Latia Branch returned to TU Spring 2009 and graduated Spring 2010, earning a Master of Science degree in Health Science, with a concentration in Administration. Since graduating, she was promoted within the company, where she is now a Managed Care Contract Manager for MedStar Health Corporate, South Division. She coordinates language and rate negotiation of payer contracts for the MedStar DC Hospitals, Ancillary Services. She also works with managed care teams to measure, track and monitor utilization, and financial performance of managed care contracts for MedStar’s DC hospitals.
"My educational foundation I gained from TU’s HCMN undergraduate program and Health Science graduate program, has provided me with the fundamentals that I have used to assist with enhancing my skills in leadership, organization, and planning; all which are essential for an effective manager/administrator to possess." She is now seeking certification as a Certified Healthcare Financial Professional (CHFP). She plans to continue her future endeavors within the healthcare industry, so that she can become a future leader and innovator in the healthcare market.
Christopher J. King received his Master’s of Health Science, with a concentration in Community Health, from Towson in 2002. As a healthcare executive and publichealth educator, Christopherhas taught in public schools, managed an assortment of private and federal community health programs, and written more than $15M in award-winning grants for multiple health services organizations. He has also published articles on health disparities, HIV epidemiology, healthcare philanthropy and primary care access.
Christopher currently serves as Assistant Vice President of Community Health for MedStar Health. In this role, he is responsible for providing leadership around a $260M regional community health initiative which is aligned with healthcare reform regulations and new IRS guidelines for healthcare organizations. In this role, Christopher hopes to give back to Towson by providing Health Science graduate students with internship opportunities as well as an ability to partner with his organization on special projects, such as community needs assessments. Christopher continues to further his education as a doctoral student in Health Services Administration at the University of Maryland, where he is investigating how non-traditional chronic disease management programs can decrease healthcare costs and improve the overall health status of vulnerable populations.
Uzoma Nwachinemere (aka Max) was not ready to stop his education after receiving the Health Science Professional Development Award and earning his Master’s in Health Science. Eager to expand his opportunities, Max went on to secure a second Master’s in Management from the University of Maryland. In 2008, Max added to his accumulating expertise with a Doctorate in Management from the Institute for Advanced Studies at Colorado Technical University-Colorado Springs. By virtue of his interest in the hemodialysis work environment and how to achieve better patient and nurse outcomes, Max’s doctoral dissertation dealt with “Hemodialysis Nurses' Work Environment: An assessment of nurses' perception of magnet hospital characteristics." With a strong health science/management background, Max has spent the past four years in ambulatory care. He works for a healthcare firm with facilities across the nation that provide medical treatments to individuals with chronic kidney failure. Max manages overall operations for nursing services and care for six hemodialysis facilities in the Baltimore area. His responsibilities include ensuring safe and therapeutic nursing management of the end stage renal disease patients (ESRD); monitoring compliance with the organization’s policy and procedures in accordance with state and federal regulations for patient care and services (Medicare, OSHA, or other governing agencies); and overseeing all financial operations. As Max describes his experiences, he not only learned from all his degree programs, “It was a lot of fun.”
Melissa De Jesús completed her undergraduate studies in Biological Anthropology and Anatomy at Duke University. As a community health educator with Mobile Medical Care, she educated patients about colorectal cancer and breast cancer. In addition, she assisted patients in obtaining free mammograms and colonoscopies. Her most noteworthy experience was serving as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Uganda. In Uganda, she worked as a community health educator and trainer focused on HIV/AIDS education and life skills development among teachers and students.
In her current role as an HIV Counseling, Testing and Referral Program Monitor, she works with local health departments, community based organizations, and AIDS organizations by providing technical assistance; assisting in program development and improvement; and conducting monthly trainings on the use of an HIV test kit. Working at the AIDS Administration provides a clear perspective of HIV trends in Maryland and the work that needs to be done to reduce new HIV infections.
The Master’s of Health Science program at Towson University was a perfect choice for me in several different respects. The Community Health Education Concentration provides a solid foundation of program design, implementation, and evaluation for community health work. The small classes provide a comfortable space for open discussion and great student-professor interaction. I believe that I learned the fundamentals of Community Health Education which I will need to succeed in my career in international public health. Towson University is in a convenient location and the graduate program is geared toward working professionals, which made it a great choice for me!
