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Dome - Jolly Good Fellows

Dome October 2014

Jolly Good Fellows

Date: October 6, 2014

Johns Hopkins' Administrative Fellowship Program readies talented young professionals for leadership careers.


Doug Hall, Desiree De La Torre and Omar Schoenthaler
Doug Hall, left, who served as an administrative fellow 20 years ago, stands outside the hospital’s Emergency Department with former administrative fellow Desiree De La Torre and second-year fellow Omar Schoenthaler.
Photo by Keith Weller

When a team of Johns Hopkins leaders headed to the United Arab Emirates to explore a business partnership with a hospital in Abu Dhabi, they made sure to bring administrative fellow Omar Schoenthaler.

The second-year fellow had already demonstrated his expertise and aptitude for the business of health care when, early in his fellowship, he collaborated on a software program aimed at reducing waste in hospital operating rooms.

“The Abu Dhabi trip was a whirlwind,” says Schoenthaler. “We were there for only a week but had a month’s worth of work to do. That project was an incredible professional experience.”

Johns Hopkins Medicine’s Administrative Fellowship Program attracts hundreds of applicants from across the country. But each year, only three candidates are offered a spot. A graduate of Juniata College, Schoenthaler came to Johns Hopkins after earning a master’s degree in health administration from the University of Minnesota.

“Applicants are attracted to working with Johns Hopkins leaders on really high-level projects,” says Schoenthaler. “It’s a chance to get experience that isn’t available anywhere else.”

Former administrative fellow Conan Dickson, now serving as chief of staff at Sibley Memorial Hospital and chairman of the fellowship’s steering committee, says the two-year program rotates fellows through clinical departments such as Surgery, Oncology and Medicine as well as through Finance, Marketing and Communications, General Services, and Medical Affairs. Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center, Howard County General Hospital and The Johns Hopkins Hospital participate in the program. Fellows receive mentorship from their advisors and rotation preceptors and from leaders throughout the health system; Johns Hopkins Medicine executive vice president Ronald R. Peterson is the program’s executive champion. The vast majority of graduates choose to apply to Johns Hopkins positions when their fellowships are finished, often rising to leadership roles.

Doug Hall, senior director of strategic market development and research, came to Johns Hopkins as an administrative fellow 20 years ago. “The program helped me get exposed to environments and situations that school just can’t replicate,” he says.

Desiree De La Torre, director of community health improvement, says her graduate degree in epidemiology and social and behavioral sciences only taught her to analyze and evaluate data. “The administrative fellowship at Johns Hopkins gave me broad exposure to how a hospital and a hospital system work, from patient transporting to financial decisions about new clinical initiatives.”

De La Torre says the job of improving community health involves working with clinicians, social workers, financial counselors and hospital staff across all departments. “Rotating through various departments and hospitals as a fellow at Hopkins helped me understand the different roles and responsibilities of many different people. Now I can step back and see where we can take a system approach to improve community health.”

Five years after finishing her program, De La Torre continues to rely on the skills and relationships she formed in her fellowship. “I still so appreciate all the people who candidly opened up, teaching me about their work and how it relates to patient care.”

—Patrick Smith


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Former Administrative Fellows Working at Johns Hopkins

Brandon Batiste, assistant director, Office of Johns Hopkins Physicians

Erika Benson, assistant administrator of neurosciences outpatient services

Trushar Champaneria, manager of physician business resources

Desiree De La Torre, director of community health improvement

Conan Dickson, chief of staff, Sibley Memorial Hospital

John Dunn, administrative director of diagnostic imaging, Howard County General Hospital

Patty Engblom, associate administrator, Department of Medicine

Deanne Gavney, assistant administrator, Division of Rheumatology

Jessie Grafenberg, administrator, Institute of Genetic Medicine

Doug Hall, senior director of strategic market development and research

Kristian Hayes, assistant director of general services

Melissa Helicke, vice president of practice operations, Johns Hopkins Community Physicians

Caroline LeGarde, vice president of clinical operations, Sibley Memorial Hospital

Christal Moore, assistant administrator, Department of Surgery

Anu Mullick, administrator, Department of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery

Gebrette Pritchett, director of patient access

Takiya Reavis, assistant administrator of orthopaedic surgery, Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center

Kat Ries, administrator, Department of Otolaryngology–Head and Neck Surgery

Nathan Smith, manager of ambulatory services, Division of Gastroenterology and Hepatology

Tammy Snyder, administrator of operations support/medical affairs

Deirdre Torto, assistant administrator of oncology

Colbey Walker, division administrator of thoracic and pediatric surgery

Laini Wolf, innovation consultant, Sibley Innovation Hub