Student Profile: Kyle Hunsinger

Master of Health Administration student Kyle Hunsinger wants to leverage his influence as a future healthcare leader to improve the health of patients and communities. “The knowledge that my work contributes to saving lives, rather than just a company’s bottom line, is a lure that I hope never fades,” he said.

May 2021

Master of Health Administration (MHA)

Bachelor of Science (BS), Health Promotion, College of Public Health, University of Georgia

Athens, GA

What attracted you to a degree in health administration?

I felt my bachelor’s degree in health promotion would be inadequate as I move forward in my career. The MHA competencies seemed directly applicable to my future career aspirations. During my time in the patient access department at St. Mary’s Health System, I was able to speak with several of the organization’s current and previous executives, all of which recommended an MHA over an MBA or other graduate degrees because of the mixture of business and healthcare-specific knowledge an MHA provides. I am obtaining an MHA degree to prepare me for future success in hospital management. I feel this degree is providing me with the substantial breadth and depth of knowledge necessary for a prosperous career in the healthcare industry.

What do you find most appealing about a career in hospital management? What impact do you hope to make in this field?

I am drawn to hospital operations because is the intersection between medicine and business. At the hospital, I can be immersed in finance and logistics issues (which I am intrigued by) all day until I am completely drained. Then, I walk down to the Emergency Department or up to an inpatient floor and I feel completely recharged. The energy of a hospital is invigorating. At the end of the day, hospitals are businesses. But, they are in the business of saving lives. The knowledge that my work contributes to saving lives, rather than just a company’s bottom line, is a lure that I hope never fades. Ultimately, I want to apply my public health background to hospital administration. Our national healthcare model promotes quick fixes to chronic conditions after they have already developed. This is expensive, does not promote true wellness, ignores the needs of vulnerable populations, and is unsustainable. In time, I would like to leverage influence as a leader in a healthcare organization to place emphasis on prevention and community health.

What do you consider to be the highlight of your time at the College?

When you spend as many years in Athens I have, there are so many memorable moments. These include big football wins against Notre Dame, Auburn, Oklahoma, etc., walking through the Arch, and watching the graduation ceremony fireworks while saying goodbye to all of the friends I’d made as an undergrad. The biggest highlight of my time in the College of Public Health is split. The first highlight was graduating summa cum laude from the school I had to transfer into because I was not accepted straight from high school. The second highlight is when MHA Program Coordinator Dr. Lesley Clack offered me a full assistantship starting in Spring 2020. I took a large financial coming into the MHA program without funding with the hopes that I could make connections to earn an assistantship so I did not have to rely on student loans. These highlights are some of my proudest moments because both show the power of perseverance and working hard until you get where you want to go.

What activities/achievements/awards during your time here are you most proud of?

I was elected Vice President for the UGA chapters of the American College of Healthcare Executives (ACHE) and the Institute of Healthcare Improvement (IHI). I have also been selected as an MHA ambassador and inducted into the Upsilon Phi Delta Honor Society. I act as the Social Media and Marketing Chair for Upsilon Phi Delta.

What did you do for your internship?

I was supposed to complete an internship in a hospital this summer. That plan was halted by the COVID-19 pandemic as hospitals were minimizing the number of people on site. From October through January, I completed an internship with Piedmont Athens Regional Medical Center as an Administrative Intern, the first the hospital has ever had. My preceptor is Diane Todd, Executive Director of Operations. I completed observatory rotations through each of the departments before being placed on project teams. I deeply enjoyed seeing the daily tasks and responsibilities of various executive-level administrators and all of the operational elements to keep a hospital running. Fortunately, after the completion of my required 300 hours, they decided to keep me on to continue working on projects. The connections and experience I gained within the organization also helped me secure a capstone project with real-world value and applicability. I am working to assess employees’ perceptions of the hospitals’ variance reporting system to improve their likelihood of reporting unsafe conditions and events.

This internship satisfied the two main requirements I had for possible internship opportunities as it provided me will valuable work experience in the setting I aspire to have a career in (large hospital/health system) and helped me gain powerful connections to benefit me in my impending job search.

The pandemic is had a significant effect on my internship experience because I had to complete the internship while taking classes. I am currently juggling my work with Piedmont Athens Regional, an assistantship, a part-time job with the USDA, a full course load, acting as VP for our ACHE and IHI chapters, and trying to have some sort of social life. Regardless, I am very thankful for this internship opportunity and I could not imagine everything working out any better given the circumstances. Dr. Clack’s flexibility, allowing me to spread the internship across both Fall and Spring semesters, was extremely helpful in making this all work.

Have you worked or begun a project outside of school that you might not have otherwise?

This summer, I used my unfortunate free time to complete a Lean Six Sigma Green Belt Certification which I believe will be useful in the future. Lean and Six Sigma are process improvement frameworks to reduce waste and variation in a system. I am hoping to have an essay I wrote for a Comparative Health course published prior to graduation.

What insights have you gained as a public health student?

The level of distrust people have in public health institutions and the lack of education/ ignorance about health topics in government leadership and the general population was very surprising. This distrust is especially visible in the public’s perceptions of the COVID-19 vaccine safety and effectiveness.

What are your plans after graduation?

After graduation, I hope to be hired in a hospital setting in operations. Over time, I hope to climb up to an executive-level position or work in healthcare consulting.

Posted on February 9, 2021.