Image: Dave Gardner
Crosby MBA Class & Health Sciences MHA 2023

Dave Gardner

"Choosing Mizzou for my education was a great decision! The concepts, frameworks, and methodologies I learned during my graduate programs are invaluable in my day-to-day work."

Current Role/Title: Administrative Fellow at Children’s Mercy Kansas City

In this professional postgraduate fellowship program, I’m provided with hands-on experience and exposure to various aspects of healthcare administration. I participate in rotations through different departments within the organization, gaining exposure to areas like finance, operations, strategic planning and working with our frontline clinical teams to understand their roles. I contribute to specific projects aimed at addressing real-world challenges or opportunities within the healthcare system. I also work closely with senior leaders and executives to understand leadership dynamics within the healthcare industry through attending leadership meetings and observing how leaders navigate complex healthcare environments. It’s also an amazing opportunity for building relationships with professionals across various departments and gaining valuable mentorship. I’m also given the opportunity to personally and professionally develop through attending educational sessions, seminars, and training programs to enhance my skills and knowledge in healthcare administration. I spend a lot of my time engaging with the local community and patient population to better understand the healthcare needs and challenges faced by diverse demographics. Through my preceptors I benefit from mentorship by experienced healthcare administrators who guide the fellow's development with feedback and coaching to enhance leadership skills.

What is something fascinating happening in your industry right now?

There are currently many interesting things happening in healthcare. In the ever-evolving landscape of healthcare, a profound shift is occurring as healthcare systems pivot towards Diagnosis-Related Groups (DRG) and value-based care models. This change is driven by the evolving reimbursement structures being implemented by payers such as Medicaid, Medicare, and insurance companies. The move to DRG and value-based care signifies a departure from traditional fee-for-service models, prioritizing quality outcomes over volume. Technology, such as electronic health records and telemedicine, is playing a pivotal role in enhancing efficiency, informed decision-making, and personalized patient care. Simultaneously, non-profit hospitals face heightened pressure from Private Equity (PE) firms entering the healthcare space. While PE firms offer rapid capital infusion, non-profits grapple with the challenge of maintaining their mission-driven focus amidst financial expectations to keep operations moving. The convergence of reimbursement shifts, technological integration, and financial dynamics promises a fascinating transformation in healthcare. Striking the right balance between financial sustainability and patient-centric care will be crucial for navigating this intricate landscape.

How did you end up in your current position?

I ended up in my current position through awareness brought to the organization through my graduate program and support in the application process as administrative fellowships are extremely competitive, but especially amongst pediatric hospitals. Leveraging the different experiences, I had at Mizzou along with the knowledge I was acquiring in both of my graduate programs really helped me stand apart from other candidates and put me in this position.

In what ways has your Mizzou education/affiliation impacted your life since graduation? 

Choosing Mizzou for my education was a great decision! The concepts, frameworks, and methodologies I learned during my graduate programs are invaluable in my day-to-day work. The robust alumni network has provided continuous support whether in my organization or external, with Mizzou graduates always open to offering advice and insight as I navigate my career. This has been an amazing resource for me being a young professional. 

Why did you choose Mizzou—what makes Mizzou special? Why should someone consider Mizzou?

I chose Mizzou, because I was able to build a good relationship with the recruiter they had in Chicago bumping into him at many college fairs. Originally coming for the animal science program was also a big pull for me with Mizzou having such a strong animal science program. Even though I changed my major, the culture of the University along with the relationships I was able to form over the years are what kept me there and a reason I think anyone should consider Mizzou.

Fondest memories while a student or faculty member here?

My fondest memories while a student at Mizzou come from my time in undergrad spending time with friends, I had made through Mizzou Black Men’s Initiatives. Going downtown on gamedays, catching up with each other in the dining halls, shooting pool in the student center, and a service trip to Washington D.C. 

In your spare time, what do you like to do? 

In my spare time I really enjoy catching up on new shows & movies, exploring new things to do in Kansas City since recently relocating, reading, walks with my dog, and spending time with friends and family.