Administrative Fellowship

The Hartford HealthCare Ayer Neuroscience Institute Administrative Fellowship Program is designed to provide an exceptional foundation for a career in healthcare management.

Recent graduates from The George Washington University Master of Health Administration (MHA) Program are invited to apply to the Fellowship Program to advance their leadership potential.

About the Program

Hartford HealthCare President and CEO Jeffrey Flaks talks about the Ayer Neuroscience Institute Administrative Fellowship Program.

The Administrative Fellowship Program is a challenging and fulfilling experience working in a fully integrated health system dedicated to excellence and innovation. The fellowship program provides an opportunity for recent graduates of The George Washington University Master of Health Administration (MHA) Program to advance their leadership potential through project management, shadowing, leadership rounding, structured learning, mentorship and key relationships with senior executive leaders.

The 12-month program, created by Hartford HealthCare President and CEO Jeffrey Flaks, is coordinated under the direction of Ayer Neuroscience Institute Senior Vice President Wendy Elberth.

During the project-based fellowship, the Fellow will lead high-profile, system-level projects within their functional area while simultaneously contributing valuable work to many organizational initiatives. These projects allow the Fellow to develop verbal, written, interpersonal and analytical skills, and provide the opportunity to integrate theory into practice.

The senior preceptor and executive sponsors of this dynamic fellowship consider the specific interests and goals of the Fellow, along with the needs of the organization when selecting projects that offer a comprehensive, challenging and rewarding learning experience.

Senior Executive Preceptor

Wendy Elberth, MBA, OTRL

Senior Vice President, Ayer Neuroscience Institute, Hartford HealthCare

Wendy Elberth earned the 2013 Preceptor of the Year Award for Health Services Management and Leadership from The George Washington University. She has served as the preceptor and primary professional mentor for 10 administrative fellows for over eight years. Wendy brings a tremendous amount of institutional knowledge to the Fellowship Program, having served more than 30 years at Hartford HealthCare. She has a natural ability for recognizing each fellow’s unique leadership potential, coaching for results, and positioning the fellow for success.

Co-Executive Preceptor

Maria Shimer, MHA

Director of Specialty Programs, Ayer Neuroscience Institute, Hartford HealthCare

Maria Shimer obtained her bachelor’s degree in Business and Psychology at the University of Pittsburgh and went on to complete her Masters of Health Administration at the George Washington University. In 2013, she started her career at Hartford Hospital as the Administrative Fellow. Maria is committed to helping the Institute’s clinical leaders achieve their visions for excellence, remaining a fierce advocate for the services and programs that benefit the community. She is also dedicated to developing the next generation of healthcare leaders and serves as a mentor and preceptor to many newcomers in the field. 


My relationship with Wendy Elberth is built on trust and transparency. I have the opportunity to meet with her for a dedicated hour every week to discuss the projects I am working on and use the time to learn from her. I know that if I run into barriers on the work I am doing, Wendy will use the opportunity to coach me through the challenge. Wendy puts in the time to shape the fellowship experience to my interests and helps fill in any gaps I may have in my experiential learning.

- Sana Merchant
     System Integration Manager, Ayer Neuroscience Institute



Wendy is a Senior Vice President at Hartford HealthCare, yet she consistently met with me for at least one hour every week. I am lucky to have had such a wonderful preceptor. The best way to describe Wendy is as a coach. She always had my best interests at heart and strategically and consistently created exceptional learning opportunities. She fostered a safe learning environment and was committed to helping me grow as both a person and a professional. Typically, after my one-on-one meetings with Wendy, no matter how well I thought I was doing, I left with a desire to elevate my performance.

- Colin McMillan
East Region Director, Ayer Neuroscience Institute


Frequently Asked Questions

How big is Hartford HealthCare?

Connecticut’s only truly integrated healthcare system, Hartford HealthCare has more than 30,000 employees and $4.3 billion in operating revenue. The system offers the full continuum of care with seven acute care hospitals, the state’s longest-running air ambulance service, behavioral health and rehabilitation services, a large physician group and clinical integration organization, skilled-nursing and home health services, and a comprehensive range of services for seniors, including senior-living facilities.

