By Amelia Hurt
Dave Hyatt, an alumnus of the Master of Health Administration program at the IU Richard M. Fairbanks School of Public Health was introduced to the hospital career world while in college through a summer job working on the loading dock at his hometown hospital. Since then, Hyatt has held a number of positions. Today, he is the president of Critical Access Hospitals for the East Central Region of IU Health which includes responsibility for IU Health Jay and Blackford Hospitals. As of June 1, Hyatt will serve as president of IU Health Blackford Hospital, and will also be responsible for the development of IU Health’s Rural Strategy.
“Every day is different in hospital administration, but one thing remains the same, working with amazing people who are all focused on improving the care we provide to our communities and improving the health of the communities,” Hyatt said.
He spends a lot of time working with physicians, nurses, and other healthcare professionals looking at how to improve operations and allocate scarce resources in the best way possible to ensure they are able to fulfill their mission. “Healthcare is an extremely challenging industry to be in. We are constantly being asked to do more with less, we see people at their highest highs and their lowest lows, but every day you can find reward in that you’re always working to help people and improve your community.”
While at FSPH, Hyatt learned the importance of teamwork, mentors, and continuous learning. The network that he developed while at FSPH has been a huge asset to him during his career.
“To this day I am still in touch with many of my professors and classmates that I will reach out to for advice or guidance when I feel like I’ve reached a brick wall,” Hyatt said.
When asked about his favorite FSPH memory, Hyatt said it’s hard because his two years at FSPH were amazing and went by in a flash.
“The best memories that I have were the many around building relationships with my classmates and professors. Whether that was at a student association event with the Pacers or living at the library trying to help each other figure out those darn management science equations, they are all a part of what made the experience at FSPH great.”
Hyatt said he would give his college self the following advice, “Health care is a huge industry. Do not become too focused on one aspect or one area in which you think your passion lies. Take chances and risks. Be willing to move outside of your comfort zone and try new things. That is where opportunity lies. Never stop learning and learn to count on and rely on the expertise of your team. Healthcare is incredibly complex, and no one can do it alone.”
Reflecting on the most significant thing that’s happened since graduating, Hyatt reminds of us of what is truly important.
“My family! Since my time at FSPH, I’ve gotten married to my wonderful wife Tonya and have two amazing children, George (7) and Eliza (5). It has had not only an impact on me personally, but also professionally. As a parent, we have new expectations for our family and children.”
One of the things that has been a “true north” of sorts for Hyatt is when the team struggles with tough issues at the hospital. He always goes back to his mantra that if the care that his organization provides isn’t good enough for his family, then it isn’t good enough for anyone’s family.
“I can say that we’ve have had many trips to the emergency room, surgery department, and my daughter was born at IU Health Jay. I couldn’t be more proud of the care that our team provided to my family,” Hyatt said.
As for what the future holds, Hyatt said this is always a tough question, but he always wants to be learning and growing both personally and professionally. “I’m not sure where that will put me in 10 years – it might be right here. But I do know that I hope to always have the blessing to work with people who are passionate about what they do every day and share the same values of doing the best for our patients and the communities who count on us.”
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