Ayer Neuroscience Institute Administrative Fellowship Program Fellows

Colin McMillan, ’19  |  Heather Muirhead, ‘17  |  Rose Newcomb, ‘16  |  Dustin Bump, ‘15  |  Maria Shimer, ‘14  |  Erika Schouten, ‘13

 

2019

Colin McMillanColin McMillan

Administrative Fellow
Hartford HealthCare, Ayer Neuroscience Institute

What made you choose the Hartford Hospital/Ayer Neuroscience Institute Fellowship Program?

I chose the Ayer Neuroscience Institute Fellowship Program primarily because of the high caliber nature of the fellowship preceptor, Wendy Elberth. She was impressive when I met her during my onsite interview, and I left there feeling as if she was fully committed to my personal and professional development.

Additionally, I wanted to work in a large, academic medical center like Hartford Hospital while working on system-level initiatives, and this fellowship program allowed me to do both. Lastly, I chose this fellowship program because many previous fellows were offered job opportunities within the organization after they completed their fellowship. Some have chosen to stay at Hartford HealthCare for many years, and to me that says a lot about the organization as a whole.

What did you like about Hartford HealthCare and why would you suggest this fellowship program to prospective fellows?

Hartford HealthCare has a great organizational culture. It has a collaborative learning environment with ample opportunities for professional development.

I like that there are so many GW alumni working throughout the organization. When I first started my fellowship program it was reassuring to know I had a core group of past GW fellows who were there to support me. Many of them have launched successful careers at Hartford HealthCare and I felt comfortable asking them for career advice.

I would suggest this fellowship program to prospective fellows if they like a fast-paced work environment and are capable of working on multiple high-profile initiatives simultaneously. Prospective fellows would enjoy their experience if they like working directly with clinicians.

Describe your relationship with your preceptor.

Wendy is among the most impressive leaders in the organization, and she is a great role model. She has made a concerted effort to internalize the H3W leadership behaviors. Wendy has been working for Hartford HealthCare for over 35 years, so she has a tremendous amount of institutional knowledge.

Wendy is a Senior Vice President at Hartford HealthCare, and yet she consistently finds time to meet with me for at least on hour on a weekly basis. I am lucky to have such a wonderful preceptor. The best way to describe Wendy is as a coach. She always has my best interests at heart and strategically and consistently creates exceptional learning opportunities. Additionally, she creates a safe learning environment and is committed to helping me grow as both a person and a professional. Typically, when I leave my one-on-one meetings with Wendy, I leave with a burning desire to elevate my performance.

What project work during your fellowship are you most proud of?

I am most proud of my work in developing our Epilepsy Program. When I started my fellowship, we had just hired our new Medical Director for the Epilepsy Program. Since then, I have been involved in every aspect of program development. For instance, we spent 4 months standing up a new type of neurodiagnostic imaging. It was a powerful moment when I had the opportunity to go to our Epilepsy Monitoring Unit to meet our very first patient who received this type of diagnostic imaging. I remember thinking to myself, “Wow, we have been preparing for months to help you in this very moment”. I will never forget that.

What skills did you develop over the course of your fellowship?

Over the course of my fellowship I developed the following skills: agility, flexibility, resourcefulness, communication, data analysis, problem solving, prioritizing, time management, project management, strategic thinking, fundraising, event planning, and networking.

What sort of local activities/attractions did you for fun in your free time outside of work?

In the summer I spent most weekends at the beach. Hartford is about 45 minutes from the Long Island Sound and about an hour from Rhode Island beaches. I also spent time exploring Mystic, CT and trail running in Avon, CT.

In the fall I spent a lot of time outdoors admiring the foliage. I enjoyed going to Six Flags New England and spending the weekends are different fairs. I also joined my first beach volleyball team to socialize with other young adults. There are different adult social sport leagues happening throughout Connecticut.

In the winter I liked to do escape rooms for fun. There are a ton in and around the Hartford Region. I also liked to go out to dinner at different restaurants in West Hartford. To meet other young adults, I joined the YMCA in downtown Hartford.

What was your first job after you completed my fellowship, and what role do you have now?

My fellowship program does not end for another 2 months, but once I complete it I hope to stay on with Hartford HealthCare. I have great mentors here and work closely with a group of highly effective servant leaders who make excellent role models. I am in a great place to learn and develop.

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2017

Heather MuirheadHeather Muirhead

Business Operations Manager
Center for Education, Simulation and Innovation
Hartford Hospital

What made you choose the Hartford Hospital Administrative Fellowship Program?

