Our Stories

Launching a “Life-Changing” Experience

Hesselrode took the harder road and found rewards via MMHC

Michele Hesselrode
Senior Analyst Business and Strategy, Vanderbilt Transplant Center at VUMC
Director, Physician Outreach and Connections Department, Vanderbilt University Medical Center

Vanderbilt MM Health Care 2013

When she joined the MMHC program, Michele Hesselrode was a physician liaison for Vanderbilt University Medical Center, assisting hospitals and physician practices within VUMC’s growing network of affiliated facilities on matters ranging from contact numbers to patient referrals. 15 years after earning her Bachelor’s degree in health promotion, she was ready for a next-level degree that could move her toward her goal of a “long-term leadership career” at Vanderbilt.

Though the program’s accommodating schedule appealed to her as a working wife and mother with two young children, Michele says she was a little daunted by concerns over whether she’d have enough time to commit to the program.

Looking back now, she says, “it was a life-changing experience for me. It was challenging at times, but I had a great support system.” Learning from professors—and from classmates including neurosurgeons, pharmacists, nurses, business people, and marketing representatives—greatly broadened her perspective on the health care industry.

Since completing the program, Michele has received three promotions at VUMC. In 2015, she applied her health care business skills as senior analyst for business and strategy at the Vanderbilt Transplant Center. Three years later, she took on a role as the principal business and strategy analyst for VUMC’s Section of Surgical Sciences. Then, in early 2020, she became director of the Physician Outreach and Connections Department, managing a team of people in the position she originally held at the Medical Center.

“The [MMHC] program was a tremendous education experience but also a personal growth experience,” Michele says. “I matured as a professional and developed more confidence.”

It was a life-changing experience for me. It was challenging at times, but I had a great support system.