By Arial Starks
Dr. Michele Walsh spent more than 20 years in the healthcare industry before deciding to pursue a Master of Management in Health Care (MMHC). After starting her career with a pediatric residency at the Cleveland Clinic in 1997, she’s worn many hats, including director-level roles at the Nashville Fire Department, Vanderbilt University Medical Center, and Monroe Carell Jr. Vanderbilt Children’s Hospital.
After speaking with a few of her colleagues and friends who had already earned MMHC degrees, she knew she wanted a healthcare management degree.
“Being in all of these leadership positions, I wanted more education to aid me in my overall career goals. I wanted to feel like I could sit at the table with everyone else and understand all the different concepts. I wanted to broaden my knowledge base about business, because that’s nothing I studied in all my years of school,” said Walsh.
Some highlights from her MMHC program experience came from guest speakers like Dr. Marty Makary and Warren Beck, who lent their expertise in areas like healthcare management and economics and financial operations. Walsh also notes that, despite entering the program at the beginning of the pandemic, networking and building relationships was a huge part of her experience in the Vanderbilt MMHC program.
“After going through the program, I now have 10-12 close friends and colleagues that I wouldn’t have had before,” says Walsh. “The networking aspect of MMHC is amazing. Building those relationships with my peers helped the academic part of the program, because we could run questions by each other, and it made working in teams easier and more productive. To this day, we still have monthly meetings with one another,” she adds.
Prior to graduation, Walsh was promoted to Associate Chief of Staff at Monroe Carell Jr. Vanderbilt Children’s Hospital, which viewed her pursuit of the Vanderbilt MMHC degree as a major factor in the decision to promote her.
“I was informed that this program is what really solidified (the hospital’s) decision to make me one of the Chiefs of Staff. They (the hospital) told me I was a good candidate before, but knowing that I have this background and would have this (MMHC) degree, is what really led them to say ‘we want you to do this’. They are that impressed with the program, and I think that speaks volumes for the MMHC,” said Walsh.
Click though the timeline below to see a visual of Dr. Michele Walsh’s path to the promotion.