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julia crist

Julia Crist

Class of 2014

What is your current role in health care?

“I am the Vice President of Operations for Allina’s Home Care Services Programs. Allina is an integrated medical system in Minneapolis. Home and Community Services include Hospice, Palliative Care, Senior Health and Home Hospital Care”

What stands out as a favorite memory during your time as an MHA student?

“There are a lot of things that stand out, but one of my most influential experiences was probably the second year problem solving project. I was part of the most incredible team, each member had complementary skill sets and we had so much fun figuring out a complex project together. The work was challenging and pushed us all outside of our comfort zone. 

It was this project that gave me insight into things about myself that have really shaped my career. I learned that I really enjoy operations, especially performance improvement and system design. I also learned that it is very important for me to work on a team. Before the project I was aiming for a career in strategy. Because of the problem solving experience, I’ve pursued roles that combine strategy and operations, which has led to really fun and fulfilling work.”

How has the MHA Program helped prepare you for your career?

“The program is really great at introducing students to all aspects of the healthcare system, it provided a foundation needed to be able to enter a healthcare organization and immediately contribute. The real world work experiences through the summer residencies and projects at local healthcare organizations provided practical application experiences that help launch careers. 

The alumni connections from the program stand out as well. Meeting alumni in the field gave me great insights into different organizations and types of work. Through alumni conversations, I was able to hone in on what really interested me, which has helped focus my career.”

What challenges and opportunities will healthcare leaders encounter in the next 5-15 years? What skills will leaders need to be successful in light of these challenges and opportunities?

“A lot of the things we are seeing as challenges are going to end up being opportunities. Workforce shortages are an example of that. Healthcare leaders have to think differently about how patients receive care, given that there are not enough caregivers to meet the needs of our population. The pandemic forced innovation in ways that will change how we deliver care dramatically. Home hospital care and telehealth stand out as care models that are more efficient than traditional facility based care, and are great for patient and provider experience. I’m really excited for all of the opportunities to move more care into the home in the coming years.”

Adaptability and creativity are essential for success. The healthcare system is facing big challenges like a growing senior population and workforce shortages. Leaders are going to have to get innovative to design systems that meet consumer needs within major constraints.”

If you could give one piece of advice to a current student, what would it be?

“My advice is to get clear on why you chose healthcare and how you can contribute to healthcare to make it better. It sounds like a simple thing, but it is actually very difficult to be clear on what your personal mission statement is. Early in my career, I didn’t have that perfect clarity on why I was doing what I was doing, and it made decision making about projects or jobs difficult. Take the time to do some soul searching, journal, write it down, so that you can become crystal clear on exactly why you are doing the work you are doing. For me, it is to reduce the cost of care, to increase accessibility of care, and to do it in a way that serves typically underserved populations, those that are low-income and seniors. I use that to make decisions about my career and how I show up at work and it has greatly benefitted me.”

Why is your class the best class ever?

“The program is best in class, so I think every class is truly wonderful. What I think makes the class of 2014 stand out is how varied the careers of my classmates are. They truly span the breadth of all the healthcare sectors. The class of 2014 alumni work in startups, payers, health systems, home health, consulting and value-based care practices. Prior to my class, there were some of that, but our class really did spread out outside of the traditional hospital based health system, and are doing awesome and amazing things in new spaces. They are all becoming interconnected as time goes on, so it has been very wonderful to have networking opportunities within the best class ever to cover all of those sectors in healthcare.”

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