fall.  We are thankful they will continue to be involved with the program in various ways.

We are excited to welcome the next batch of incoming students, and we are currently working on preparations for orientation and the academic year.  Classes begin in early October, and we have 28 students confirmed for the MHA class and 40 students in the EMHA class. 

We’re also planning our winter alumni event.  We hope to see many of you this January 14, for an evening of education and connection. Be sure to save the date!

Dennis Stillman Signature

Dennis Stillman, MHA
Director, Graduate Program in Health Services Administration


Election Results for the MHA Alumni Association

We’re pleased to announce the newly elected MHA Alumni Association Board of Directors.  We received 28 nominations from qualified and interested alumni, and the following individuals were elected to the board:

  • Andrea Voytko (MHA 1989)
  • Bahaa Wanly (MHA 2006)
  • Christine Malone (EMHA 2007)
  • Jason Peterson (MHA 2010)
  • Jill Langle (MHA 1997)
  • Kelly Malone (MHA 1985)
  • Kimberly Anderson (EMHA 2006)
  • Megan Horvath (Potter) (MHA 2008)
  • Michelle Hillier (MHA 1993)
  • Rick Shumway (MHA 2008)

The board is scheduled to meet in mid-October to establish the direction and priorities for the Alumni Association.  We look forward to the work we will accomplish together, and we will keep you posted on the progress!

The 2016 Evening for Alumni Event 

Richard Umbdenstock, MHAMark your calendar for this year’s Evening for Alumni, scheduled January 14, 2016.

The program is proud to welcome guest speaker, Richard Umbdenstock, current President and Chief Executive Officer of the American Hospital Association.

We hope you’ll join us for an evening of education and connection with alumni and members of the health care community. More information and registration details will be sent this fall.



Connect with Classmates via the Alumni Directory

The Alumni Directory is now up-and-running with improved privacy features.  You can access the directory on the Alumni pages of the MHA and EMHA websites, with your UW NetID. If you don’t have a UW NetID, follow these steps to set one up.

  1. Visit:
  2. Follow the prompts to create a NetID or to check if you already have one.
  3. Once you’ve created your ID, submit it to the MHA Program here so we can grant you access to the Alumni Directory.

We update the directory on the first business day of the month. Questions? Let us know at

MHA Faculty Lead Research Site Dedicated to Healthcare Innovation

Health Services faculty Cynthia LeRouge, Douglas Conrad, and PhD student Ann Nguyen, were awarded the Industry/University Cooperation Research Center Planning Grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF) to launch a Center for Health Organization Transformation (CHOT) site at UW. CHOT brings together researchers and industry partners from around the nation to develop cutting-edge solutions for health care industry through applied research projects.

A meeting of the National CHOT Industry Advisory Board is taking place in Boston, October 8-9. If you are interested in seeing CHOT in action or becoming a CHOT partner, this is an opportunity to attend and learn more about the networking, research, and professional development opportunities available to participating organizations. Contact Dr. Cynthia LeRouge for more information at or 206.685.6201. 

MHA alumni are encouraged to inspire future projects and the direction of CHOT-UW and explore potential membership. Visit the CHOT-UW website for more information, and be on the lookout for emails from the MHA program announcing CHOT-UW events and opportunities.

Job Placement for MHA Grads

Congratulations to our 2015 graduating MHA Class. The following students have secured job and fellowship placements.  Other students will continue interviewing for positions this summer. If any of these students will be starting in your organization this summer or fall, please plan to connect with them.

  • Ryan Horn, Manager, Administrative Operations at Seattle Children’s Hospital
  • Victor Kao, Administrative Fellow at EvergreenHealth
  • Anisa Khaleel, Administrative Fellow at Texas Children’s Hospital
  • Leslie Mallinger, Administrative Fellow at Neighborcare Health
  • Sam Nepple, Administrative Fellow at Mercy Health (a Division of Mercy Rockford Health)
  • Yen Nguyen, University of Washington Transplant Center
  • Aaron Rassat, Data Analyst at Washington Association of Community and Migrant Health Centers
  • Brian Reed, Seattle Children’s Hospital
  • David Rettig, Administrative Fellow at Swedish Health Services
  • Lisa Tat, Administrative Fellow at Sutter Health, West Bay Region
  • Sergio Vincenti, Administrative Fellow with Sutter Medical Foundation
  • Carlton Wilson, Senior Financial Analyst for Swedish/Providence
  • Kelly Youngberg, Administrative Fellow for CHI Franciscan Health

Summer Internship Placements

You may see one of our MHA students interning in your organizations this summer.  Thanks to all of our hosting organizations and preceptors!

