Alumni Career Profile: Janet Henderson
Master of Healthcare Administration, 1994
Janet Henderson graduated from the Master of Healthcare Administration (MHA) program in 1994 before successfully launching a healthcare administration career in Indiana, Texas, and Illinois. Crystal Jones, Director of Development & Alumni Relations, spoke with Henderson to learn about what inspired her to pursue a career in health administration.
When Henderson began her educational career at Indiana University, she wanted to be a doctor. However, before entering the next phase of her educational career, she called IUPUI. She called simply to learn more about non-clinical healthcare administration programs. After speaking with the admissions coordinator, she left on her lunch break to enroll in the MHA program, as it was the last day of official registration.
“I had spent a lot of time trying to figure out a leadership role in a hospital setting that would allow me to work with medical staff and patients,” Henderson said. “When I called, I immediately took action because it met both my desires to interact with patients and medical staff. I do not think online enrollment was available at the time. It was a commitment to register, and I am so glad I took immediate action and enrolled in the MHA program.”
When she reflects on her career, Henderson is proud of how her career progression has allowed her to impact healthcare patients through decisions that improve patient care.
“As a healthcare administrator, I have been able to make decisions that have allowed me to positively impact the patient experience. It is extremely rewarding to know that you are making a difference.”
Henderson started her career in Indiana and then moved to Texas to do her administrative residency at Parkland Hospital. Parkland Hospital is one of the largest public hospital systems in the country. The hospital treats over 1 million patients a year and the patient population is truly diverse. During her residency, she was exposed to many things that she would not have the opportunity to experience in any other hospital or market. “A common expression at Parkland is once you have worked at Parkland, you can work anywhere.”
When Henderson worked at the American Hospital Association (AHA), she saw just how much regional views and issues impact healthcare policy and legislation. “Texas is a very conservative state and its healthcare regulations, policies, and/or laws are probably going to be a lot different than a more liberal state like California. An example is the expansion of Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act (ACA). California embraced Medicaid expansion whereas Texas did not. It is especially important that healthcare leaders understand what is happening at both the state and federal levels – it has an impact on patient care and the viability of the organization.
Henderson credits the MHA program and relevant course work for being a contributing factor to her success. She encourages current students to remain agile, while learning as much as they can about the current healthcare landscape. “The market has changed dramatically since I graduated, and it continues to change at a very rapid pace. Yet, the MHA program has been extremely helpful. I’ve utilized the content in every position I have had.”
Henderson said students should have a base of knowledge about where the healthcare industry has been and where it is going. “Take your time to learn the industry. Use your resources and build your network by connecting with those who are in the field. Additionally, do not only look at hospitals as places of employment. Other organizations are part of the healthcare landscape. Don’t limit yourself to only one environment.”