DHA Alumni Spotlights

Kevin Belanger, DHA

Kevin Belanger 

2018 Alumni

President /CEO, Shepeard
Community Blood Center

Dr. Kevin Belanger joined the Army in the mid 1980's and became a Combat Medic serving in the 10th Mountain Light Infantry Division. In 1989, he was commissioned in the Medical Service Corps specializing in Laboratory Management. Dr. Belanger served for 20 years in the Army occupying many positions such as Korean Joint Blood Program Officer, Laboratory Manager, Combat Developer, Instructor, Commander of the 440th Blood Detachment, and Chief Blood Services at Eisenhower Army Medical Center. After retirement in 2008, he assumed his current position as President/CEO of Shepeard Community Blood Center in Augusta, GA. Dr. Belanger also holds board certifications as a Medical Technologist, Specialist in Blood Banking, and Six Sigma Black Belt.

Pursuing a DHA degree was important to me for several reasons. First, it was important for me to gain knowledge of the United States Healthcare system in general and what obstacles we face as a nation. Second, I needed to enhance my knowledge base so I could communicate effectively to Hospital Executives. And finally, it was important to network with other healthcare professionals and learn from them what they see as the future of healthcare.

Supply Effects of Implementing Donor Interval Strategies to Prevent Iron Deficiency in Blood Donors


Dayle Benson, DHA

Dayle Benson

2017 Alumni

Chief of Staff and Executive Director,
University of Utah Health Sciences

Dr. Dayle Benson is the chief of staff of clinical affairs, and the executive director of the University of Utah Medical Group-a group of over 1,500 providers practicing throughout the Intermountain West. In her Chief of Staff role, Dr. Benson facilitates clinical partnerships, explores new care delivery models, evaluates workforce needs, sponsors clinical innovations, and assists with communicating clinical vision and strategy. She actively develops and mentors physician and clinician leadership to partner with others in the health system in achieving strategic objectives. As executive director, Dr. Benson leads a physician-driven organization focused on the health system's clinical and business operations, manages contracting and payer relations, provides advanced data analytics, plans workforce needs, and develops population health strategies. Under her leadership, the Medical Group has doubled its clinical revenue and achieved best practice performance in finance, operations, and quality health care delivery.

You're never too old, too wise, too broke or too busy to learn. Surround yourself with diverse people, perspectives, and ideas, which will help you become a better person, and leader. The DHA program offered an opportunity to refresh on healthcare topics; and more importantly, offered a forum for sharing leadership strengths, weaknesses, and opportunities in a friendly forum. Many of the lessons that I learned came from hearing my classmates’ stories, and how they chose to handle situations. Learning is a team sport. Beyoncé wasn't built in a day, and neither are exceptional leaders!

A Quantitative Review of Costs: Heart Failure Patients Before and After Implementation of an Integrated Practice Unit Model at University of Utah Health


Anthony B. Coleman, DHA

Anthony B Coleman

2018 Alumni

Assistant Administrator, Fontana and
Ontario Medical Centers, Kaiser Permanente

Dr. Tony Coleman is Assistant Hospital Administrator of Kaiser Foundation Hospitals, Inc. Fontana and Ontario Medical Centers in San Bernardino County, California, 314 licensed bed tertiary and 186 licensed bed acute care hospitals serving the high desert an Inland Empire at large. He currently leads 800+ FTE's in multi-campus tertiary and acute care hospital operations support responsibility and accountability of 500 licensed beds, including birth, medical / surgical, intensive care, cardiovascular intensive care, mental health, emergency services, pediatrics / NICU and more. In his current role, Dr. Coleman oversees all support services, including facilities operations (3 central utility plants) and construction ($90 million annual project base), food and nutrition services, housekeeping, supply chain, safety, clinical technology, telecommunications, security and parking services, and property management. Prior to his current role, he served in the U.S. Navy as hospital Chief Financial Officer, Director of Human Resources, Patient Administration Officer, Ambulatory Care Clinic Administrative Officer and nuclear-powered aircraft carrier medical department operations officer. Dr. Coleman earned his MHA from the Medical University of South Carolina and he is a member of several national healthcare organizations, including the American College of Healthcare Executives, and the National Association of Health Services Executives (past national treasurer). He is a proud Navy veteran with 20 years of active commissioned and enlisted service.

