Our Stories

Getting Beyond Trial and Error

Physician manager learns to manage ‘smoother’

Josepha Cheong
Assistant Chief of Psychiatry at VHA Tennessee Valley Healthcare System / Nashville VA Medical Center
Professor at University of Florida School of Medicine

Vanderbilt Executive Education 2014

Dr. Josepha Cheong has been very successful in the world of academic medicine. A faculty member at the University of Florida’s medical school, Dr. Cheong also serves in clinical and managerial roles with the Veterans Administration Health System.

Over the past 15 years, Dr. Cheong found herself promoted into positions requiring more and more skills in administration and management — but without any formal education and training in these areas. “I felt that I was lacking any depth of understanding of the skills and principles needed to be an effective leader and supervisor,” she says.

Dr. Cheong — who in her other life is a “tour and performance photographer” (Brooks & Dunn, Z.Z. Top and Crosby, Stills & Nash are among the artists she’s been hired to shoot) — considered an MBA. But at this point in her career, returning to school for two years simply wasn’t practical. As an alternative, she concluded that the Vanderbilt EDI “offered a great balance between flexibility of schedule, essential topics, and cost.”

Though she initially was a little skeptical about the benefits of the program, Dr. Cheong now counts herself as a believer. “The courses provided me with a better framework to understand what I had previously been doing on a trial-and-error basis, caught in a constant struggle between micromanaging, frustration and the chaos of a near disaster,” she says.

“My daily administrative practice began to become smoother. The experience has given me more confidence in my ability to manage different administrative issues that previously would have frustrated me or caused me to avoid taking on a challenge.”