Stacey Hurwitz

UF MBA students develop plan for South Florida healthcare district to better support employees and patients during COVID-19

The ongoing complexities that COVID-19 has brought to firms across all industries has been even more noticeably pervasive amongst healthcare organizations. The Healthcare District of Palm Beach County, which provides extensive healthcare services spanning across 12 locations in South Florida, became a pioneer for leading testing sites and drastically adapting to a spike in higher demand of services for its patients, as well as providing optimal support to its 1,300-person workforce.

Four-screen iPhone view of four people talking via Zoom - two women and two men

UF MBA students Stacey Hurwitz, Adriana Diaz, Paras Malhotra, Mike Harris discuss their plan for the Healthcare District of Palm Beach County. Not pictured: Albano Baci.

My fellow UF MBA students Adriana Diaz, Paras Malhotra, Mike Harris, Albano Baci and I had an opportunity as a small working team to analyze and provide recommendations for how to better restructure the organization’s administrative functions, as well as provide insight into increasing employee engagement and retention during this time of uncertainty, as part of an assignment for our Organizational Behavior class.

Given that the Healthcare District continues to be on the front lines of providing critical services during this pandemic, there was a need to consult on continuing their strategic focus from a corporate perspective, while the majority of the Healthcare District’s time and efforts were focused on their patients and community at large.

To begin formulating our research and recommendations, we decided to look into an organization that was heavily impacted by our current state of the global pandemic. In understanding Healthcare District’s role in being a pioneer for innovative and accessible testing measures, our team came together to understand what we can do, to help the organization in ensuring they were meeting their patients and employee’s needs.

At a high level, our recommendations entailed an organizational change in reallocating various administrative functions. In an effort to provide more efficient and effective alignments to better support the Healthcare District needs from a people, process, and technology perspective, we assessed the current state organizational charts and compared the Healthcare District’s alignments to that of external competitors within and outside of their respective industry.

In addition, we provided recommendations detailing increased employee engagement measures, such as opportunities to promote a more inclusive and transparent culture through diversity and inclusion initiatives, with a prominent focus on increasing manager effectiveness. In summary, we were able to combine our coursework and internal/external resources, to consult on best practices for the Healthcare District to continue to adopt.

Conducting this research and partnering together with my working team, as well as with the Healthcare District, we adapted to being able to effectively work and communicate together through virtual engagements. One of the greatest parts about my experience thus far as an MBA Gator, is getting to work with a small team of peers spanning across many career paths, including an attorney, pulmonologist/critical care physician, healthcare administrator and financial analyst. In fact, one of our team members dialed in from a waiting room, in scrubs! We all lead different lives, in varying professions, yet all come together to solve the complexities at hand.

Our engagements as a group, and also sharing with the organization in which we conducted research on, was an impactful opportunity that we had as part of a hands-on learning experience that truly allowed us to apply our concepts and encourage thought partnership between our group and a real healthcare organization.

Throughout my MBA experience thus far, coupled with my current work as a Global Compensation Specialist supporting the implementation of a cloud-based HR Information System, I have been able to apply my learnings from my MBA to the corporate setting. Whether it be understanding how my organization generates its bottom line, to refining my personal presentation and writing skills, or analyzing the effectiveness and innovativeness of our marketing strategy, I have been able to directly leverage my experiences to support being successful in both an academic and professional setting. While I still have around one year left prior to graduating from UF, the return on investment that I have had thus far has made my experience well worth it!

Interested in real-world learning experiences like this as part of your business education? Request information about the UF MBA Online program today