Gators gather in Chicago at ACHE Congress

Seven UF MHA students recently attended the 2024 ACHE Congress on Healthcare Leadership at the Hyatt Regency in Chicago, Illinois, meeting up with several MHA and PHHP alumni at the annual mixer.

By Sara A. Mayo

This past March, the 2024 American College of Healthcare Executives (“ACHE”) Congress on Healthcare Leadership was held at the Hyatt Regency in Chicago, drawing over 5,000 healthcare leaders and executives to attend this year’s theme centered on the transformative “Big Ideas” for the future of healthcare.

UF Department of Health Services Research, Management & Policy (“HSRMP”) faculty Drs. Lee Revere (left), and Keith Benson (right) with Dr. Dan Gentry (center), AUPHA President and CEO.
UF MHA alum, Ashley Emans, Class of 2011, with current students at the mixer event.

Seven current UF MHA students – Demarco Cisneros, Jonathan Crist, Jordan Hammond, Kyle Zamajtuk, Liam Ngo, and Samantha Granja – were able to attend the conference in thanks to the donors who contributed to the Health Leaders Professional Development Fund, as part of Gator Nation Giving Day 2024

Faculty from the UF Department of Health Services Research, Management & Policy (“HSRMP”), Drs. Lee Revere and Keith Benson, also attended.

Conference sessions included a wide variety of subjects from ethics in artificial intelligence use, value-based care transitions, and leadership development, among others.

UF MHA Class of 2024 student, Jordan Hammond, who will be working at the Malcom Randall VA Medical Center in Gainesville following graduation, found the session on “Value-Based Care in Home Health” to leave a lasting impression.

“With the growing trend of moving to home-based care, it will be interesting to see how this strategy comes to life as the years progress,” she explains. “Being at ACHE Congress has helped me gain knowledge about the strategies involved with different health systems, as well as given me confidence in networking with different people.”

Liam Ngo, UF MHA Class of 2024, agrees, stating that attending ACHE Congress has offered valuable educational opportunities for his future career.

“Learning about responsible AI use was definitely an eye-opener as we dive further into the space as an industry, particularly as a hopeful leader one day who makes decisions about the accountability my organizations will have on the systems we create. Learning about value-based care is something I never get tired of and come away with something new every time; focusing on keeping our communities healthy rather than curing their sicknesses is the inevitable future of healthcare.”

Following graduation, Ngo will start his new role as a Finance Fellow at Emory Healthcare. While a career in healthcare finance “would be great”, he explains that he is more focused on being a well-rounded administrator and developing the leadership skills to help an organization reach its goals.

“My career aspirations following my degree are to make a meaningful difference in healthcare,” he says, “specifically at cutting-edge academic medical centers that are pushing the envelope in patient care.”

In addition to the informative conference sessions, the students also had the opportunity to meet with UF MHA and PHHP alumni, as well as local Windy City Gator Club members during the UF MHA and PHHP Alumni, Students & Friends Mixer held on Tuesday evening.

The event drew the attention of many alums, along with AUPHA President, Dr. Dan Gentry, MHA, FACHE. Ashley Emans, UF MHA Class of 2011, who received public recognition of her FACHE designation during the commissioning ceremony on Sunday night, enthusiastically attended.

“The mixer was a delightful way to catch up with old classmates, as well as to meet current students,” Emans commented. “Seeing everyone’s unique career path reminds me of how diverse the degree can be.”

Gators seem to continue crossing paths, particularly in the world of healthcare, Ngo noticed.

“Healthcare is small,” Ngo stresses. “It is said time and time again, but it really is true: the relationships you make help you learn, connect, and eventually lead at a higher level, and I was excited to be able to meet and learn from peers and mentors in the industry.”

Next year’s ACHE Congress on Healthcare Leadership will be held March 25 through March 27, 2025, in Houston, Texas, at the George R. Brown Convention Center.

The American College of Healthcare Executives (ACHE) focuses on the advancement of healthcare leadership to greater standards of excellence. With over 76 local chapters over the span of 90 years, ACHE is the professional home to over 48,000 healthcare executives. Members of ACHE gain access to broad networks, educational resources and professional development as well as earn the FACHE designation, a fellow’s credential indicating board certification in healthcare management.