An aspiring entrepreneur and dedicated EMT, Tru Patel is pursuing a Master of Health Administration degree in order to gain the tools he needs to launch and manage a health company focused on improving community emergency medical care.
“The healthcare field is evolving in front of our eyes,” he said. “Technology and AI will soon be used in more ways than we can imagine. It will be interesting and critical that as the times change, so do policies, management strategies, and the overall delivery of care as well.”
Master of Health Administration
B.S. in Health Promotion, Minor in Health Policy & Management, College of Public Health, University of Georgia
What is your academic/professional background?
Originally from West Texas, I completed high school in Columbus, GA. I earned my B.S. in Health Promotion with a minor in Health Policy and Management in 2022 from UGA, and am now a second-year Master of Healthcare Administration student at UGA as well. In addition to my academic training, I have been able to cultivate extensive expertise in the EMS field. This has included over 5 years of dedicated service as an advanced emergency medical technician, coupled with 4 years of immersion in various healthcare operations and business development roles.
Why did you choose to pursue a Master of Health Administration degree? Why UGA?
Working as an advanced emergency medical technician has been a fulfilling career. However, I’d come to realize that my ability to make a meaningful impact on the community was constrained by the limits of my immediate resources and personal efforts.
In recognition of the need to enhance my foundational knowledge in healthcare operations and management, I decided to pursue an MHA degree. This educational path promises to provide valuable insights into the intricacies of the healthcare industry, thereby equipping me with the skills necessary to successfully launch and manage a healthcare-related business. Such an endeavor would not only enable me to empower others to provide high-quality care but also expand the scope of our community impact exponentially.
The University of Georgia’s exceptional standards of academic excellence made it an ideal place for me to further my studies. In addition, I found the synergy between Athens-Clarke County and UGA fosters an environment where achieving a balance between work or school and personal life is not only feasible but also encouraged. In Athens, there are ample opportunities for both personal and professional growth, reflecting a perfect blend of high expectations in academic and career pursuits and the enjoyment of a joyful personal life.
What particular area/field of public health/health administration are you passionate about?
I am particularly focused on business development, operations, emergency medicine, and healthcare entrepreneurship.
What did you do for your internship? Why did you pursue this internship? What did you learn? What was your biggest challenge?
Last summer, I had the privilege of interning with ApolloMD, a physician and APC owned multispecialty practice based in Atlanta, where I worked closely with their healthcare operations team. My decision to pursue this internship was rooted in the alignment of my personal beliefs and values with ApolloMD’s powerful vision statement: “Healthy clinicians. Healthy patients. Healthy communities.” In addition to this, I was also able to contribute to the healthcare industry at a global level as ApolloMD partners with multiple health systems.
In my role at ApolloMD, I advised global client projects in 13 states through metric, data, and financial analyses and interpretations, as well as formulated strategic recommendations to assist in business, clinical, and operational efficiency across 26 states.
I also helped improve hospital functions by providing operational support and creating resources used by 3,000+ employees and was given the opportunity spearhead stakeholder interviews and assist in action plan development and implementation for ApolloMD’s 100+ clients.
What set this internship apart was the unique opportunity it afforded me to gain insights into various departments through diverse client partnerships, an experience that very few internships can offer. Notably, my journey with ApolloMD didn’t conclude with my internship; I was welcomed aboard as a part-time employee, a role in which I continue to grow and learn each day.
One profound lesson I’ve gleaned from my time at ApolloMD is the indispensable nature of collaboration among all departments. It’s become evident to me that a well-developed work environment and culture are essential ingredients in the successful delivery of high-quality care.
What do you consider to be the highlight of your time at the College?
The highlight of my time at the College of Public Health was being part of a startup healthcare company that is now a leading service provider in the Athens-Clarke County community and surrounding area. The company has grown from treating four patients a day in 2021 to treating up to 50 patients a day as of 2023.
Do you have any volunteer experiences that were especially meaningful?
During my time at UGA, I volunteered with Campus Kitchen where I was progressively able to take on more responsibilities and make an impact on the local community and those that were dealing with food insecurity. From a young age, my parents shared the lesson that food is not merely a means of living but also a medium through which we express appreciation, care, compassion, and the inherent value of every individual. Being able to witness the positive impact that a nourishing meal can have on someone’s life and having the opportunity to aid those in need was a rewarding experience that I will cherish for a lifetime.
What achievements are you most proud of?
While at Campus Kitchen, my team and I were able to obtain a food trailer to use for a new community program that would later be implemented to serve the ACC area. It was a great process to be a part of including helping to write the grant proposal, collaborating on the trailer design, hosting engagement events, stocking the trailer, and more.
Do you have any extracurricular interests that you enjoy?
I like to spend time with my friends where we usually watch sports, explore new attractions, or play basketball.
What insights have you gained a public health/health administration student?
The healthcare field is evolving in front of our eyes. Technology and AI will soon be used in more ways than we can imagine. It will be interesting and critical that as the times change, so do policies, management strategies, and the overall delivery of care as well.
What are your plans beyond graduation?
After graduation, I plan to pursue a career in EMS management or consulting for several years and then start an ambulance service of my own, one inspired upon the strong values, principles, and expectations I uphold.
Posted October 5, 2023.