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YSPH gives health care professional a broader understanding of the landscape

May 06, 2024

Jimmy Riley, MPH ’24 (Health Care Management)

Jimmy Riley arrived at the Yale School of Public Health (YSPH) in September 2022 with a background in hospital administration. His time here has been transformative, broadening both his scope and depth of understanding of the complex healthcare landscape.

Riley said that during his time at Yale, he has developed a richer understanding of the extensive network of organizations that contribute to the delivery of health care outside of the hospital setting. “Understanding the perspectives of these ancillary stakeholders will be crucial to my success as a future healthcare administrator,” he said.

Riley earned his BA in business economics, with a minor in global health studies, in 2022 from UCLA. He also has experience as a project manager at Beth Israel Deaconess Hospital-Plymouth, in his Massachusetts hometown.

Riley said the flexible curriculum at YSPH allowed him to gain the interdisciplinary knowledge and skills he needed to build his career.

“One of the greatest strengths of the YSPH curriculum is its interdisciplinary teaching approach,” he said. “From my management-focused coursework in YSPH and the School of Management (SOM), I developed skills in leadership, process improvement, and change management.”

In addition, Riley said, the public health-focused coursework at YSPH helped him develop a nuanced understanding of the structural mechanisms that contribute to health care disparities and poor nationwide health outcomes.

“Together, these learnings shaped a well-rounded education that prepared me to engage as a true champion of public health,” he said.

Riley’s two most influential professors at YSPH have been Dr. Howard Forman, MD, professor of management and public health (health policy) and director of the health care management (HCM) program; and Mark Schlesinger, professor of public health (health policy).

Forman, Riley said, has been “a tremendous mentor” both inside and outside the classroom. “He is always willing to connect students with his expansive network of leaders [in health care management] and was responsible for coordinating classroom speaker events with some of the most influential leaders I have ever met.”

Riley said Schlesinger’s research in health care policy is highly regarded, and his deep expertise in the field shines in his teaching. “Mark’s course provided the most expansive, in-depth analysis of U.S. health care policy that I have ever experienced,” he said.

The learning process wasn’t confined to the classroom. One of Riley’s most memorable experiences was taking part in the Executive Shadowing Program at Flushing Hospital Medical Center in the Queens borough of New York. This annual day-long event was coordinated by Robert Levine, MPH ’80 (hospital administration), a YSPH alum and the hospital’s executive vice president and COO.

“Being able to get real, boots-on-the-ground exposure to a safety-net hospital and their leadership team was truly inspiring,” Riley said. “It was a terrific opportunity to learn from leaders who serve such a high-need population about the unique challenges that they face daily.”

While he was learning, Riley was also paying it forward. As the HCM departmental liaison, Riley served as a primary point of contact for first-year students, helping to answer questions related to their future academic success. He also served as a network development chair for the American College of Healthcare Executives (ACHE), hosting programming sessions with regional health care leaders and expanding students’ professional networks. In addition, he contributed to the Quality Assurance & Improvement Department at the HAVEN Free Clinic.

He cited his departmental liaison work as his proudest accomplishment at YSPH.

“My goal was to build a sense of community between first- and second-year HCM students and provide accessible support for first-years as needed,” he said. “The early one-on-one interactions that I had with students to support their acclimation to YSPH were some of the highlights of my time here.”

Riley moves on after graduation to SCA Health as an administrative resident, where he will spend a year training with SCA executives in the ambulatory specialty care space. He said he’ll miss Greater New Haven and the community he has built at Yale. He’ll also miss his midday walks with his roommate, Kamali Clora, also MPH ’24 (health care management), as well as his relationships with Forman and Claire Masters, associate director of the Office of HCM Education.

His parting words of wisdom to students are: “Utilize your resources! YSPH offers so many truly valuable resources that can greatly elevate the student experience. These resources can go unused if students do not take initiative to seek them out and engage with them – two years at YSPH flies by, and it is essential to take advantage of these available opportunities.”

Those resources, Riley said, include attending speaker events and connecting with leaders, joining student organizations, taking advantage of conference funding, competing in case competitions … “and take advantage of all of the free food!”

Submitted by Sabrina Lacerda Naia dos Santos on May 06, 2024