MHA Summer Internship 2015

If you are interested in introducing an internship at your organization next year, contact MHA Professional Development Specialist, Hayley Leventhal to learn more about hiring one of our talented students for the summer. You can reach Hayley at or 206.616.2978.

Save the Date: Capstone & Research Opportunities

Join us for an opportunity to learn more about working collaboratively on capstone and applied research projects to benefit your organization. Using an evidence-based problem solving approach, a team of established executives, skilled academics, and graduate students could enhance organizational capability to leverage opportunities, mitigate threats, and boost innovation. We will be holding an informational meeting at the UW Club on October 19, 2015 (5:30 – 7:30pm).  

For more information, contact Suzanne J. Wood, PHD, MS, FACHE at

Faculty & Staff News

Retirement Announcements  

Three senior faculty members have, or will, retire this year: Will Welton (June 30), Ed Walker (June 30) and Doug Conrad (October 31).  Will, Ed and Doug each played significant leadership roles in the programs during their tenure.  The program is indebted to each for their leadership and guidance.

Join us in congratulating our colleagues on their well-earned retirements!  We’re pleased they will each remain connected with the program in various ways.  Doug will continue leading the evaluation team for the state’s Healthier Washington Project, while Ed will continue teaching and directing the Certificate in Medical Management Program.

Three New Faculty Join the MHA Ranks

We are pleased to welcome three new Senior Lecturers to the program this fall: Kurt O’Brien, Jeff Sconyers and Sarah Cave.  Jeff, Sarah, and Kurt are familiar faces around the MHA program.  Both Jeff and Kurt taught in the program as clinical faculty, and Sarah is a graduate from the MHA class of 1999. 

Sarah Cave, MHA

Sarah CaveSarah is a new Senior Lecturer with the UW’s Graduate Program in Health Services Administration, specializing in health care management and strategy. She joins the faculty after 15 years in health care administration—beginning her career at ECG Management Consultants and Providence, and later serving in executive strategic planning and business development roles at the system, local, and regional levels with PeaceHealth, an integrated delivery system with hospitals, medical groups, and ancillary services in Washington, Oregon, and Alaska. Sarah returned to the School of Public Health in 2014 to become the Chief Operating Officer, where she was responsible for human resources administration, facilities/space management, strategic planning, and other operations.

Sarah is a UW MHA graduate from the class of 1999. She is an active member of the University Sunrise Rotary Club and planning committee for the Northwest Kidney Center’s annual Discovery Gala. She lives in Queen Anne with her 8-year-old daughter, Maggie, and enjoys running, skiing, food, and wine.

Kurt O’Brien, HROD

Kurt O'BrienKurt is a senior lecturer with the University of Washington’s Department of Health Services Master in Health Administration program.  He specializes in the areas of leadership development and coaching, interpersonal skills development, team development, strategic planning, and conflict resolution.  Additionally, he designs and conducts workshops on topics such as Dialogue, Emotional Intelligence, Conflict Resolution, Influencing Change, and TeamSTEPPS (and is a TeamSTEPPS master trainer).

He holds certifications in a variety of instruments including the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator, the Emotional Quotient Indicator (EQ-i), and the Zenger-Folkman Extraordinary Leader multi-rater assessment.

Kurt is a graduate of the U.S. Coast Guard Academy (B.S. in Management), and he has a Master degree in Human Resources and Organization Development (HROD) from the University of San Francisco (1997).

