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Consulting With a Purpose

Thursday, December 12, 2019
HCAD students and professor at work

(From left) HCAD students Austin Gailey, Elizabeth Adsit, professor Patrick Shay, and student Meagan Goggins at work 

Trinity HCAD program students take on community projects with practical impact

by Jeremy Gerlach

This year, 22 students in Trinity’s Health Care Administration program have launched 13 consulting projects for community partners across the state of Texas. 

These diverse projects, according to HCAD professor Patrick Shay '03, M'05 serve as an invaluable experiential tool for the students involved, while also making a meaningful impact on the populations served by the work itself. These projects range from patient experience journey mapping at the Texas Scottish Rite Hospital for Children in Dallas, to assessing and strategically addressing community health needs for underserved communities in Houston for Lone Star Circle of Care. 

“It's important for Trinity's graduate students to be involved in these projects because they serve as a meaningful bridge between the academic setting and the field of practice,” Shay says. “We also recognize that the work students produce through these projects are of benefit to their ‘clients,’ with participating health care organizations often incorporating students' analyses, proposals, and recommendations into the work that they do each day in serving their respective communities.”  

Elizabeth Adsit ’20, an HCAD student from Houston, Texas, is currently working on the Texas Scottish Rite project. The project aims to examine how easily and efficiently patients of the pediatric and orthopaedic hospital are able to park, use the facilities, receive care, and more, all considering factors such as time cost and logistics. Hopefully, Adsit says, the project will increase patient satisfaction.

“The work is hard, and some nights we’re up as late as 2 a.m.,” says Adsit, who will be stepping into an administrative residency at Scottish Rite next year. “But it’s worth it when you consider that some of our research may be implemented, which will make a difference not just for my job in the future, but for the community as well.”

Adsit says Trinity faculty are instrumental in supporting these types of consulting projects. “We’ve had Dr. Edward Schumacher helping with data, Dr. Patrick Shay assisting us with the writing and organization, and Dr. Seongwon Choi has been researching more about Scottish Rite so we know more about the client itself. Having a faculty like this makes a big difference.”

Shay says faculty members also play an invaluable role in encouraging student autonomy: “Student teams are encouraged to not fear failure in their ‘live’ work with organizations, but to instead seize the opportunity to connect the classroom to the field, synthesizing and applying key concepts they've learned during their graduate education while challenging themselves to grow and develop through experiential learning in ways that invaluably prepare them for their administrative residencies and future careers as health care leaders.”