MHA/MBA alum credits great courses, profs with success: 'My UHCL education prepared me well'
Healthcare clinicians have the ability to effect improvements in individual outcomes and in public health, but only if they are supported and empowered by competent, caring healthcare administrators who have the skills to minimize the myriad complications they face each day. Mathew Timmons is just such a healthcare administrator. Timmons received his joint Master of Healthcare Administration/Master of Business Administration from UHCL in 2005 and has worked almost 25 years in healthcare administration, including 22 years at Texas Children’s Hospital and recently a promotion to Senior Vice President and Chief Operating Officer at Children’s Hospital New Orleans.
“I really love what I do,” he said.
“I’m responsible for all hospital operations, including peri-operative services and the Heart Center, as well as hospital-based services like radiology, pathology, therapy, security, facilities, and food and dietary services,” Timmons said. “I also am responsible for a 51-bed pediatric behavioral health hospital. Children’s New Orleans also has partnerships with multiple community-based organizations that provide support and care for abused children, autistic children, and children in the juvenile justice intervention center. We work with early development centers and public and private schools to help increase healthcare access to children who would otherwise not receive healthcare.”
Timmons acknowledged that although his purview encompasses all the hospital’s operations, he loved his work. “My education and training at UH-Clear Lake prepared me well for what I do now,” he said. “The foundations that I was taught during my MHA/MBA courses, as well as the administrative fellowship that was required, laid the groundwork for many things that I rely on now.”
He said that the education itself opened many doors for him. “My education is what allowed me to be considered for a leadership position in the first place,” he said. “I believe the teaching methods my professors used, putting us in groups and requiring us to work together on projects built a skill set from which I have been able to grow throughout my professional life.”
Through those courses, Timmons said he learned key skills, such as how to make data-driven decisions and how to create operational strategies, but he also discovered the value of working as a team and listening to the thoughts and ideas that others had to offer. “We all had our own professional experiences,” he said. “I learned a lot about how individuals contribute to a group’s success. My professors’ use of this method of teaching was more beneficial to me than much of what we learned in textbooks.”
Another significant advantage Timmons received while at UHCL was a lesson in the importance of engaging with the university’s alumni network of hospital administrators. “Being part of that group helped open a lot of doors for me in my career,” he said. “We all went to the same graduate school and it seemed as if I had met so many people through a class or an alumni event. I credit my graduate education as well as the network beyond my program. Those are big reasons why I was able to progress in my career.”
He said that even over two decades into his career, he still often reflects upon what he learned in his classes at UHCL. “There have been many times when I have worked on things related to healthcare finance that I have drawn upon what I learned from my classes,” he said. “Real world experience is different from being in a class, but that’s where you get the foundation and fundamentals. That is what prepared me for the scenarios I face today, and when I have those moments, I remember what I did in class and what I encountered in my professional life.”
He added that his professors each had a profound impact upon him. “All my instructors had a niche in which they contributed to our education,” he said. “I remember them very fondly. They were invested in my success, as well as the success of the other students in the program.”
To learn more about UHCL's Joint Healthcare MHA/MBA program, visit www.uhcl.edu/academics/degrees/healthcare-administration-business-adminstration-mha-mba