Jeff Sconyers, JD

Jeff SconyersJeff Sconyers is Senior Lecturer in the Department of Health Services.  Prior to joining the faculty, he was Senior Vice President and General Counsel at Seattle Children’s Hospital, Seattle, for 21 years.  He graduated from the College of William and Mary with an A.B. with High Honors in History, spent three years working towards a D.Min. degree at Union Theological Seminary, Richmond, and received a J.D. from Yale Law School in 1982.  He is past president of the Washington State Society of Healthcare Attorneys, founding co-editor-in-chief of the Washington Health Law Manual (first published 1996), and co-author of “Pediatric Risk Management” in ASHRM’s Risk Management Handbook for Health Care Organizations.  He is a former member of the Board of Directors of the American Health Lawyers Association, and a frequent speaker on topics including legal ethics, public health law and practice, and issues affecting teaching hospitals and academic medical centers.  He served on the Advisory Commission on Childhood Vaccines, appointed by the Secretary of Health and Human Services, including two terms as Chair of the Commission.  He is also former chair of the board of directors of Northwest Healthcare Response Network and hold an adjunct appointment in the School of Law.  He was admitted to practice in Washington in 1982, in Connecticut in 1984, and in Massachusetts in 1985.  On a good day, he can spin gold from straw.

Faculty Publications, Presentations and Awards

Scott Coplan and David Masuda published a column in the Journal in the Journal of Healthcare Information Management.  In Fall 2014, Vol. 28, No. 4 issue, they examined building on caregiver empathy, not just toward patients but among each other, to help overcome shame and embrace courage to benefit healthcare organizations as they complete IT projects transitioning them to new ways of caring for and engaging patients.

David Masuda, authored the final chapter, “Careers in Biomedical Informatics and Clinical Computing” of the second edition of Practical Guide to Clinical Computing Systems.

In addition, Masuda was also nominated for the UW Distinguished Teaching Award this year. Congratulations, Dave!

Sallie Sanford, Adjunct in Health Services and Assistant Professor of Law, presented at several events this spring in Alaska and Washington regarding the ACA and the King V. Burwell U.S. Supreme Court Case. Additionally, Sallie published the following articles:

Sallie Thieme Sanford, Mind the Gap: Basic Health Along the ACA’s Coverage Continuum, 17 Md. J. Health Care L. & Pol’y 101 (2014).

Sallie Thieme Sanford, The Struggle to Bury Pre-Existing Condition Consideration, 7 St. Louis J. Health L. & Pol’y 405 (2014).

Sallie Thieme Sanford, Emergency Response: A Systemic Approach to Diaper Rash, Chest Pain and Medicaid in the Emergency Department, 102 KY. L.J. 441 (2014).

Staff Updates 

Hayley LeventhalHayley Leventhal joined Health Services in March 2015 as the Professional Development Specialist for the MHA Program.  In her role, Hayley supports the diverse needs of the MHA students through skill development workshops, networking opportunities, speakers, and individual career counseling. Her previous experience includes working with students in career centers at UC Berkeley and San Francisco State University, in addition to several community colleges. She holds a master’s degree in college counseling from San Francisco State University and a bachelor’s from UC Berkeley. Originally from Santa Cruz, she moved to Seattle from the bay area last year.

Minh SumMinh Sum joined Health Services in July 2015 as the Program Coordinator for the MHA, EMHA and CPMM Programs.  In her role, Minh supports the diverse needs of the MHA and EMHA students as they navigate through the department’s mission, content, policies, procedures and program activities. Her previous experience includes working with students and faculty at the University of Washington’s Asian Languages and Literature Department. She holds a bachelor degree in microbiology from the University of Washington.

Will TyndallWill Tyndall joined the MHA Staff in June 2015. Prior to joining the MHA, Will was an award winning photographer and communications specialist with more than five years of experience in the field of internal and external communication. He joined the U.S. Navy in 2009 as a Mass Communications Specialist, where he attended the Defense Information School in Fort Meade, Maryland, and then went on to a four-and-half-year sea tour aboard the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS John C. Stennis (CVN 74). While there, Will began honing his creativity and problem solving skills as a communications specialist, creating and overseeing the writing of news releases, photography, and serving as liaison to distinguished visitors. 