I pursued a DHA degree to follow my passion of eliminating health disparities after realizing the poor access to quality health care that rural minorities face. A DHA degree has equipped me to specifically address these risks through research that supports sustainable health policy and can ensure a permanent solution to health disparities not just in rural African American communities, but in every community, that faces a health disparity.

Radical Differences in Hypertension Claims Rates for Medicaid Patients: Has It Changed Since 1991?


Kinneil Coltman, DHA

Kinneil Coltman

2012 Alumni

Vice President, Chief
Diversity Officer, Atrium Health

Dr. Kinneil Coltman is the Vice President, Chief Diversity Officer for Atrium Health, where she is responsible for leading the organization's diversity and inclusion strategy and developing a health equity agenda alongside physician leadership. With over 62,000 teammates and 12 million patient interactions each year, Atrium Health is one of the leading healthcare organizations in the Southeast and one of the most comprehensive, not-for-profit systems in the country. Prior to her appointment at Atrium Health, Dr. Coltman held dual appointments as Chief Diversity Officer for Greenville Health System-now known as Prisma Health-and the University of South Carolina School of Medicine Greenville. Dr. Coltman holds a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from the University of North Carolina at Asheville, a Masters in Cross Cultural Studies from the University of Houston - Clear Lake, and a Doctor of Health Administration from the Medical University of South Carolina. Dr. Coltman is a 2006-2007 Fellow in the Health Research and Educational Trust's Cross Cultural Leadership Fellowship, sponsored by the American Hospital Association. Her research interests include diversity in leadership and interventions to promote equity within healthcare systems, and she has lectured across the United States on these topics.

In your doctoral education, you are learning a lot of seemingly different things at warp speed. At some point along the way, though, there is this magical moment in which all the disparate pieces of your education suddenly fit together. In essence, you begin to see health care administration from every angle and perspective. You learn to understand the big picture.

The Impact of Minority and Women Leaders on Healthcare Employee Satisfaction


Stefanie Corbett, DHA

Stefanie Corbett

2015 Alumni

Consulting Firm Owner, Corbett Healthcare Solutions LLC
Department Chair& Assistant Professor, Limestone College

Dr. Stefanie Corbett is a healthcare educator, consultant, and author. She has a special affinity for seniors, and has devoted her professional career to advocating for and advancing the quality of healthcare for the older adult population. Dr. Corbett held various senior leadership roles in public and private organizations before founding a healthcare consulting firm in 2014, Corbett Healthcare Solutions, to assist post-acute care organizations with regulatory compliance and operations management. As Department Chair and Assistant Professor, she leads the Health Care Administration and Human Resources Department at Limestone College, where she wrote the curriculum and designed the courses for the Master of Business Administration - Health Care Administration Concentration. She previously served as the Deputy Director of Health Regulation for the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control, where she was responsible for enforcing regulatory compliance at 6,000+ licensed facilities/agencies across the state, overseeing the certification and licensing teams, monitoring major policy issues at the state/federal levels, leading the promulgation of state regulations, and providing guidance to various healthcare stakeholders. Dr. Corbett obtained a DHA from the Medical University of South Carolina, an MHA from University of South Carolina-Columbia, and a BA from University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill. She is the author of Long-Term Care Quality Measures: A Guide to Data Analysis, Performance Improvement, and Public Reporting as well as The Theft Prevention Guide for Senior, and the co-author of The Long-Term Care Compliance Toolkit. Dr. Corbett is also an active member of several professional associations and community service organizations.

The DHA degree allowed me to be a competitive applicant for senior management positions in both operations and academia. I learned how to synthesize and analyze data, and use it for decision-making, which opened doors for additional research-based job opportunities. The DHA also offered great professional networks with healthcare leaders, other students in my cohort, and faculty with field and teaching experience. I made life-long relationships that I have maintained since graduation.

