Master of Health Administration

MHA In Focus: Brieanna Desiderio '15

Tell us about your background and what led you to be interested in the field of Health Administration.

Ever since I was young, I gravitated toward the math and sciences.  I have my undergraduate degree in biology with a minor in psychology and was set on attending medical school.  During undergraduate study I participated in various internships, apprenticeships, and assistant teaching opportunities.  During one of my internships at a local hospital on Long Island, the joint commission came for reaccreditation of the facility.  This visit shifted my attention and was the pivotal experience that refocused my career aspirations to become a healthcare administrator.

What attracted you to Hofstra University’s MHA program?

I was born and raised on Long Island and wanted a program that would bring me back to New York and at the same time, allow me to develop my professional network.  Each professor in my Master’s program linked me to a different healthcare organization within the local region.  A large part of where you go for your graduate degree is based on the location you want to grow your career and the connections you will be able to make along that journey.

Tell us about your relevant experiences outside of the classroom. 

You will hear this many times as a young careerist, but exposure and experience are key.  The MHA program supports its students by connecting them to leaders in the industry, giving them hands on experience through the capstone project and internship, and fostering the necessary leadership skills and knowledge needed to succeed in today’s healthcare environment.  The MHA program allowed me to work in hospitals outside of my system, enabling me to grow my network and learn the differing operational methods of local organizations.

Describe your experience working and studying with faculty within the department.

The unique thing about healthcare is that it is an industry that is both competitive and transparent at the same time.  Many of my professors worked for varying institutions, some part of my own, others not, but regardless, there is a shared goal amongst them all and that is providing the highest quality care for their patients.  The interesting thing about being a student and employed at the same time is that you get to take what you learn in class and apply it to real life situations.  The sharing of best practices, staying current with local and national regulations, policies & news, open dialogue with peers and healthcare executives, and so forth; these aspects are really what stand out most to me about the MHA program. 

What are your long term professional goals and how has the program help you reach them?

It is a privilege to have healthcare executives as your professors, but what is extra special is that the atmosphere at Hofstra allows the classroom to become more of a community. Your professor is both your teacher and mentor, and that fosters professional and personal growth, as well as a solid foundation for your career to build from.  The MHA community allowed me to build strong relationships with my professors and peers.  Again, networking is critical and having the ability to call someone and ask his or her advice is a wonderful thing.  That network is your support system.

What is your advice for prospective students looking for a degree in health?

At the start of most classes the professor will tell you why they are in healthcare and many of them echo one another when they say that this is a career you pick if you never want to be bored a day in your life.  It is a fast-paced, ever-changing industry so you have to have a passion for what you do.  Volunteering and interning are great because they allow you find your niche within the industry and to determine if healthcare is a good fit for you.  My advice would be to gain that experience! There are many avenues in healthcare from the type of facility you want to work in (hospital, physician practice, etc.) to the type of department (emergency medicine, quality, etc.). If you don’t have connections in the industry you can always find them, and it is a perfect time to develop your networking skills!  However, the best advice is the advice most popularized: Do what you love.

Brieanna Desiderio

Master of Health Administration ‘15
West Islip, NY