Aboard Stennis, he deployed twice with Carrier Air Wing Nine (CVW-9) in 2011 and again in 2012 to the U.S. 7th and 5th Fleet areas of operation in support of Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF) and Operation New Dawn (OND).  Will is a graduate of the University of Florida, where he received a BA in Political Science with a minor in Mass Communications. He is a native of Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, and has lived in Washington for the past six years. 

Awards & Accolades

Lydia Bartholomew (‘02) was awarded the Certified Healthcare Insurance Executive (CHIE) designation in June. The prestigious designation is held by more than 1,000 health care executives and medical directors. The CHIE designation comes after participation in the AHIP-ELP-MD fellowship program.

Collin Furukawa (‘14) was honored this past fall as one of the North Idaho Business Journal’s Top 30 Under 40.

Joyce Jackson (’82) received the Carolyn Helman Lichtenberg Crest Award from the Pi Beta Phi Fraternity for Women for her leadership in kidney health and disease.


 Alumni Updates

Class of 1989

Myra Tanita announced her retirement as Chief Operating Officer at Fred Hutch, effective December 2015.

Class of 1990

Lisa Parent started working as Director Revenue Cycle in Spring 2014 for Singulex, a biotech company located in Alameda, California. 

Class of 1996

Jessica Berrett celebrated her 5 year anniversary with Dart NeuroScience. She is currently the Director of Clinical Data Management.

Class of 1998

Geoff Austin was recently named Interim Executive Director of the University of Washington Medical Center.

Class of 2009

Delores Kannas' capstone project was published in the Annals of the American Thoracic Society: Improved Analgesia, Sedation, and Delirium Protocol Associated with Decreased Duration of Delirium and Mechanical Ventilation. American Thoracic Society Vol 11, No3, pp 367-374, Mar 2014. 

Class of 2001

Katerie Chapman was promoted to senior vice president and hospital administrator at Virginia Mason, a Seattle-based hospital and health-care network. Chapman was previously vice president of perioperative and support services at Virginia Mason.

Class of 2002

Lydia Bartholomew, M.D., was elected vice president of the Washington Academy of Family Physicians (WAFP) at their annual meeting in May. With more than 3,200 members, WAFP is the largest medical specialty organization in Washington State.

 Class of 2003

Dr. Bernice Hecker retired from her position as Executive Medical Director, Medicare Parts A&B, Mid-January, 2015. She currently works as a private consultant for government agencies and selected private clients. On a personal note, she is engaged to be married in October, has sold her Seattle home, and moved to Mercer Island.

 Class of 2008 

Rick Shumway received a promotion in March 2015 at University of Utah Health Care.  He is now an Associate Executive Director within the health system. His oversight includes system responsibility for the Clinical Neurosciences Center, Perioperative Services, Trauma Services, Imaging Services, Spine Services, and Supply Chain Management.

Class of 2012

Beth Zborowski was recently named Executive Director of Washington Hospital Services.

Class of 2014

Lee Thornhill joined Seattle & King County Public Health Department’s Assessment, Policy Development, and Evaluation (APDE) unit as a Health Reform Evaluator and Social Research Scientist. His primary project is a Public Health Service and Systems Research (PHSSR) study to assess the association of Washington State’s regional health collaborative activities (Accountable Communities of Health) with improved health and criminal justice outcome for adults with complex medical and social needs.  


Share your updates for our Winter Issue. Submit news/updates here

Summer '15

Letter from the Director

Election Results for the MHA Alumni Association

The 2016 Evening for Alumni Event

Connect with Classmates via the Alumni Directory

MHA Faculty Lead Research Site Dedicated to Healthcare Innovation

Job Placements for MHA Grads

Summer Internship Placements

Save the Date: Capstone & Research Opportunities

Faculty & Staff News

Awards & Accolades

Alumni Updates

Upcoming Events

October 8-9, Boston, MA
National CHOT Advisory Board Meeting. Contact Cythnia LeRouge at for more information.

October 19, 5:30-7:30pm Capstone & Research Info. meeting. Contact Suzanne Wood at for more information.

October MHA Student Association Apparel Sale launches

January 14, 2016, 5:30-8pm
Evening for Alumni Event
More information to come

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