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The Catalyst

CHP master's degree graduate welcomes new challenges

By Mikie Hayes
Public Relations

College of Health Professions graduate Haley Henderson with Dr. Mark Sothmann. photos provided

While her playmates longed to be princesses, superheroes and astronauts when they grew up, Haley Henderson had much more pragmatic aspirations. She always knew she wanted to do something important in the health care field: something that would help children. Perhaps a pediatrician, she thought.

But after all those years envisioning herself in a white lab coat treating strep throat and chicken pox, she recognized a small glitch in the plan while studying pre-med courses at Wofford College in Spartanburg.

“As far back as I can remember, I dreamed of being a pediatrician,” she said. “My dad is an optometrist and I spent a lot of time at his office so I felt comfortable in health care. I have always had a passion for helping others, especially children. But in college, I found myself really enjoying the business classes, much more than the sciences. Before I knew it, I was an accounting major minoring in economics.”

With a mind built for numbers and a heart built for helping children, Henderson applied to the MUSC College of Health Professions to pursue a master’s in health administration, a decision that would eventually meet all her career aspirations.

The vice president of her class, Henderson graduates with her MHA from a program that was designed to develop the health care leaders of tomorrow. According to those with whom she worked at the college, she is well on her way to fulfilling that description.

During her two years at the college, she held a work-study position in the dean’s office and closely interacted with the dean and other administrators who came to know her as an outstanding student academically and professionally.

Henderson is described as hardworking, dedicated and inquisitive, eager to learn and willing to take advantage of every opportunity that is presented to her. Her reputation as a self-starter with impeccable follow-through earned her an internship at the Children’s Hospital and subsequently, a residency position with MUSC’s chief strategic officer, Mark Lyles, M.D.

She has many fans in the College of Health Professions, none more so than Karen Wager, DBA, a professor in the Department of Healthcare Leadership and Management and associate dean for student affairs.

“I think the world of Haley Henderson. She has so many strengths and abilities, but I think what I value and appreciate most in her is her extraordinary work ethic, her sense of service, care and compassion for others.  No task is ever too big or too small for Haley.  She exemplifies all of the qualities of a servant leader, and I have no doubt that she’ll go on to do great things to improve the lives of others,” said Wager.

This year, Henderson was inducted into the MUSC Student Leadership Society, a reward for the tremendous character she has shown and her exemplary service and commitment to the university.

Presidential Scholars gather to display their community resource guide and research poster. Pictured are Meghan Anderson, left to right (Medicine), Haley Henderson (Health Professions), Lindsey Coffey (Charleston School of Law), Toya Smith (Pharmacy), Dayvia Lewis (Graduate Studies), Toya Williams (Nursing) and Adam Pearlman (Medicine).

She is also extremely proud of having been selected as an MUSC Presidential Scholar. Every year, the highly competitive, year-long interprofessional program selects representatives from the six colleges and encourages collaboration on a project that benefits the community in a significant way.

Henderson’s group designed a community resource guide: binders filled with information related to services such as transportation, financial, legal, housing, health care, medications, all of which were either free or at a much discounted rate. The group delivered the guides to eight clinics throughout the Lowcountry and they were well received by patients and staff alike.

In addition to attending graduate school, performing leadership activities and working part-time, Henderson was extremely active in community service and volunteer efforts.

Some of Henderson’s most cherished community service work included her involvement in the Junior Doctors of Health program where she volunteered at Meeting Street Academy, teaching second graders about personal health and good eating habits.

By the same token, she will always remember the career fair she and the Presidential Scholars hosted at the Carolina Youth Development Center, especially the kids. Representing her college, Henderson explained to them that there are many important career paths in health care in addition to nursing and medicine. She described the types of things physical and occupational therapists; certified nurse anesthetists, cardiovascular perfusionists, physican assistants, and health administrators do day-to-day in their jobs. The Center provides shelter, safety and support services for abused, neglected and at-risk children, and Henderson feels they made a very big impact on the children that day giving them hope that they could achieve their dreams.

She even made time to take on a challenging 18-month internship serving as the administrative intern at MUSC Children’s Hospital from January 2013 through May 2014. This opportunity enabled her to become involved in a number of projects throughout the hospital.

One successful project was working alongside developers to create the “For the Record,” Kohl’s Cares iPhone application. As an intern under Meredith Strehle’s leadership, Henderson created the app to help parents in the Charleston community better manage their children’s allergies, changes in measurements, insurance information, developmental milestones, and immunization records: information that can be managed in one convenient spot.

The app also alerts parents when children are due for vaccines and offers a comprehensive podcast library of child health-related topics as well as the locations of MUSC hospitals and After Hours Care locations, complete with directions.

Haley Henderson poses with mentor Meredith Strehle of the Children's Hospital.

Henderson worked around the clock to get the word out to parents in the community about the app, and Strehle is proud of Henderson for managing such a cumbersome project.

"For the past 18 months, Haley worked with me as an intern. During that time, she managed a large, multi-faceted project. Her attention to detail and follow-through were remarkable. She was able to collaborate with numerous departments and bring to fruition an innovative app that the community has embraced. It was my pleasure to mentor such a determined and dependable student. Haley has natural born leadership skills and I have every confidence she will enjoy a successful career in health administration.”

Managing a project of such magnitude required Henderson to move out of her comfort zone.

"My internship allowed me to manage an entire project from conception to fruition,” she said. “I truly enjoyed working work with numerous departments across the broad spectrum such as IT (information technology), compliance, legal, and marketing, in addition to consultants. It challenged me in a sense in that it gave me the ability to pursue things I wouldn’t ordinarily, such as IT.”

On June 30, she begins a high-status residency with Lyles who will serve as her preceptor. The residency is self-directed and they are contemplating large-scale projects for the university that will utilize her talents while strengthening areas where she can gain valuable experience. Through this experience, Lyles will help Henderson determine which area of the hospital best suits her talents. Ultimately, she would like to stay at MUSC, preferably in the Children’s Hospital.

“In Spartanburg, MUSC is the big name in medicine in the state and it has the reputation for being the best place to learn and receive health care. It has always been my dream to work here.”

Henderson’s classmates mention her great sense of humor, how hardworking and determined she is, and how she is not a quitter – she gives it her all and never gives up on things. 

Balance is important to her and she infuses her overburdened schedule with more activities. Not one to be idle or cooped up, she enjoys going out with friends, working out, shopping, reading on the beach, and perhaps most important, spending time with her Bible study group.

“I have a great relationship with my parents and my family and a wonderful relationship with the Lord. Along with the support of my family, He got me through some of the challenging times.”

Henderson looks at graduation and her new residency program with excitement. “I like being challenged. I love being busy and on the go. I welcome this next chapter in my life, especially since I will be working with Dr. Lyles and all the great people at MUSC.”
































May 17, 2014



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