Health Services Administration degree readies Tiffany Askew for health care career
Master's candidate credits BGSU for 'enhancing her leadership ability'
By Bob Cunningham ’18
Tiffany Askew hasn’t always known exactly what to do, but she has always coveted her adaptability as a strength. It’s allowed her to continuously be open to learning, networking and to be mindful of what is and isn’t for her as she goes through the process.
It’s a quality that has served her well as we continue to live through a global pandemic.
Askew is graduating from Bowling Green State University with a Master of Health Services Administration (MHSA) degree within the College of Health and Human Services (HHS) that has prepared professionals for leadership positions in complex, rapidly changing health care and health service organizations.
With real-world internships and coursework taught by faculty and working leaders of health organizations, the program prepares graduates with the business, technological, public health and leadership foundations to lead health services organizations.
“My long-term career goal is to work my way up to a leadership position within a health system that will allow me to address health care inequities,” said Askew, who received a bachelor’s degree in speech and hearing science from Ohio State University. “My primary interests are population health, as well as areas in patient safety and quality as I believe anyone entering a health system should expect to receive high quality care and resources from their community. My goal is to immerse myself in diverse learning experiences that expose me to the vast opportunities provided by a career in health care.”
'Enhanced her leadership ability'
The pandemic opened Askew’s eyes to local health care issues. She served as a COVID-19 contact tracing supervisor and co-authored a manuscript with Dr. Lauren Maziarz about the undergraduate students’ experience during the pandemic that is slated for publication in the College Student Journal.
“As a contact tracing supervisor, I had to adapt quickly to a brand-new role where I was tasked with providing guidance to the employees I supervised and my community with CDC (Centers of Disease Control and Prevention) recommendations,” she said. “This was a unique experience because each week required adjusting to new circumstances as the level of COVID-19 cases continued to change.
“This role enhanced my leadership ability by requiring time management and organization to make sure the contact tracers felt supported in their role to ensure our work could positively impact the BGSU community. It was also valuable for me to connect with my supervisors and coworkers to see how, even in unfamiliar times, a positive difference can be made by having a shared goal, as we were in the fight against COVID-19.
“I had the pleasure of working with Dr. Maziarz on research that examined the impact of COVID-19 on relationships and social interactions of college students as it related to sexual behavior. This was an engaging experience for me to see research come to fruition and know that I played a part in a study that will help in understanding the risks of COVID-19 from a different perspective.”
Askew said BGSU surpassed all of her expectations.
“I am grateful for all the opportunities to grow and learn through education inside and outside of the classroom,” she said. “I'm also blessed to have had the support of my family and network who provided guidance along the way. This has been an exciting journey, and I am looking forward to navigating the health care field, where I'll embrace the change to continue the growth.”
Motivated to serve the community
She said BGSU helped narrow down her career interests.
“Many of the courses I took exposed me to areas of health care that I was unfamiliar with beforehand,” said Askew, who is from Canton, Michigan, and attended Washtenaw International High School in Ypsilanti. “Most of the faculty who I have had the opportunity to engage with have had extensive backgrounds in the health care field and further education. This provided me a network of people to learn and receive advice from who directed my next steps.”
Askew said she appreciated how so many faculty members were generous with their time and guidance.
“I would like to thank Dr. Mary-Jon Ludy, who has helped me tremendously in my final capstone research project and recommended me to receive this recognition,” she said. “I would also like to thank Dr. Maziarz, who I worked under as a graduate research assistant where I had the opportunity to help with many projects and contribute to research that will be moving forward with publication. Lastly, I want to mention Dr. Amanda Cook, who taught one of my favorite courses, health economics, in such a passionate and engaging format. I always enjoyed attending office hours not only to receive feedback on assignments, but to learn more about her own educational experiences and connect through discussing current topics in the health care field.”
“The College of Health and Human Services is very proud of Tiffany Askew’s engagement as she pursued our MHSA degree,” said Dr. Jim Ciesla, dean of HHS. “Given the depth of her commitment to health equity while here at BGSU we think she will have a big impact in this important area as her career unfolds.”
Her MHSA degree already is paying dividends as she has attained the enrichment specialist position through the American Hospital Association (AHA) Institute for Diversity and Health Equity. Askew will assist the physician relations and post-acute care teams in population health programming and their electronic health records database.
“I was drawn to this position because the pandemic has highlighted the health inequities that have contributed to a disproportionate impact on various communities in the fight against the virus,” she said. “Through my studies and work experiences, I’ve come to learn that these health inequities were occurring long before the pandemic began. I am vehemently motivated to be in a position that can serve the community and bridge the gaps in resources to provide support in promoting healthy living.”
Her work with AHA will conclude in the spring, when she will prepare to move to the Pacific Northwest in the summer to begin working as an administrative fellow with PeaceHealth, based in Vancouver, Washington. PeaceHealth is a not-for-profit Catholic health system offering care to communities in Alaska, Oregon and Washington.
This role will allow Askew to receive guidance from senior leadership and work on innovative health care projects within the entire continuum of health care, including hospital operations, in-patient and ambulatory services, health care literacy and delivery, continuous improvement, patient safety, information technology, regulatory compliance, physician partnership and strategic planning.
“It was imperative to me to secure an Administrative Fellowship because the health care field offers a multitude of opportunities and paths to take, so I wanted to take the time to learn about all the possibilities before committing to one area,” she said.