Justin Buonomo, a Stevenson University Healthcare Management master’s student, received the Douglas Shepherd Memorial Scholarship earlier this year. The Maryland Association of Health Care Executives (MACHE) awards the scholarship to one undergraduate and graduate healthcare administration or management student who has demonstrated ethical behavior and outstanding leadership qualities. We had the opportunity to speak with Justin about the scholarship and his experiences at Stevenson University:

Why did you choose to pursue your master’s in Healthcare Management?

My mother was an avid contributor to the clinical side of healthcare and my father had a strong background in business and finance. Due to this upbringing, I acquired an interest in both fields from a young age. I decided to pursue my master’s in Healthcare Management because it was the perfect blend of my career interests in healthcare and business.

How is this degree helping you with your current career?

The skills and knowledge I acquired during my time at Stevenson University have been extremely helpful with fulfilling the responsibilities and expectations of my current position. Completing my master’s in Healthcare Management was a key factor for me landing my current position. I am currently the Program Administrator for the Hospitalist Program and the Program Coordinator for the Internal Medicine – Pediatrics Residency Program at Johns Hopkins University. In this position, I work with a plethora of very talented doctors with extensive expertise and education in medicine. They often look to me for advice on administrative and business matters; I love being this resource because it allows for satisfied doctors, which leads to satisfied patients.

Do you have any examples of how the coursework you are completing has immediately applied to your job?

During my time at Stevenson, I was fortunate enough to take several courses that focused on teamwork and collaboration between all levels/statuses in a healthcare organization. I was able to apply these methods and skills to help address a teamwork problem we are currently experiencing.

How are the faculty and staff helping you reach your education or career goals?

From the moment I started the program, I could tell Dr. Sharon Buchbinder and Professor Casciani truly believed in me and saw the potential I possessed as a future healthcare executive. I knew I was in great hands at Stevenson from day one; the faculty placed me in all the right positions and challenged me to meet my potential so I could excel within the program.

I wanted to grow as a student and as a healthcare manager while I was in this program, and the faculty never failed to deliver in the highest of quality. I was also very fortunate to build a strong relationship with one of my professors, John McNally, in which I was lucky enough to have him mentor me in numerous ways. My family and I will be forever grateful for the opportunities and the support that the faculty and staff within the program have kindly offered me.

What is the most important lesson you have learned from your experience at Stevenson?

I have learned many great lessons from my experience at Stevenson, but there is one in particular that has stuck with me and I truly believe has helped me as an effective professional within my new workplace. During my first residency weekend, Professor Casciani discussed the ideal strategy to address a problem or complete a task that we may face with during our careers as healthcare managers. She advised us to first, always do our best to complete this task or overcome the problem by ourselves by exhausting all options and resources possible. If after our efforts we were still unable to resolve the problem, she taught us how to ask our supervisor for assistance. Rather than simply saying, “I can’t figure this out,” Professor Casciani instructed us to say, “I tried A-Z, but unfortunately, I still cannot find a viable solution. However, here is what I already tried and these are my suggestions or ideas in regards to a possible solution.” By using this strategy, your supervisor is aware of your thorough effort and they recognize that you are not just asking someone else to do your job or solve your problems for you.

This advice has helped me through moments within my current position when I have been immediately unsure of the solution to a problem. However, nine times out of 10 I have come up with a viable solution through utilizing Professor Casciani’s lesson. This has helped me display a sense of determination, assertiveness, and responsibility in my new work environment.

How has your career affected your life and lives of other?

My new career has had a positive impact on my life. Accepting this position was a great reward for all my hard work thus far. I always believed my parents when they said, “hard work pays off,” and now I am seeing the truth to this simple life lesson they taught my siblings and me. All the late nights, early mornings, and sacrifices I made over the years have finally paid off, and this accomplishment has made me even more driven to continuously work hard and make the people around me better in the process.

For my family, it is a very proud moment. Six years ago, when I packed up and moved six hours away from home to attend Stevenson, they could only hope that it would pay off. By starting my current position, completing my masters at Stevenson, and accepting the Doug Shepherd Memorial Scholarship, my parents are reassured that they made the right decision to let their 18-year-old son move from home.

What does receiving the MACHE 2016 Douglas Shepherd Memorial Scholarship mean to you?

This honor means a tremendous amount to me. I am most proud to accept this award as a student in the Healthcare Management program at Stevenson University. This program is first class; I attribute this to the tremendous professors and faculty members, and some of the most driven, intelligent, and supportive students I have ever met.

Dr. Buchbinder and the Healthcare Management program truly deserve this recognition and achievement much more than I do. By accepting this scholarship, I hope to bring the attention, respect, and nobility to our program. Mr. Shepherd accomplished so many great feats as an accredited healthcare executive before his unfortunate passing. His accomplishments in healthcare are something a young healthcare manager such as myself could only hope to achieve one day. Even the nomination for this scholarship with the kind words of recommendation from Dr. Buchbinder was a true honor.

I am proud to have the opportunity to make my family, friends, and everyone within my program proud I would not be where I am in life, or half the person I am today if it was not for my family, amazing friends and the prestigious faculty and student body within the Healthcare Management program at Stevenson University. Many thanks to you all; you are all my true motivation.

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