The Hartford Hospital Administrative Fellowship Program was recommended to me by both Dr. Darr and Dr. Burke. Both could not recommend the experience or the mentorship by Wendy Elberth more. Dr. Burke and Dr. Darr both also spoke very highly of Jeff Flaks and his leadership qualities. Jeff is committed to both the GW Fellowship and the success of each GW fellow.

When looking for potential Fellowship sites, I was interested in staying in a hospital environment but also wanted the option also be involved in a healthcare system. This fellowship offered me both.

What did you like about Hartford HealthCare, and why would you suggest this fellowship to a prospective fellow?

I really like the culture here at Hartford HealthCare. Overall, I find the work environment to be very positive, upbeat and exciting. I also feel supported as I begin my career

The executives at the hospital have always been welcoming and ready to open the doors so I can learn more about their roles within Hartford Hospital. While at the same time, many of the projects spanned across the system. The Fellowship experience helped me learn more about how the hospitals and the system interact and help each other grow.

Describe your relationship with your preceptor.

Wendy was and has remained a mentor to me as I begin my career in Healthcare Administration. Wendy is always ready and willing to answer any and all questions. She is dedicated to my personal growth and career goals. I continue to use Wendy as a mentors and trusted advisor today as I continue to grow in my current role.

What project work during your fellowship are you most proud of?

During my fellowship, I spent about 60% of the time focused on Ayer Neuroscience Institute Projects and about 40% of my time focused on projects for the new Center for Education, Simulation and Innovation (CESI).

I am most proud of the work I put into creating an operational analysis and business plan for integrating the Emergency Medical Services department into the Center for Education, Simulation and Innovation. The project included developing a business plan to expand the business and contribute significant revenue to the CESI’s bottom-line. As I moved into my role as the CESI Business Operations Manager, it has been exciting to watch the operational analysis and business plan come alive.

What skills did you develop over the course of your fellowship?

  • Project Management – the importance of execution

  • Relationship Management – how to manage relationships with individuals throughout the healthcare system and beyond

  • Time Management

  • Meeting Management – controlling a conversation and the room

  • How to continuously look for feedback and use the feedback to improve

What sort of local activities/local attractions did you do for fun in your free time outside of work?

I enjoyed horseback riding in Connecticut and snowboarding in Vermont. Additionally, I loved visiting friends in New York City and Boston, MA and my family in New Jersey.

What/where was your first job position after completing your fellowship, and what role do you have now?

After completing my Fellowship, I moved into a Business Operations Manager role at the Center for Education, Simulation and Innovation.

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2016

Rose NewcombRose Newcomb

Practice Manager, Center for Vascular Disease
Prima-CARE Medical Center

What made you choose the Hartford Hospital Fellowship Program?

The fact that the Hartford Hospital Fellowship Program had a long history, with GW students specifically was the main reason I chose this Fellowship. I also really enjoyed speaking with Wendy during my interview. She sold me on the Fellowship.

What did you like about Hartford HealthCare, and why would you suggest this fellowship to a prospective Fellow?

The best thing for me about HHC is how open and accepting everybody is. Most, if not all, people I encountered were very friendly and took the time to explain things in depth. The leadership behaviors are visible in the way HHC employees treat Administrative Fellows or fellow employees.

Describe your relationship with your preceptor.

I reported to Wendy Elberth and the Director of the Ayer Neuroscience Institute for the Hartford Region. We had weekly meetings and frequent touch points. They would often provide solutions to issues that I hadn't even considered, though they also allowed me to develop problem solving skills and find solutions on my own.

What project work during your fellowship are you most proud of?

Assisting in the development of the Movement Disorders Center. One aspect of that program was the monthly event, Dancing with Parkinson’s. It was very rewarding to see our patients with Parkinson’s Disease enjoying the class.

What skills did you develop over the course of your fellowship?

During the fellowship, I gained confidence in my work, understanding of certain technical aspects, conflict management and resolution, and greater skill in motivating people to work toward a common goal, hard work ethic, and overall growth as a person.

What sort of local activities/local attractions did you do for fun in your free time outside of work?

I love West Hartford! There are lots of bars and restaurants. It was great that many of the past Fellows and GW alumni were still in the area. I joined the local GW alumni group and met many non-healthcare alumni there. I also took up skiing and had a lot of fun with that.

What/where was your first job position after completing your fellowship, and what role do you have now?