Casey Fisher is currently a clinical exercise physiologist in the cardiac rehabilitation department of a local Baltimore hospital. He completed his undergraduate degree in exercise science from Barry University in Miami Shores, Florida. He grew up in Florida and moved to Baltimore two years ago in order to further his career in cardiac rehabilitation. Casey has always had an interest in health care and has worked in the hospital arena in some capacity since he was in high school.
Casey chose Towson University’s Graduate Health Science program because of the curriculum and the available classes for students who are working full time. He began the program in Fall 2008 and feels the course work has contributed to his current occupation and feels it will help him achieve his long term goals. Casey is not sure where his graduate education will take him, but he is passionate about health care reform and eventually he hopes to contribute to successful health care reform initiatives.
Andrew Jones chose Towson University for his post-graduate degree because of the curriculum in the Health Science field. He had completed his undergraduate degree in Healthcare Management at Towson University, and believed that the faculty had a reputation within the industry as leaders who understood the field's changing dynamics. His states his experience throughout the post-graduate program was absolutely wonderful. In particular, he feels the faculty were willing to encourage students to engage their critical thinking skills to better develop themselves both professionally and personally.
He was recently promoted to Vice President of a Continuing Care Retirement Community in the Towson area. He truly believes that the education which he received at Towson University enabled him to make this accomplishments possible. He is proud that he made the right choice by completing his post-graduate studies in the Health Science field and is now reaping the benefits. He states he could not have accomplished his personal goals without his graduate degree from Towson University." I would like to thank all of the staff members who supported me through my educational endeavors. "
Kelly Kesler, MS., CHES chose Towson University for her graduate studies after having supervised an undergraduate student teacher from the Towson Health Science Department. Kelly was so impressed by the student teacher’s preparation, she investigated the University and discovered the graduate programs. Needing a schedule that would be conducive to her life as a wife, mother, educator, and student, Towson offered what she was looking for.
Kelly graduated with her Master’s degree (Community Health Education concentration) in December 2002. She was the recipient of the fall 2002 Graduate Student Professional Development Award. While working on her degree, Kelly maintained a full-time job as a special education and health education teacher in Prince George’s County. She then joined the staff at the University of Maryland Health Center, working on tobacco cessation and prevention programs.
While at the University of Maryland, Kelly was recruited by a fellow Towson alum to join the American Lung Association of Maryland. Kelly served as both the Tobacco Program Specialist and later the Vice President of Program Services for the Association. Currently, Kelly works as the Assistant Director of Health Promotion for the University of Maryland Health Center.
Kelly hopes to continue to use her Master’s degree in the future to begin a not-for-profit patient advocacy organization designed to assist patients and their families as they navigate through medicalsystems and the patient care process.
Lillian McGraw RN BSN has been a registered nurse for almost 30 years, earning her Bachelor’s Degree at the University of Connecticut. Lillian’s nursing career began at the University of Maryland Medical System. Later employed by the Quality Improvement Organization for the State of Maryland, Lillian served as a coordinator whose function was to help improve the quality of health care for Medicare beneficiaries. She also worked for Lifebridge Health as a Performance Improvement Coordinator and assisted Sinai Hospital in obtaining the institution’s initial JCAHO Primary Stroke Center Certification. Lillian is presently employed at The Johns Hopkins Hospital as a Utilization/Clinical Resource Specialist in Payer Management. Among her many tasks, Lillian works closely with health care staff in order to ensure the hospital optimizes the payment it receives for patient services. Having a working knowledge of health care systems as well as an understanding of the payer reimbursement system are essential elements of her job.
Lillian chose Towson University for her post-graduate degree because of the Department’s varied curriculum. She was impressed by the faculty’s knowledge as well as their ability to engage their students. Her classes on health care systems and health care policy provided valuable insight as to how the insurance industry operates. She also feels that, as a function of her coursework, she has a better understanding of payer reimbursement and what drives the Federal government’s health care regulations. Lillian hopes to incorporate what she has learned from the Master’s Program at Towson into her current position at The Johns Hopkins Hospital. Her experiences at Towson increased her knowledge base and afforded opportunities for the practical application of multiple theories. The Master’s Program provided Lillian with hands-on skills that improved her expertise and added to her confidence in pursuing new career opportunities.
