Master of Healthcare Administration student Tracy Stevenson takes next step in her career

Since graduating with a degree in Public Relations from Appalachian State University in 1991, Master of Health Administration student Tracy Stevenson has spent more than 20 years working in the healthcare supply chain industry. She discovered the field by chance when an entry-level position opened up at a local hospitalnow owned by Atrium Healthand she decided to make a career shift and leave her job in insurance sales.

“I went from a very stressful position at an insurance agency to an entry-level position in supply chain and absolutely loved it. I just found my place to be in healthcare supply chain. Here I am almost 24 years later,” Stevenson said.

Now, with more than two decades of supply chain experience under her belt and after filling almost every role twice, Stevenson has recently been promoted to Assistant Vice President of Supply Chain Operations. Although she has forged her own path in the field and been met with immense success, Stevenson is not done climbing the industry’s ladder, and furthering her education will take her where she needs to go.

Stevenson is currently in her second semester of the college’s new Master of Healthcare Administration (MHA) program, a three-semester program that prepares students to be leaders in the field through coursework covering healthcare policy, law, and ethics; population health management; innovation in healthcare organizations; and human resource planning. She said that pursuing her master’s degree will expand her view of healthcare beyond the world of supply chain and give her the tools to continue taking on more advanced leadership positions in the field for which she is so passionate.

“The degree is going to help me get into that executive space. I have been working at the managerial level for over 10 years, and with this position I’m in now it’s just a step above and is a different type of leadership. I think that this master’s degree is really going to assist me with that,” Stevenson said. “Someone asked me, ‘well, you’re already at this level, why do you want to go get your master’s degree,’ and it’s because I can’t go any further up without the master’s degree.”

In addition to her desire to continue advancing in the field, Stevenson said the decision to pursue a graduate degree was also inspired by her mother, for whom Stevenson was the primary care giver prior to her passing two years ago. She said her mother was a strong advocate for further education throughout Stevenson’s life, and often encouraged her to consider graduate-level programs.

Stevenson said that after her recent promotion she decided it was the perfect opportunity to honor her mother’s passion for education and take a step that would help her achieve her long-term career goals. Although she graduated from App State, Stevenson began her undergraduate career at Lees-McRae. When she heard about the college’s new MHA program and began to learn more about how it would help her take the next step in her career, Stevenson saw it as the perfect opportunity to bring her educational journey full circle.

“I'm really enjoying the classes. I find it interesting that I have a different take on some of the discussion questions than some of my classmates,” she said. “It’s great because I’m leading folks their age and younger on some of my teams, so it’s giving me the perspective of how they think. I’m helping them out with my experience, and they’re helping me out with the way their minds work and how they see things a little differently than how I see it.”

Gaining new perspectives has been one of the most impactful elements of the MHA program for Stevenson, who said it is easy to become ingrained in one point of view after working in an industry for many years. By refreshing her perspective, the MHA program will give her the tools she needs to bridge relationships between supply chain and other sectors of healthcare such as finance and nursing.

From Stevenson’s point of view, continued education is incredibly important for professionals to stay on the cutting edge of their field, particularly in healthcare when new developments and technologies can rapidly change the industry from one day to the next. Stevenson is a huge proponent of continuing education for the employees she leads on her teams, and says she often encourages the members of her teams to take on advanced education opportunities for themselves. Now, through the MHA program, Stevenson is leading by example.

“You just have to be open to learning and doing. Education in healthcare and making the connections between everyone’s role and what they do is so important, and that is what this program is giving me right now,” she said. “If you have the opportunity to pursue higher education, go ahead and take it. You will get the benefit from it, and you will get the knowledge from it as well.”

Learn more about the Online Master of Healthcare Administration at Lees-McRae
By Maya JarrellFebruary 12, 2024
Online LearningAcademics