This Program Was a Differentiator For Me

Kearby Chen has spent the decade since graduating from UVA zeroing in on a satisfying career. Thanks to a combination of talent, hard work, education, and good fortune, Chen has found a home as a health care administrator. He is the ambulatory manager of neurosciences clinics at UVA Health System, with responsibility for all outpatient neurology and neurosurgery clinics and a team of more than 70 clinicians, technicians, and administrative staff.

Chen credits his enrollment in the Certificate in Health Sciences Management program as an important ingredient in his securing the position. “The program was a differentiator for me,” Chen says. “I think I was asked to come in for an interview because my decision to pursue the certificate was seen as a sign of my commitment to the field. And once in the interview room, the perspectives on health care I brought from my courses helped me make a better impression.”

Up to that point, Chen had no experience as a health care manager. After earning a bachelor’s in biomedical engineering and a master’s in commerce from UVA, Chen took a position with a Charlottesville search and digital marketing firm, helping it grow from 30 to 200 employees. “I liked the job, but I felt a calling to do something more meaningful with my life,” he said.

As a first step, he joined the UVA Health System marketing department, focusing on neurosciences and behavioral health. “I soon realized that there was a great deal I didn’t know about the health care industry and academic medical centers,” Chen says. “To be considered seriously for any operational or administrative position, I knew I had to close that gap.”

He chose the certificate program because its comprehensive coverage of the health care industry — with courses on finance, health information systems, and human resource management — was ideal for his purposes. Today he finds that his sense of the larger forces shaping the health care environment instrumental in the way he approaches his job. “I have a better grasp of the challenges we face and the strategies we might adopt, thanks to the certificate program,” he says.