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After graduating from the Master of Science in Health Care Administration (MSHCA) degree program, Natalie Whitlock became the first CSULB student to receive the prestigious and highly competitive Southern California Kaiser Permanente Fellowship. The two-year fellowship is designed to identify promising candidates for management and future leadership positions within Kaiser Permanente and to provide fellows with a hands-on experience that will contribute to their professional development.

Natalie worked in various drug and alcohol treatment facilities after completing her undergraduate degree in Psychology at CSULB. “I enjoyed working directly with the patients but was offered an administrative position with the company, and soon realized that I preferred the administrative side because it afforded more opportunities while still directly impacting patient care,” Natalie said. “I found that I excelled in this division of health care and began researching Master’s degrees so that I could advance in my career. That’s when I found the program at CSULB.”

The MSHCA program was developed by an expert team of faculty and industry professionals and prepares students for administrative positions in a variety of health care settings. Combining online and face-to-face weekend instruction, the curriculum includes an analysis of the U.S. health care system, managerial skills essential to the health care professional, financial management, ethics, public policy analysis, and strategic business in the health industry.

Natalie said her favorite part of the program was the professors. “They were very invested in the students’ success, and were passionate about the subject matter, always leading stimulating conversations in class.” She added that the program helped prepare her for her current career. “It offered a diverse selection of classes that covered the entire health care spectrum,” she explained. “There has been something from each class that has been useful during my time in the health care field. I often find myself in meetings thinking, ‘I learned about this in school!’ The finance class was especially helpful for my current position, so I am grateful I paid attention to Dr. Sinay in his class!”

Natalie started the fellowship at Kaiser Permanente in July of 2012, after graduating from the MSHCA program in May. “It’s a unique experience,” Natalie said. “My preceptor is the Senior Vice President and Executive Director of the hospital in San Diego, and the fellowship gives me the rare opportunity to learn from seasoned executives. I work on various projects assigned by my preceptor; one project pertains to improving the patient care experience.” She continued, “Fellows are highly exposed to Kaiser Permanente as an integrated health care system. I attend many executive-level meetings and shadow leaders and front-line managers within the hospital to further my understanding of the complex health care delivery system.”

When asked if she would recommend the MSCHA program to others, Natalie said, “Absolutely. I received a quality education that helped prepare me for my career.”

To learn more about the Master of Science in Health Care Administration program at CSULB, click here.

Filed under Alumni Profiles

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