Practice manager of the HHC Ayer Neuroscience Center. I am currently the Practice Manager of a vascular surgery center.

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2015

Dustin BumpDustin Bump

Director, Hartford Region
Hartford HealthCare Ayer Neuroscience Institute

What made you choose the Hartford Hospital/Ayer Neuroscience Institute Fellowship Program?

There were many draws of the Hartford Hospital Administrative Fellowship Program for me, but two key things really stood out: 1.) I really wanted to experience a fellowship in a large, academic, and market leading medical center, like I had experienced in my internship at Tampa General Hospital. I enjoyed the fast-paced, innovative, and strategically focused setting. 2.) Organizational commitment to the fellow, both during and after the fellowship. The access to and coaching by the executive preceptor, and beyond, was exactly what I was looking for!

What did you like about Hartford HealthCare and why would you suggest this fellowship program to prospective fellows?

The thing I was immediately impressed with was the organizational culture and commitment to it. The culture continues to evolve and mature, with a continued focus on optimization and refinement. I have been very fortunate to launch and continue my career at Hartford HealthCare, and have an opportunity to help recruit people to our system at all levels (physicians, staff, etc.). Consistently, the #1 reason that I am told by candidates for ‘why’ they are interested and eventually what made them choose to join our team is the Hartford HealthCare culture and the obvious difference when compared to other organizations.

Describe your relationship with your preceptor.

Throughout the fellowship, and after, I have had a great relationship with Wendy Elberth (our fellowship preceptor). During the fellowship, I maintained formal 1:1 meetings with her on a weekly basis, but outside of that she was always willing to continue to coach, teach and mentor. I was fortunate to begin my career post-fellowship in a position with the Ayer Neuroscience Institute; therefore I have continued reporting directly to Wendy, and continue to maintain this great relationship.

What project work during your fellowship are you most proud of?

I was able to participate in several interesting and important projects during my fellowship, but the one I’m most proud of is our System-Wide Preparedness for Ebola. In this project, I was able to work closely with a team led by our Vice President, Operations at Hartford Hospital and our Chief of Infectious Disease in preparing our healthcare system to identify and treat a patient with Ebola. This included standing up an incident command center, identifying, planning, and developing an isolation unit, standardizing screening and isolation plans, implementing training programs, and leading incident drills across the healthcare system. It was a very unique learning experience!

What skills did you develop over the course of your fellowship?

Being open to and eager to receive feedback, and being introspective and humble enough to admit that there are things that I do not know. Additional skills that stand out are: the ability to manage many competing priorities, change management, and physician relationship building/maintenance.

What sort of local activities/attractions did you do for fun in your free time outside of work?

One of my favorite local activities is attending Hartford Yard Goats baseball games at Dunkin’ Donuts Park!

Enjoying the amazing New England nature and seasons. I especially enjoy golf in the summer and ‘leaf peeping’ in the fall. There is a lot of beautiful scenery to take in!

What was your first job after you completed my fellowship, and what role do you have now?

My first job after the fellowship was in the position of Business Manager for Neurosciences in our Hartford Region. Currently, I am the Ayer Neuroscience Institute Director for the Hartford Region. In this role, I work closely with both our Ayer Neuroscience Institute and Hartford Region teams.

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2014

Maria ShimerMaria Shimer

Director, Neuroscience Specialty Programs
Hartford HealthCare, Ayer Neuroscience Institute

What made you choose the Hartford Hospital/Ayer Neuroscience Institute Fellowship Program?

I had expressed to my GW Advisor that I wanted the experience of a fast paced, large multidisciplinary, multi-hospital system and she suggested I look into Hartford HealthCare. After interviewing with the preceptor, Wendy Elberth, I knew it was the right fit as she has years of experience in the healthcare setting and has a natural gift for coaching and mentoring. Hartford Hospital also has another key alumni connection at HHC, Jeffrey Flaks, the President and COO of Hartford Healthcare. He is very interested in ensuring we have a successful experience and is very connected to the whole fellowship process.

What did you like about Hartford HealthCare and why would you suggest this fellowship program to prospective fellows?

I cannot say enough good things about working for Hartford HealthCare. I have always felt like a part of a family rather than a “business”. From day one, I was welcomed with smiles from all the executives, given one-on-one time with each one of them, and they have consistently maintained an open door policy. I firmly believe I would not be where I am today without the individuals I have worked with, the support I have been given, and the opportunities that have been afforded to me at HHC.

Describe your relationship with your preceptor.

