Online MHA Alumni in Action: Dennis Liu
Master of Health Administration - 2021
Tell me about your background when you started at NYU Wagner.
When I joined Wagner in 2019, I was practicing as a hospital medicine Physician’s Assistant (PA) for about six years. At the time, I practiced as a medicine PA at Montefiore Medical Center while also holding a position as a Quality and Patient Safety Specialist at New York-Presbyterian Hospital. My interests are in hospital medicine, patient safety, and human error. I have expertise in adverse event review, root cause analysis, human and system-based error prevention, and performance improvement.
Why were you drawn to the MHA program?
Many of my colleagues on my team at NYPH were alumni of Wagner’s MPA in HPAM program. They all spoke highly of the quality of the education and the positive experience they had at NYU. At the time I was applying, I was looking for a rigorous master’s level education that could help me gain new skills and knowledge to balance my clinical background. I also wanted to pursue leadership positions and career advancement within my organization.
My role in Quality and Patient Safety was growing and I felt I was lacking the foundational knowledge needed for an administrative and leadership role. The program objectives and curriculum fit nicely with my short and long-term career goals. The virtual nature of the program offered more flexibility and fit better with my work and personal life. I also found value in attending a program designed specifically for working healthcare professionals.
What is your advice to prospective students who are considering applying to the MHA program?
Wagner’s MHA website actually has a wealth of information available. Use that information to help guide your decision and answer some questions. Don’t hesitate to reach out to the program or connect with current students for additional information about the program as well.
When applying, it’s a good practice to keep your short and long-term goals in mind. Ask yourself these questions: why you are pursuing the degree, who is teaching it, what is being taught, will it help you achieve your goals.
Balancing personal time, full-time employment, and part-time course work will be challenging and mandatory. Make sure you have a strong support system at home and at work. Time management and organization will be critical to success.
Ensure your manager or supervisor is aware of your enrollment into the program and your coursework early on. They can often offer advice and guidance. As a student, you will be gaining skills and knowledge throughout the program that can be immediately applied at work. You don’t need to wait until graduation to career build and professionally develop. Don’t be afraid to take on a project or assignment at work to highlight what you have learned.
What was your favorite part of the program or something that you did not expect?
I underappreciated the value of a virtual classroom and asynchronous work when applying. It really does make a difference. Live sessions and discussions were lively and meaningful. Not only are you learning from the program, your professors, and your classmates, but you are teaching and sharing your own experience and perspectives. Virtual class also allows for a level of flexibility you will not receive in an in-person program. I’ve taken classes from different states, time zones, and countries.