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How a Clinical Project Manager is Re-Shaping Medical Care

July 4, 2019 at 12:05PM
How a Clinical Project Manager is Re-Shaping Medical Care

There are a myriad of ways in which you can make an impact in the evolving healthcare industry. Whether you’re an administrator or practitioner interested in creating proposals to influence structural change within institutions, in search of systems-focused and design-driven solutions for a rapidly changing industry, or a designer seeking new skills in user-based research and innovation, we can help prepare you for your next career steps to succeed in the industry.

We spoke with Deborah Cooke about her own experience in our Human-Centered Healthcare certificate program. Deborah is a Clinical Project Manager at NYU Langone Medical Center in New York City, where she leads projects that enhance services across the healthcare spectrum. She shares with us her take on the program, as well as goals for her future within the industry. 


What is your current, specific interest and expertise in the healthcare field?

My career has spanned various aspects of healthcarefrom Long Term Care to Managed Long Term Care (aka Managed Medicaid insurance) to Inpatient Hospital programmingand now as a Clinical Project Manager for the Division of General Internal Medicine and Clinical Innovation at NYU Langone Health and the School of Medicine. My interests are as varied as my experience. I remain dedicated to quality, safety, and wellness.


What are your views of the medical field as it is currently, and how do you think the Human-Centered Healthcare certificate program will be relevant to moving you forward?

The medical field is ever changing. We have a great opportunity to change the healthcare experience as healthcare dynamics and technology evolve. This certificate is giving me the tools to think differently and begin to approach our challenges with a new paradigm.


How did your background and previous experience inform your decision to enroll in the program?

I actually just finished up the Design Leadership for Business certificate. I was looking to advance my skills in something new, and I searched for quite a few different programs at different places. Design Leadership at Open Campus at The New School was the one that seemed most interesting and refreshing from the typical curriculum. Knowing that my employer contributes a significant amount for continuing education, I dove right in. It was through that program that I learned of the Human-Centered Healthcare certificate. Given my background in healthcare, I felt it was a no brainer to enroll in the program. 



What is your favorite part of the program?

The exercises we do in class are obviously very important. However, I find most of my learning takes place in the discussions we have and through the feedback provided by the other students and the professor. The classes that hold conference calls, WebEx, or Zoom sessions are helpful, too.

For each class, I was able to choose a project (in real time) that would be used throughout the course.  Each week had a new exercise that helped me learn a new approach to dive deeper into the project at hand and design solutions. Some of these exercises were very basic, (e.g., an interview), and others were more detailed exercises at how to look at the problem. One exercise I really enjoyed was using the 5 senses to understand a problem. I never thought about breaking down a challenge with this mindset.  With this exercise, the problem began to unfold in an unexpected way.  I appreciated that it helped further understand, frame and explore the challenge on a different level.  


What did you enjoy most about the online format of the courses?

I had never done an online course. I am certainly one to be in the classroom. However, Canvas made it very tangible and easy to follow. Each class had a group call at least 1-2 times during the course. That helped supplement the online material and get more personal attention. The information is chunked nicely so that you can watch a few minutes if time allows and not feel like you have to sit and read for hours on end. It's definitely geared toward the working individual.


How are the connections you’re making with peers and professors valuable? 

That's a good question. It's hard to say since we are spread out all over the world. It's great hearing about how healthcare functions in other countries, and knowing that we all have much of the same challenges. I have LinkedIn’ed with a few people and when we were hiring for a position, I asked for recommendations. I actually received a really great resume. I also just did a WebEx with a fellow student in Colombia who gave me feedback on a project I'm working on. Creating this network has been fun. 


For more information on our Human-Centered Healthcare certificate, please visit our website.


Written by Casey O’Connell for Open Campus.

More than a course.
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