Does It Pay to Make the Grade? The Association Between Quality and Financial Performance in Nursing Homes


George G. Couch, DHA, FACHE 

George Couch

2017 Alumni

Program Director, Healthcare
Management, Gannon University

Dr. George Couch is Program Director of Healthcare Management graduate and undergraduate programs and a faculty member Gannon University's Dahlkemper School of Business. He received his Doctorate in Healthcare Administration from the Medical University of South Carolina in 2017. Dr. Couch obtained his Master's in Business Administration from West Virginia University and his Bachelor of Arts in Interdisciplinary Studies at Bethany College, West Virginia. His professional background includes: Chief Executive Officer of Wetzel County Hospital, New Martinsville, West Virginia; President and Chief Executive Officer of Ohio Valley Health Services and Education Corporation in Wheeling, West Virginia; Vice President of Wheeling Hospital, Wheeling, West Virginia; and he was the owner and Administrator of New Martinsville Health Care Center, New Martinsville, West Virginia. Dr. Couch is a Fellow of the American College of Health Care Executives; a member of the Health Care Financial Management Association and Licensed Nursing Home Administrator. He was a guest lecturer in Health Care Administration at West Liberty University, has consulted to hospitals and healthcare organizations, and owns and operates GeoEquity, Inc. a commercial real estate development and investment company. Dr. Couch is a Rotary Paul Harris Fellow; former Chair of the West Liberty University Board of Governors; Past President of the West Virginia Health Care Association; past member of the West Virginia Hospital Association Board of Trustees; and has received numerous awards for community service and leadership.

I was the first member of both sides of my family to earn a bachelor’s degree, and then a master’s degree. I also wanted to be the first to obtain my doctorate. By achieving my DHA at MUSC, I accomplished an important personal goal while working toward a professional goal. This degree has allowed me to move into academia not only teaching, but starting both an undergraduate and graduate program in healthcare administration at Gannon University. My DHA, combined with my 30+ years of healthcare management experience, has given me the knowledge and skills to prepare students to become our next generation of healthcare leaders.

The Financial Health of Hospitals: Critical Access and Rural Hospitals in West Virginia


David H. Freed, DHA, FACHE

David Freed

2009 Alumni

Senior Director, Administrative Services,
New York University Student Health Center

Dr. David Freed is Senior Director, Administrative Services, for New York University Student Health Center, which offers comprehensive health and wellness services for more than 50,000 students around the world. His previous healthcare career focused on difficult hospital turnarounds and under his leadership several hospitals improved their financial performance, built distinctive clinical programs, and successfully pursued the system relationships, patient satisfaction, financial, and clinical performance improvement strategies required for sustained success. His experience includes positions as Deputy Commissioner of Hospitals, County of Rockland, NY; President & CEO, Nyack Hospital, Nyack, NY; President, Overlook Hospital, Summit, NJ; Vice President & Associate Hospital Director, Hahnemann University & Hospital, Philadelphia, PA; and Vice President & Associate Hospital Director, The Mount Sinai Medical Center, New York, NY. He has degrees from the Medical University of South Carolina (Doctor of Health Administration), New York University (MS Health Services Management and MBA), and Cornell University (BS Hotel Administration). Dr. Freed is a Fellow of the NY Academy of Medicine; a Fellow of the American College of Healthcare Executives; the author of more than fifty professional publications; a healthcare project reviewer and subject matter expert for Southern New Hampshire University; and an active participant in diverse professional activities including the Editorial Board of The Health Care Manager and the Board of Trustees of New Bridge Medical Center.

There is a direct correlation between how little I wanted to study certain subjects and how incredibly valuable they have proven to be in the workplace and in life! I've yet to meet the student who is not anxious to take a statistics course, but I am a different person as the result of doing so. I now see bell curves everywhere I go, and I can view important decisions along a continuum of probable outcomes. The increased array of possibilities has afforded me a genuinely more expansive outlook at work and at home alike. So have confidence that every subject is in the DHA curriculum for a good reason and take full advantage now of an extraordinary opportunity to expand your viewpoint later.

