Public Service Spotlight
MPA-Health - 2002
Chief Operating Officer The Child Mind Institute
Tell us about your current public service work. Can you briefly describe your employment organization and position responsibilities, as well as any relevant volunteer or entrepreneurial activities?
As the Chief Operating Officer, I guide the Child Mind Institute’s (CMI) strategic and operational leadership decisions, establishing goals and implementing key initiatives as the organization expands both domestically and internationally. CMI is a nonprofit organization dedicated to transforming mental health care for children everywhere.
My day-to-day management efforts and oversight of all policy and financial matters ensure that the CMI effectively accomplishes its mission to integrate clinical services, research, and educational outreach in child mental health.
I am embarking on my 3rd year with the NYU Wagner Residency Program and have supported those individuals in developing their public administration careers.
Please summarize your professional and academic background. What has been a highlight?
One former role I held was the Director of Research Administration at the NYU Child Study Center. During my tenure, I played a key role in establishing the NYU Child Study Center as the second independent department of child and adolescent psychiatry in the United States. I managed the recruitment, hiring, and promotion of both clinical and research faculty, built a highly effective research administration team, facilitated interdisciplinary research collaborations, managed a $50 million federal and nonfederal grant portfolio, and had oversight of a $10 million annual research budget, including development and sponsored grants.
I was also the administrator of the NYU Child Study Center’s Phyllis Green and Randolph Cowen Institute for Pediatric Neuroscience, where I oversaw the organization and budget.
Prior to joining the NYU Child Study Center, I was the Project Manager in the Department of Planning and Business Initiatives at the NYU School of Medicine. In this role, I developed and managed the Faculty and Physician Recruitment Process, establishing it as an official policy in 2001. As a result, I was able to facilitate the transfer of over 300 faculty members from the Hospital of Joint Diseases to the School of Medicine upon the NYU Hospitals Center merger in 2004.
A graduate of the NYU Robert F. Wagner School of Public Service, I hold a Master of Public Administration and am certified in project management. I received my bachelor’s degree in social ecology from the University of California, Irvine, where I also studied epidemiology and public health.
As former president of the NYU Chapter of the American College of Healthcare Executives, I was the 2004 recipient of the NYU Medical Center Excellence Award, which honors my leadership, compassion, and work performance.
What led you to pursue a master’s degree in Public Administration? Why did you decide to study at Wagner?
I majored in social ecology, and minored in epidemiology and public health at University of California Irvine. While in college and a year after, I worked in consumer banking at Wells Fargo Bank and was given increased responsibilities each year, from teller, to personal banker to business banker. I decided to find a graduate program that would help me combine both healthcare and business, and public administration was the perfect balance. I was finalizing my decision between University of California San Diego and NYU Wagner. NYU Wagner was ranked #1 in healthcare policy and management, had an impressive list of faculty, provided metrics on what to expect after graduation, and presented an opportunity to challenge me with a new experience. As a plus, I received a merit scholarship and was able to visit the school for orientation. I was excited to turn in my acceptance.
In your current position, how do you use the knowledge and skills that you gained at Wagner? Which skills do you use most frequently?
NYU Wagner provided a foundation of healthcare administration core concepts. I completed a dual specialization in the MPA-Health track, with Management and Finance. Both the introduction and the advanced finance classes were the most helpful in gaining skill sets and understanding financial statements, explaining numbers in a meaningful way to make management decision, and projecting yearly budgets for programs and administration.
The management courses provided real-life examples and discussions with various guest speakers, and students with various experiences and levels of career, to adapt the theoretical knowledge gained in the classroom to practical experiences in the field.
Reflecting on your academic experience, what Wagner courses, professors, and / or projects had the greatest influence on your professional development? How?
While I was not pursuing the policy specialization, I found the Introduction to Public Policy by Professor Jonathan Morduch to be a very interesting and insightful class. The challenge of understanding healthcare and political process in the United States as it compares to other countries was helpful in analyzing the ways in which healthcare policies influence managerial decisions in practice.
The Health Services Management course by Professor Anthony Kovner provided case study materials that better explained the realities of difficult decisions and their effect on desired outcomes of health care organizations.
I also appreciated Professor Steven Finkler’s Financial Management for Public, Nonprofit, and Health Organizations. This course strengthened my business background by providing the tools needed to generate financial statements in the GAAP format generally accepted in any industry.
Finally, I took a 2-credit course, Conflict Management and Negotiation, taught by Professor Allen Zerkin, which introduced real skills in analyzing a conflict, understanding interpersonal dynamics, and determining various options of negotiation and resolution. Without a doubt, this course, as short as it was, provided the key elements necessary to negotiate contracts and mediate meetings as needed in the workplace.
Reflecting on your time outside of the classroom (social events, orientations, trainings, etc.), can you describe one or two key moments at Wagner that impacted your passion for public service?
As the President of the American College of Healthcare Executives chapter at NYU Wagner in 2002, I planned and implemented a panel discussion with various experts in the field about careers in healthcare administration. Listening to those experts’ understanding the importance of healthcare in America and the difference that one can make in the field was influential.
In addition, I pursued a NYU Wagner Administrative Residency position at NYU School of Medicine, working in the Dean's Office for Strategic and Program Planning. The experience I received launched my interest and career in operational and strategic planning.
Are there any programs, opportunities or other aspects of the Wagner experience that you wish you had leveraged during your time as a student?
No, my experience at NYU Wagner was very fulfilling.
How are you involved with the Wagner community as an alumna (i.e. attending events, mentoring students, maintaining connections with other alumni, recruiting at Wagner, etc.)?
I continue to be involved with Wagner activities, including being a preceptor for capstone projects, attending David Schachter’s resume review event, reviewing resumes, and providing informational interviews and career advice. In fact, I am embarking on my 3rd year with the NYU Wagner Residency Program and have supported those individuals in developing their public administration careers.