I have had a wonderful relationship with Wendy that has spanned the course of 6 years. Wendy is an incredibly devoted and thoughtful leader. During my fellowship, Wendy made herself available for weekly one-on-one sessions where she spent a great deal of time coaching and guiding me, asking strategic questions to challenge me in my own decision-making. When I worked in another department for 5 years post-fellowship, I sought out Wendy often for career advice which she readily offered.

What project work during your fellowship are you most proud of?

I am most proud of leading the initiative to open our PREPARE Clinics, which are Orthopedic pre-operative centers. In this role, I was responsible for coordinating and facilitating every action item that was needed to open these new clinics – from completing the business plan, finding the space, hiring the staff, promoting the program, and ensuring its success after go-live. It required that I work collaboratively and closely with numerous other departments within HHC. It was a high exposure, hugely rewarding project that not only allowed me to grow as a leader, but also made an important impact on the patients who need care at the clinics.

What skills did you develop over the course of your fellowship?

I developed increased confidence and comfort public speaking, a significant amount of project management skills, and the ability to balance several high profile projects to completion over the course of just one year.

What sort of local activities/attractions did you do for fun in your free time outside of work?

I have always been very active in and around the area – there is so much to do, you just have to go out and explore it! In the summer I play on a recreational volleyball league and golf and in the winter I frequent many of the nearby ski resorts. I also take advantage of our proximity to other cities and will often take the train into NYC or go on a mini road trip to Boston, MA, Portland, ME, Newport, RI, or Burlington, VT. I also partake in a lot of the beautiful hikes in the area, go kayaking or river tubing, try one of the many local craft breweries, or catch a concert at one of the casinos.

What was your first job after you completed my fellowship, and what role do you have now?

My first role after the fellowship was a Site Manager within the Revenue Cycle department. The role I have now is Director of Neuroscience Specialty Programs for the HHC Ayer Neuroscience Institute. In this role I am responsible for programmatic development, expansion, and integration for three of our incredible programs.

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2013

Erika ShoutenErika Schouten

Senior Director for the Neurosciences Service Line, Oregon Health and Science University

What made your choose the Hartford Hospital Fellowship Program?

The Hartford Hospital Fellowship provides great exposure and the ability to see and do things you would otherwise not experience until much later in your career such as attend board and strategy meetings. Hartford Hospital is a large academic teaching hospital and exciting place to be as it continues to grow. The ability to learn from strong leaders and gain knowledge through actively participating in projects and mentorship is a unique opportunity.

What did you like about Hartford HealthCare, and why would you suggest this fellowship to a prospective fellow?

At the time of my Fellowship the Hartford HealthCare system was developing and working to coordinate care for patients and their families. The system is filled with so many talented team members. I appreciate Hartford HealthCare’s mission to improve the health and healing of the people and communities they serve. I recommend this Fellowship opportunity to anyone looking to challenge themselves and grow professionally as a healthcare leader.

Describe your relationship with your preceptor.

I learned so much from my preceptor and I am grateful for the opportunities and experiences that she created for me. My preceptor has been instrumental in my growth and development as a leader. It is important to find strong mentors and build meaningful relationships during your Fellowship year.

What project work during your fellowship are you most proud of?

I am proud of the work that I completed for the Hartford HealthCare Thrive initiative aimed at making the system more efficient and a low cost provider of healthcare services. By working on this project I learned the value of collecting and sharing data in order to drive results. It was rewarding to see the impact of such a large scale project and the improvements that were made to the operations of the hospitals and system.
What skills did you develop over the course of your fellowship?

During the Fellowship, I acquired the skills of organization, teamwork, and persistence. I had the opportunity to partner with medical directors and clinical teams to develop multiple business plans to expand services within the hospital setting. I also developed my ability to utilize effective project management skills to operationalize new initiatives.

What sort of local activities/local attractions did you do for fun in your free time outside of work?

I enjoyed hanging out in the town of West Hartford, as they have some great restaurants and shops. You can find some of the best pizza around in Connecticut! I also had a blast exploring the beaches on the East Coast.

What/where was your first job position after completing your fellowship, and what role do you have now?

After completing my Fellowship, I was offered the role of Project Manager for Academic Affairs at Hartford Hospital. I served as a primary liaison on behalf of the Vice President of Academic Affairs and Chief Academic Officer.

I am currently the Senior Director for the Neurosciences Service Line at Oregon Health and Science University.

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Contact Information

  • If you have additional questions, or would like to learn more about the fellowship, please contact one of the following.