What is the Ayer Neuroscience Institute?

Hartford HealthCare established the Ayer Neuroscience Institute in 2016 to standardize neurology and neurosurgical patient care across the system by bringing together specialists and increasing collaboration and care coordination. The Ayer Neuroscience Institute is comprised of 245 providers, 30+ subspecialties, 32 ambulatory care sites and seven acute care sites. In 2020, the Ayer Neuroscience Institute providers performed a combined 2,815 inpatient and outpatient surgeries. Additionally, there were 80,813 ambulatory care visits and 14,005 diagnostic tests performed. In total, in 2020 the Ayer Neuroscience Institute touched more than 250,000 lives.

Is the Ayer Neuroscience Institute Fellowship Program a hospital-specific fellowship or a system-level fellowship program?

It is a system-level fellowship.

How long is the Fellowship Program?

The Ayer Neuroscience Institute Administrative Fellowship Program is a 12 month, structured experience.

Where is the Fellow’s physical office location?

The Fellow’s office is located at Hartford HealthCare’s flagship facility, Hartford Hospital. Here, the fellow has the opportunity to gain operational experience in an academic teaching hospital.

Hartford Hospital, is central Connecticut’s leading tertiary medical center with a world class medical staff, supported by 1,393 physicians and more than 7,000 extraordinary nurses and staff members. At 867 beds, Hartford Hospital is one of the largest medical centers in the Northeast and the second largest in Connecticut.

Is Hartford Hospital an academic medical center?

Hartford Hospital is the main teaching affiliate hospital for the University of Connecticut, with a number of residency and fellowship programs.

Will there be exposure to executive leaders?

The Fellow has access to senior leaders not only at Hartford Hospital, but throughout the Hartford HealthCare system. The Fellow is given the opportunity to participate in executive leadership meetings, strategic planning, budget preparation, board meetings, fundraisers, and highly visible initiatives.

Will there be opportunities for professional development?

Hartford HealthCare is committed to the personal and professional development of all its employees. The Fellow is granted access to both internal and external professional development opportunities, including:

  • Weekly one-on-one coaching/mentoring with senior executive preceptor

  • Weekly one-on-one meetings with executive sponsors

  • Three day Lean training course

  • Numerous Leadership Organizational Development Courses (online and in-person)

  • Ability to attend Congress for the American College of Healthcare Executives

  • Ability to attend The George Washington University’s annual event, The Gibbs Oration and Coile Lectureship

What sort of projects have previous Fellows worked on?

See testimonials.

How many prospective Fellows are accepted each year?

The Ayer Neuroscience Institute Administrative Fellowship Program accepts one or two fellows per year.

How many past Fellows were offered employment at Hartford HealthCare after completing the Fellowship Program?

Many past Fellows successfully parlayed their fellowship into future leadership positions at Hartford HealthCare.

What is the application and interview process like?

Application Information

Step 1: Download the application information for the Ayer Neuroscience Institute Fellowship.

Please watch this space for new information regarding the application.

Step 2: Candidates must complete an application packet, including:

  • Resume

  • Two (2) letters of recommendation (one graduate faculty and one professional)

  • Official graduate school transcript

  • A one-page narrative/personal statement, discussing:

    1. Applicant’s interest in hospital administration

    2. Career objectives

    3. Reason for seeking an administrative fellowship

    4. Explanation of desire to work at Hartford HealthCare

Step 3: Application Submission

  • Email completed information no later than September 19, 2022 to:

    Subject line: Full Name – Ayer NSI Administrative Fellowship Program Application.

  • Directions: Scan all documents in the order listed above into one file and attach to email.
Current & Past Fellows

Meet our current and past Ayer Neuroscience Institute Administrative Fellowship Fellows and find out about their experience while in the fellowship program.

Find Out More

Additional fellowships currently offered by The Ayer Neuroscience Institute.

All fellowships include hands-on training from experts across numerous disciplines and receive exposure to multiple patient settings: emergency, inpatient and outpatient.

Explore the links below to learn more about the current fellowship opportunities and the applicationprocess.

Ayer Neuroscience Institute