Preferences for Gender of Surgeon Among Women with Breast Cancer

MAJ Ryan Garrison, DHA                       

Ryan Garrison

2017 Alumni

Commander, United States Air Force

Major (Dr.) Ryan Garrison is the Clinical Laboratory Flight Commander at the 6th Medical Support Squadron (MDSS), MacDill Air Force Base (AFB), Florida. He leads the Air Force's largest clinic lab flight with a 30-person team responsible for supporting two wings, United States Central Command and United States Special Operations Command with overall support for 12,000 joint service and coalition personnel and 215,000 beneficiaries. He also serves as the 6 Medical Group's Trusted Care Champion. MAJ Garrison received his bachelor's degree from the University of Kansas and his doctorate from the Medical University of South Carolina. After working in the private sector performing molecular pathology and genetics testing, he received a direct commission and has served on active duty since April 2010. His previous assignments include Flight Command of the Clinical Laboratory and Diagnostic Imaging at the 23d MDSS, Moody Air Force Base AFB, Ga. and Ramstein Air Base (AB), Germany, where he provided the United States Air Forces in Europe's sole Critical Care Air Transport Team (CCATT) College of American Pathologists (CAP) accreditation and proficiency testing program which facilitates aeromedical evacuation care for three Combatant Commands. MAJ Garrison has also served as Chief Infection Control Officer.

The DHA degree vastly expanded my knowledge base of healthcare especially in the focus areas of policy, interdisciplinary studies and leadership with an emphasis on evidence-based practices. This program has paved the way for me to widen my scope of influence among my leaders, peers, and staff in an effort to continuously improve processes and foster a culture of safety that is built on patient-centric team work.

Designing a Standard MRSA Screening Protocol for Air Force Inpatient Facilities: A Comprehensive Summative Content Analysis

Adam Higman, DHA, FACHE

Adam Higman

2016 Alumni

Partner, Strategic Consulting
Press Ganey

Dr. Adam Higman brings extensive management and consulting experience to his role as Partner at Press Ganey, having worked with more than 75 hospitals and health systems ranging from critical access hospitals to large academic facilities throughout the United States. Dr. Higman joined Press Ganey in July 2017, through Soyring Consulting, where he served as an executive vice president. In addition to leading a number of large-scale redesign projects requiring strategic planning, market analysis, facilities planning and activation and volume projection and feasibility studies, he has conducted assessments and overseen implementations focusing on quality, operational efficiency and growth planning for areas including clinical, diagnostic and support services; care management; and interventional services. Dr. Higman also has analyzed staffing, redesigned scheduling and coordinated implementation efforts with medical, clinical and support staff members; has extensive experience in vendor management and in standardization of supplies, contracts and system controls; and has led a number of model-of-care redesign projects to improve operational efficiency and lower labor costs. Prior to his work at Soyring Consulting, Dr. Higman worked for a full-service strategic health and science communications agency advising health systems, advocacy groups, pharmaceutical and medical device companies. He holds a master's degree in media management from Syracuse University's Newhouse School and a Doctor of Health Administration from the Medical University of South Carolina and is a Fellow of the American College of Healthcare Executives (FACHE).

Having worked in healthcare for a while, I did not have any specific education tailored to healthcare specifically and noticed an increasing number of executives from Academic Medical Centers and large health systems with doctoral degrees even if they did not have a clinical background. I pursued the degree to help round out my knowledge of health system management and administration. The degree has been a great asset in my new role working with hospitals throughout the country.

