Faculty Spotlight: Dr. Roger Poitras, CEO
Dr. Roger Poitras is the CEO of Intermed, one of the largest healthcare providers in Maine. In his 36-year work history, he has experience in multiple facets of the healthcare world – both supporting the physician enterprise and within the health system itself.
His administrative experience includes finance, operations, strategic planning, and executive leadership, and he has served in various leadership roles throughout the continuum of care, including acute care, post-acute care, ambulatory care, home health, medical practice management, and retail health.
In this post, he talks about the relevance of the MHA curriculum, how he advises students according to what he sees in the healthcare industry, the importance of mentoring, and how he recommends facilitating a long-lasting and very satisfying career.
Can you tell us a little about yourself, and what drew you to teaching at UNE Online?
This is year 36 of my healthcare journey. My career began as a nurse in Orlando, Florida, where I worked in a critical care unit within a Level 1 trauma center. After four years of nursing, I transitioned into administration, working with the medical staff on cost-containment and quality improvement efforts.
From there, my administrative experience evolved into finance, operations, strategic planning, and executive leadership. I’ve been blessed to have had the opportunity to serve in various leadership roles throughout the continuum of care, including acute care, post-acute care, ambulatory care, home health, medical practice management, and retail health. Essentially, I have spent half of my career supporting the physician enterprise and the other half within a health system.
After receiving my Doctorate in Health Administration, I was approached to teach ‘Introduction to the US Healthcare System’ for the MHA program at the University of North Carolina, Charlotte. It was a traditional classroom setting with highly-engaged students and faculty. That experience is what spurred my interest in teaching at the graduate level.
When the opportunity to serve as a healthcare CEO in Portland, Maine, the idea of supporting the UNE Master of Healthcare Administration program was a clear goal. In partnership with the MHA Program Director, Matt Kaszubinski, we jointly supported the capstone course in the Fall 2021 semester. Currently, I’m in my second semester with UNE and teaching HCA 720 (Leadership and Strategic Management). My experience with UNE Online has been exceptional.
What do you feel sets the UNE Online Healthcare Administration program apart from other Health Administration programs?
The curriculum is wonderfully designed. Its application and purpose align well with the needs of healthcare. So often, MHA programs lack true insight into current industry challenges and demands. I feel that UNE has designed a curriculum and approach to successfully launch a leader into this industry.
The capstone course is absolutely brilliant. It’s a wonderful opportunity for the students to coalesce their understanding of management theory while refining their areas of interest and demonstrating subject-matter competency.
The mechanics of the capstone class provide a forum for the students to create a professional portfolio, where they are encouraged to apply their classroom learning to real-life scenarios. I believe this approach will prepare students to express a clear and succinct understanding of complex healthcare issues during an interview and leadership selection process.
What advice do you give students trying to figure out how to turn their interests and skillsets into actual health administration careers?
I advise students according to what I am seeing in the industry – particularly in terms of skill-set deficiencies. When I observe a student showing an aptitude for any of those skills, I encourage them to explore those interests. Quite often, it’s an area where they’ll find opportunity, growth, and professional satisfaction.
I also strongly encourage students to engage in a mentoring or sponsoring relationship with an industry leader. Through personal experience, I can attest to the value these relationships have on facilitating a long-lasting and very satisfying career.
Can you talk about the importance of earning a master’s degree in Health Administration?
As a lifelong learner myself, I believe that the Master of Health Administration program is essential for healthcare leaders. The combination of some work experience, a structured undergraduate education, and exposure to a diverse group of graduate students and faculty really promote critical and creative thinking. A graduate-level program forces you to think differently and view the industry through a broader and more disciplined lens.
Any words of advice for students thinking of pursuing their MHA?
Healthcare carries a unique set of challenges, but the overarching goals and strategies are quite similar regardless of an organization’s size, corporate structure, tax-status, or geographic location. As a healthcare leader, you’ll need the skills to assess and adjust to an organization’s culture, formulate strategy to accomplish key objectives, leverage technology for innovation, and possess the leadership acumen to engage and influence a highly educated workforce.
I believe the UNE MHA program prepares future leaders with the skills needed for a successful and highly rewarding vocation.
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Tags: healthcare administration | Master of Healthcare Administration | MHA