“”Behind every health system challenge, there is a patient story beckoning to be told. How do we create space for dialogue?” MHA Alum Joanne Shum (Class of 2008) shares her experience about how the MHA program helped her arrive to where she is in her career.
Executive Healthcare Management Consultant
MHA Alum, Class of 2008
From a young age, I knew that healthcare was where I wanted to devote my time and service. My career started in cardiac rehabilitation with the Healthy Heart program. The transition to UBC’s MHA program happened organically: I knew I needed to learn more about the connection between clinical and leadership skills. The wide range of topics taught by the Sauder School of Business and Faculty of Medicine challenged me to be curious about the intersection between research, clinical care delivery, and administration.
My excitement and understanding of our health system were firsthand as I worked throughout, giving me direct experiences to implement what I was learning. I changed jobs six times over the two-year program, from research and policy development, to change management.
After the MHA program, I took on roles such as manager for residential services to clinical director of pediatrics at Fraser Health, which spans the 12 hospitals from Burnaby to Boston Bar. These experiences, coupled with the interdisciplinary conversations I had with my MHA cohort, expanded my understanding of how the health system knits together. We all have a place to contribute.
Today, I have my own healthcare management consulting practice. I work with the Ministry of Health and Health Authorities to conceptualize new programs, manage large projects, and evaluate clinical service delivery. The breadth of projects that I have worked on includes COVID-19 vaccine planning for special patient populations, establishing the BC’s Post COVID-19 Interdisciplinary Clinical Care Network, to advancing a new standard of care for patients with rare diseases across Canada.
I credit my fast-moving career to the UBC MHA program. It gave me the foundational knowledge I needed and the courage to ask the difficult questions about our health system while creating a safe space for dialogue. Healthcare management is an ever-evolving industry, and the spectrum of services will continue to grow. The UBC MHA program has served me with knowledge, skills, and a network of colleagues I am blessed to work with daily.