Master of Health Administration

MHA In Focus: Joseph Nicolini '09

Joe is an alumnus of Hofstra's Master of Health Administration (M.H.A.) program and former president of Future Healthcare Leaders of Hofstra University, which is a participating student organization in the American College of Healthcare Executives (ACHE) Higher Education Network. In this role, he organized educational events that brought influential health care leaders and executives to Hofstra to speak to graduate students about current and future trends in the health care industry.  Joe was also selected to the Administrative Fellowship Program at North Shore University Hospital (NSUH), and shared the following details about his career aspirations.  This profile was accurate at the time it was published. 

What did you study as an undergraduate?

I finished my degree at Long Island University - C.W. Post Campus in 2004 with a major in Psychology. While my focus was broad, my undergraduate thesis was studying the correlation between CEO salaries and the performance of Fortune 500 companies, which was accepted to the Long Island Psychology Conference in 2004.

How did you further your education prior to enrolling at Hofstra?

I enrolled at Queens College, where I received 47 post-baccalaureate credits in premedical sciences from 2004 to 2006 and participated in the Academic Associate Research Internship Program through the Department of Emergency Medicine at NSUH, where I later worked as a project coordinator. I worked primarily on patient satisfaction studies, ultimately co-authoring a study examining the presence of a child life specialist in the Pediatric Emergency Department.

Tell us about being selected from a large candidate pool (approximately 50 applicants) for the competitive fellowship at NSUH. What will that position entail?

I will be mentored by high-level executives from NSUH, with the hope of attaining a full-time opportunity after the fellowship. As an administrative fellow, I will spend one year rotating through facilities and departments within the system and will work on various projects, familiarizing myself with the many areas that contribute to the successful operation of a health system.

Why do you think NSUH chose you for this highly selective position?

I used what may have been perceived as a negative - attending multiple colleges - as a measure of maturity, confirming my desire to be an administrator in the field. By guiding the interviewers through the journey of my life, I never allowed any aspect of it to be seen in a negative light. Of course, my involvement with ACHE at Hofstra was a topic of discussion as well. The opportunity to act as a leader, in any setting and at any level, is highly favorable. My ability to work effectively with my peers, keeping the best interests of the M.H.A. program and students in mind, has offered unparalleled opportunities to forge relationships with faculty, students and members of the healthcare community.
I feel that I can attribute my being selected to balance and reality. All too many times, people approach interviews with the intent of "wowing" the interviewer with grades from a top college, extensive knowledge of the industry, or mastery of interview techniques. I feel at this level, it is more important to be genuine. Nothing is easier than being yourself.

How do you think you can contribute to the health care industry during your fellowship and thereafter?

I hope to bring some fresh ideas and approaches to all projects that I will be a part of. The structure of the fellowship offers each of us the opportunity to rotate through different facilities and work with different members of the senior leadership team. I hope to improve on some of the project management skills that I have acquired while working in the Department of Emergency Medicine at NSUH and to fine-tune the leadership skills that I had the fortunate experience of developing while at Hofstra. I understand that this fellowship, as with anything in life, is another step in my educational journey.

Health care, when you peel away all the layers, is ultimately about people - it's an industry that relies on people providing necessary services to people. Leaders in the field can never lose sight of this or waver from their dedication to serving the community. This is something that I have always understood and felt passionate about - it's the reason I was drawn here. I hope to effectively combine this belief with the reality that health care is a business and it must be treated as such; the two go hand in hand, and one must search to strike the appropriate balance. People often say that it's a shame that health care delivery has turned down this path, but the truth is, a hospital, or any health care facility for that matter, cannot meet the needs of the community it serves if it cannot keep its door open.

What are your plans after you complete this fellowship?

The fellowship lasts for one year. After this year, I hope to stay with the North Shore-LIJ Health System. They are really doing some incredible things there in terms incorporating innovative approaches to delivering care and management development. The possibility of being part of an organization that strives to be the best, not only on Long Island, but regionally and nationally, is very exciting. I embrace the mission and values of the system, and I am especially fond of the emphasis placed on research and lifelong learning.

Joseph Nicolini

Recipient of NSUH Administrative Fellowship