July 1, 2022 | Erin Bluvas, firstname.lastname@example.org
India-born and Connecticut-raised, Miti Patel has called Columbia, South Carolina home since high school. UofSC was a natural choice for her bachelor’s degree, and the public health major made the most of her time at Carolina.
“Since my undergraduate classes in public health, I have been interested in population health and health education,” Patel says. “I have been volunteering for many years and helping organize blood drives, Walk-A-Thons, and Children’s Health and Safety Days.”
A pediatric externship with Prisma Health Children’s Hospital’s Child Abuse Department introduced the Capstone Scholar to the world of health administration. Continuing her education at the Arnold School through the Department of Health Services Policy and Management’s (HSPM) Master of Health Administration (MHA) program in the city she loved made perfect sense.
“Through my externship, I was able to spend a lot of time with the administrator who inspired me to lead a career that ties my interests in public health and business together,” she says. “The MHA’s curriculum and graduate assistantship opportunities felt like a great way to continue gaining professional experience while still being in school.”
During the first year of her master’s program, Patel worked as a graduate assistant with University Health Services. As a member of the COVID-19 response team, she conducted contact tracing, booked vaccine appointments and managed data. Her second assistantship was with the Physician Network at Lexington Medical Center. In this role, Patel worked on a wide range of topics that enhanced her interpersonal, analytical and public speaking skills.
“My final MHA residency project revolved around reimagining the incoming referrals process for the Lexington Brain and Spine Institute in order to mitigate existing inefficiencies and improve patient experience,” she says. “I was able to craft and recommend several key changes that would simplify the patient intake and referrals process. Overall, the newly recommended interventional pain management pathway was able to improve care coordination while focusing on process improvement and simplification.”
To further develop her knowledge and skills, Patel participated in several national case competitions, completed the South Carolina Leadership and Education in Neurodevelopmental and Related Disabilities Program, joined the American College of Healthcare Executives as a student associate and served as treasurer for the Healthcare Executive Student Association. Through these experiences and her coursework, she developed a passion for creating a healthcare system that is equitable and beneficial for all populations by focusing on addressing health disparities.
After being selected as the HSPM department’s winner of the Susie B. Yates Award, Patel graduated in May of this year. In June she moved to Chapel Hill, North Carolina to begin a one-year postgraduate administrative fellowship at UNC Hospitals with UNC Health.
“Graduate school is a rewarding experience where you can take some time to really figure out where your specific interests reside,” says Patel, reflecting on the past two years. “It is important to remember to step out of your comfort zone and experience new things. You should also focus on connecting with other students and professors. Lastly, graduate school goes by extremely fast, so it is essential to make the most out of the time you have.”