Survey Deficiency Data as a Quality Measure for HOPDs and ASCs in Florida


Larry E. Leaming, DHA, FACHE

Larry Leaming

2007 Alumni

CEO, Estes Park Health

Dr. Larry Leaming is the Chief Executive Officer for Estes Park Health in Estes Park, Colorado. He is an experienced healthcare executive with more than 30 years as the Chief Executive Officer of rural hospitals in Nebraska, New Mexico, and Colorado. He is a Registered Respiratory Therapist who has risen from the ranks as a staff therapist to supervisor, department director, vice president, and CEO. Dr. Leaming holds a master's degree in Health Administration from Central Michigan University and a Doctoral Degree in Health Administration from the Medical University of South Carolina. He is a Board-Certified Healthcare Executive and Fellow with the American College of Healthcare Executives. Dr. Leaming lives in Estes Park, Colorado with his wife Linda. Their three children and two grandchildren also live in Colorado nearby. Dr. Leaming is also an instructor in health administration with faculty appointments at the Medical University of South Carolina and the University of Northern Colorado, Monfort School of Business.

I have had the honor of teaching the first Leadership course to incoming DHA students for the past five years. During this course I get to know the incoming students and talk to them about their concerns and questions about the program. My best advice is: 1. Talk to your family about the challenges of this journey. They are in this with you and are key to your success. They can help you to find the balance you will need between work, school, and your home life. 2. Make a conscious effort to find the discipline you will need in your life to complete the program. Use whatever means you are comfortable with, but schedule your work time, school time, and family time carefully. Your success will be dependent upon your ability to stay on task and on time. 3. Work closely with your cohort. You are not on this journey alone. I learned as much, or more, from the other members of my cohort and when I need help or an encouraging word, we were all there for each other. Members of my cohort are very close friends 11 years later.

Barriers to Physician Adoption of Telemedicine and Best Practices for Overcoming These Barriers


Gail Marcus, DHA

Gail Marcus

2018 Alumni

Assistant Dean & Assistant Professor, MCPHS University

Dr. Gail Marcus is an Assistant Dean of Healthcare Business and Administrative Sciences at Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences (MCPHS) University. She oversees a diverse set of undergraduate and graduate degree programs in Global Healthcare, Bioinformatics, Healthcare Management, Pharmacoeconomics and Regulatory Affairs, and Health Policy. Prior to academia, Dr. Marcus spent 30 years in leadership roles across a diverse portfolio of healthcare organizations in the US and UK, including CIGNA, United Healthcare, CVS/Caremark, and Caris Diagnostics. She holds a DHA from the Medical University of South Carolina, MBA in Finance from The Wharton School, MSE in Information Sciences from the University of Pennsylvania, and a BA in Mathematics and Spanish from Wesleyan University. Dr. Marcus serves on the diagnostic testing advisory panel for CMS and is on the board of two public companies, Natera (NTRA) a molecular diagnostic company and Triple S Management (GTS), the Blue Cross/Blue Shield affiliate in Puerto Rico.

The DHA degree allowed me to pursue an academic teaching career after a successful business career. The terminal degree allowed me to obtain a promotion to Assistant Dean. Our cohort of students was fabulous and gave me the opportunity to interact with an outstanding group of individuals from a wide range of backgrounds

For incoming students, I encourage them to get to know their classmates and professors as the relationships you form are one of the best parts of this program. I was initially concerned about doing a thesis, but the research was interesting and the support from my Committee allowed me to be successful. In fact, my doctoral project work was accepted as a poster presentation at the 2018 American Public Health Association national conference.

Diffusion of Healthcare Policy Innovation Across the States: A Case Study of the Diffusion of Dense Breast Screening Legislation and the Influence of Patient Advocacy Groups


John F. Tejeda, DHA

John Tejeda

2018 Alumni

Director Global Indication Expansion and Sustaining Clinical programs Transcatheter Heart Valves, Edwards Lifesciences

Dr. John Tejeda is a result-focused Executive Healthcare Administrator with over 20 years of experience in acute care management, sales, market development, clinical education, clinical research, strategic planning, and operations management. He is a highly motivated executive leader with a Masters in Physician Assistant Studies and a Doctorate in Healthcare Administration and Leadership. Dr. Tejeda has provided operational leadership as System Director of a Physician Assistant Department overseeing 200 plus advance practice providers implementing strategies reducing costs and increasing revenues more than $3M annually. He has worked in partnership with Physician Networks and Industry throughout his career, teaching the latest cutting-edge technology in Cardiac Surgery and Electrophysiology. Dr. Tejeda is currently seeking an executive leadership position as VP of Operations, VP of Clinical or Medical Affairs, President of a Business Unit, Associate Dean of Health Sciences, or Chief Operations Officer.

