Optimizing the Path to Health Care Support
Jennifer Dunphy, Class of 2014
After receiving her M.B.A. from Loyola Marymount University in 2012, Jennifer Dunphy knew she needed complementary education to excel in population health management. While the M.B.A. gives her such technical skills as statistical analysis and financial modeling, her recently acquired UC Berkeley On-Campus/Online Master of Public Health degree provides the context and intimate knowledge of the health care system.
While taking courses, Dunphy was working full-time as a senior manager and now a director of population health programs at Regal Medical Group, a network of physicians and specialists in Southern California serving more than 550,000 members. A quarter of those members are indigent, elderly or disabled and in need of specialized care programs that improve quality, access and address unique psychosocial and medical needs.
“I work in several areas, including directing a re-admission reduction program for vulnerable populations, such as Medicare and Medicaid beneficiaries,” Dunphy explains. “We visit members who have limited resources to navigate the health care system and connect them with the appropriate psychosocial or clinical staff. I measure the net impact of this program and what activities non-clinicians can focus on that are most efficacious in preventing unnecessary utilization. I was able to implement new best practices based on what has worked for other students in my classes. I incorporate things I learned in the M.P.H. program on a daily basis.”
Learning from fellow students is something Dunphy values in the program and nurtures post-graduation. The ability to network with professionals like herself allows her to communicate with “students looking for jobs in my area, or students who have jobs I could see myself at in the future,” she says. “I have also stayed in contact with several professors and, specifically, career counselor Ruthann [Haffke] who was responsible for putting me in touch with Regal Medical Group and connecting me with my current boss.”
Reflecting on completing the degree, Dunphy is passionate that she is ready to move public health forward. “Having this degree is incredibly important to me as I view it as a passing of a ‘baton of responsibility’ to ethically improve the public health of my community for the rest of my career.”
Although Dunphy has graduated, she’s not done in continuing her education: She is currently attending UNC-Chapel Hill’s Doctorate in Public Health Executive Leadership Program. “This doctorate in public health focuses on leadership for executives who are immersed in their profession and want to continue their education while continuing to embrace their role in their current organization,” Dunphy explains. “It was one of the only programs in the country that allows me to earn the doctorate while working full time. With this degree, I hope to enhance my knowledge in executive leadership, conduct and public original research, teach the next generation of public health professionals and, ultimately, increase the quality of care delivered to vulnerable populations.”
She is also our newest ambassador to the program and is excited to help guide prospective students in deciding if Berkeley’s Online MPH is right for them. Dunphy will be dispensing such sage advice as “put your all into this program. With a distance program, the more effort you put into the program, the more benefit you get out of it. The true benefits of this program is connecting with the Career Center, the faculty and students, and engaging with the learning material and applying it to your profession on a daily basis. I’m really looking forward to speaking with prospective students to realize the impact even one public health professional can have on the community and the industry.”