Jessica Kugelman is a Certified Child Life Specialist with an undergraduate degree from the University of Akron in child and family development. After graduating in 2003, she joined the staff of the Johns Hopkins Hospital as a Child Life Specialist. In this position, Jessica works with the entire medical team, specifically using play as a tool to help children understand and cope with medical experiences. In addition to training and supervising Child Life Interns and volunteers, Jessica coordinates Reach Out and Read, a literacy program for children 6 months to 5 years of age in the hospital’s Pediatric Primary Care Clinic.
Shortly after moving to Baltimore, Jessica began her graduate studies in health sciences administration. Upon graduation, she plans to continue strengthening her clinical skills while also enhancing administrative capabilities as developed in her master’s studies. In the future, Jessica’s goal is to train and supervise other Child Life Specialists and, over time, implement Child Life Programs in medical centers not served by such expertise.
Cheryl Frazier, RD, LDN, completed her Bachelor of Science degree in human ecology with a concentration in dietetics. Cheryl went on to graduate from the University of Maryland College Park Dietetic Internship. Cheryl's dietetic career began at Maryland General Hospital where she served as the Community Dietitian. Cheryl also worked part-time at Chase Brexton Health Services, in part counseling patients with HIV/AIDS. Cheryl then moved to HCR Manor Care-Heartland at Adelphi Nursing Home where she currently is employed. Cheryl also splits her part-time work experience between Tender Loving Care Home Health Services and Tuerk House, Inc.
In the fall of 2005, Cheryl was selected as the State Professional Recruitment Coordinator for the Maryland Dietetic Association. At that same time, Cheryl began her studies toward a master's degree in health science with a concentration in community health. Cheryl hopes to use her master's degree to gain more knowledge in the field of health science, and to become a more effective dietitian by using newly acquired information and skills to better serve her clients and the community.
Aung Oakkar earned his undergraduate degree in health care management. He now works as part of the Maryland Cancer Registry team. His responsibilities include reviewing and coding data, preparing reports, and training cancer registrars on how to report complete and quality data. An important part of Aung’s job is educating and explaining why the data are needed, as well as increasing awareness of the disease to promote public health.
Aung believes that a master’s in health science will help him remain current in the ever-growing information needs of his profession. He also sees his graduate study as a means to improve his personal management expertise and provide a competitive advantage in advancing his career. When asked why he chose Towson, Aung noted “its convenient location and I love the friendly and highly knowledgeable faculty and staff.”
Meghan McCool’s professional path began with a bachelor’s degree in health care management and a minor in business administration. After working with a medical staffing agency, Meghan decided to pursue other professional interests in a Baltimore area hospital. As a decision support analyst, Meghan is responsible for the integrity of clinical and financial data that are used to cultivate sound business and clinical decision-making throughout the hospital.
Almost immediately after beginning this career path, Meghan decided to start her master’s program in health science with a concentration in administration. Meghan feels that expanding her educational background in this way has enhanced her skills and led to personal as well as professional development. As Meghan commented, “The correlation between my course work and the everyday undertakings in my professional position will be extremely beneficial to my career as a health care professional.”
Nicole Bezelik comes from Crownsville, Md. After earning a Bachelor of Science in biology with a minor in chemistry, Nicole moved to Hawaii. There she became a skills trainer, working with autistic and other developmentally challenged youth. Nicole also volunteered with Americorps as a group home worker, mentoring teenage girls with a history of substance or domestic abuse.
Currently, Nicole is a graduate student in the Department of Health Science with a concentration in community health. Once completing her degree, Nicole plans to become a health educator. Her goal is to work in an international setting where she can be actively engaged in helping communities understand health and implement effective preventative measures. As described by Nicole, her “aspiration [is] to go into medicine with an emphasis on preventative care.”
Michael Bossom is a physical education teacher at Centennial High School in Howard County. Mike graduated from Towson in 1994 with a bachelor's degree in physical education. Married to Teresa, Mike is father to three wonderful children: twin boys, Jonathan and Connor, who are 5, and Brianna who is 1. Mike coaches volleyball and outdoor track at Centennial High School. In addition, Mike finds time to coach a club volleyball team out of Columbia, Md.
As Mike describes his experiences, completing the master's degree in health science has proven to be an exercise in time management. He also says it "has been well worth the time and effort." Mike entered the program to complete credit requirements to maintain his teaching certification. After earning his master's, Mike will be certified to teach both Health and Physical Education.