I pursued the DHA degree because graduates of the DHA program will be prepared to assume leadership roles in academe and practice. They will work as faculty members in health-related educational programs, as health system leaders facilitating team building and interprofessional collaboration, and as policy advisors and advocates.

Do Costs in a Published Markov Model Reflect Medicare Payments for Patients With Non-Valvular Atrial Fibrillation


George Vass, PharmD, DHA, FACHE

George Vass

2018 Alumni

Associate Director, Policy & Reimbursement Strategy, AbbVie

Dr. George Vass is a Fellow of the American College of Healthcare Executives and is a Board-Certified Pharmacotherapy Specialist who has hands on knowledge of the 340B program, prescription insurance adjudication, and pharmaceutical supply chain management. He is an expert in developing medication usage guidelines for effectiveness and cost containment. Currently, Dr. Vass is the Associate Director of Policy and Reimbursement Strategy at AbbVie, a global biopharmaceutical company. In this role, he provides in-depth analysis of both proposed and enacted health policy and reimbursement changes. Additionally, he develops and provides marketing resources focused on health policy, reimbursement, quality improvement, and patient advocacy. Previously, Dr. Vass was the Associate Director of Rush University specialty pharmacy, a role which included obtaining both URAC and ACHC specialty pharmacy accreditation as well as expanding the business with significant growth. Dr. Vass received his Doctor of Health Administration from the Medical University of South Carolina. He has an MBA in Healthcare Management from Loyola University of Chicago and a Doctor of Pharmacy from the University of Illinois at Chicago.

The DHA degree was extremely useful for my care progression in transitioning from a health provider based environment to a pharmaceutical manufacturer role focusing on population health and health policy.

PCSK9 Inhibitor Uptake Trends By Insurance Payers At Six Months Post FDA Approval


Sabrina Wood, DHA

Sabrina Wood

2018 Alumni

Strategist / Owner,
Compassionate Strategies

Dr. Sabrina Wood completed her Doctorate in Health Administration at the Medical University of South Carolina. She pursed her doctorate to achieve a childhood dream of improving women's maternity health and rights. Her research centered around access to birthing centers and the barriers associated with health insurance policies and billing procedures. Her passion to support maternity care providers stems from her desire to ensure that all women have access to maternity care services that support their desired birth experience. She found her passion in this field several years ago when she and her husband began planning to have a baby and ran into obstacles for having the birth plan and experience that they wanted. Her personal passion led her to spend two years researching this topic and surveying experts, American Association of Birthing Center members. Most recently, Dr. Wood launched Compassionate Strategies. Using the skills she acquired from over 10 years of Healthcare Leadership experience, she developed a simple program to re-energize and increase revenue for maternity care providers. She supports maternity care providers by helping them restore their passion for service in this field and design simple executable strategies to increase their company profit.

I pursued a childhood dream that allowed me to establish a foundation to accomplish what I always hoped I would. Since I was 8yrs old, I knew that I wanted to impact maternity care. However, I also knew that I didn't want to become a medical doctor or nurse. I realized that there is a need for practitioners to receive help from business minded, yet compassionate healthcare leaders. Completing my degree allowed me to be that person for providers. I am able to support practices with practical strategies to increase their revenue while providing access to care for low income/no income families. I also support the provider to implement simple strategies to avoid burnout for themselves and their team. I am so grateful for the education that received from MUSC. My education gave me the confidence to pursue my dreams and live with purpose.

Access to Birthing Centers and the Barriers to Associated Health Insurance Policies and Billing Procedures