Master of Health Administration

MHA In Focus: Darren Deoraj '14

Tell us about your current position.

While going to school full-time, I also worked full-time in academic administration as the business coordinator for the Department of Medical Education at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, which is a part of the Mount Sinai Health System. After graduating from the Hofstra MHA program, I received a job offer for a new full-time position as the Assistant Director for the Department of Medicine at Gouverneur Health, an ambulatory care center and skilled nursing facility that is part of the NYC Health and Hospitals Corporation. In my new role, I am an administrator for the Department of Medicine, managing the department and working with clinical and non-clinical staff to meet the primary-care medicine needs of the Lower East Side and NYC patient population -- while striving to achieve the mission, vision, and values of Gouverneur Health and NYC Health and Hospitals Corporation, which is to provide quality, comprehensive, affordable healthcare to all New Yorkers no matter the ability to pay or language barriers.

What's been the value of the Hofstra MHA degree in your career?

As a Hofstra MHA graduate, my degree and experience from the program have been vital to my growth within health care management. The network created and fostered at Hofstra is even more enhanced because of the Future Healthcare Leaders graduate student organization and the fact that the school is a part of the Higher Education Network for the ACHE NY chapter, HLNY. It was due to the network I built through the Hofstra MHA program, the resources provided, the Future Healthcare Leaders graduate student organization exposure, the knowledge of my professors, and the program director's unwavering support, that I was able to rise quickly in my health management career and be successful. The MHA program at Hofstra created an environment that fostered higher learning, problem solving, and truly value-based practical education that was applicable to both the current and future landscapes of the healthcare market.

Why did you choose Hofstra's MHA program?

I chose this program for a few reasons that were important to my career outlook. I chose an MHA program over an MBA, MPA, or MPH because the MHA is a well-rounded compilation of all elements of the past, present and future in the healthcare industry. Its focus on the business, policy, metrics, models, and history of healthcare provided a higher value for my education. My deciding factor for choosing the Hofstra MHA program was the curriculum, but more importantly the professors. This program is being taught solely by current healthcare leaders who have real world experience, a benefit that is priceless. Being able to learn theory and then discuss application in real time is incredibly beneficial for students venturing into the ever-changing and complex field of healthcare.

What internships did you do as a MHA student?

As a MHA student, I participated in a joint capstone and internship course. The purpose of this joint curriculum was to gain not just the academic enrichment but also the hands-on practice in in project management, process improvement, and operations management. My capstone/internship group had the opportunity to make recommendations that would help redesign the North Shore Long Island Jewish Medical Center ambulatory care unit, making it more efficient and effective in meeting the needs of its patient population. As a student consultant group, we spent countless hours every day observing the ambulatory care unit, interviewing staff, speaking with patients, addressing stakeholders throughout the organization, and analyzing the unit's physical structures, finances, operations, technologies, and work/staffing processes. At the end of a semester of intensive work flows, meetings, and analysis, our capstone/internship group presented our recommendations for the complete restructuring and redesign of the ambulatory care unit to the senior leadership of the facility through a Powerpoint presentation and comprehensive research paper titled "An Outpatient Journey: The Redesign of the Ambulatory Care Unit at Long Island Jewish Medical Center." This Hofstra University MHA graduate student capstone project opportunity added great value to our education and growth because it allowed us to take what our program taught us and utilize those tools to solve a real problem that had great and measurable impacts on patients, quality of care, patient experience, employee engagement, and healthcare operations.

Did you have mentors in the MHA program?

Every professor in the MHA program has been a great resource for me. Their real-world experience as active healthcare leaders enables students to gain more value from their lectures. One professor whom I would call my mentor would be Prof. Michael Gatto, the MHA program director, faculty member, and Future Healthcare Leaders advisor. Prof. Gatto has been instrumental in my professional and educational growth due to his guidance, leadership, and help throughout my graduate academic career. His story, experience, and kindness are what made me choose the Hofstra MHA program over any other program when I was looking for a healthcare graduate degree. From the time I started in January 2013 to when I completed my Master's degree this year, I have become a more qualified healthcare management professional because of the value he added to my education and growth. Prof. Gatto is truly an asset to Hofstra University and to students of the MHA program. I would be remiss not to mention another professor in this program who has been instrumental - Prof. Fred Sganga. His executive experience, direct and honest personality, positive and energetic attitude, and dedication to excellence have enabled me and other students to excel at every level of this profession. These two professors have shaped the upward trajectory of the healthcare management profession and instilled in all students a culture of caring, value, and excellence. I am grateful to have been mentored by these two giants of our industry, and current students of the Hofstra MHA program are lucky to have them.

What are your long-term career goals?

My long-term career goals are to add value to any organization I am apart of and develop strategies that focus on making processes effective and efficient while improving patient experience and outcomes. In the future I would like to continue to ascend in healthcare management towards a senior leadership position and one day become a Hospital president/chief executive officer (CEO) of a health system.

Darren Deoraj

Assistant Director, Gouverneur Health, NYC Health and Hospitals Corporation