Meet Our Administrative Fellows

Cincinnati Children’s Administrative Fellowship is a one-year project-based experience that is offered to recent master’s level-or-above degree graduates and current students. This is an opportunity to develop and understand the administration and operations of one of the top pediatric and academic medical centers. During their year at Cincinnati Children’s, fellows lead and participate in real-time strategic projects across the organization while also building relationships with team members and leaders throughout Cincinnati Children's. The fellowship experience consists of but is not limited to:

  • Project work
  • Observational learning experiences
  • Professional development

Throughout the administrative fellowship, we strive to help develop and mold the healthcare leaders of tomorrow. Meet this year’s administrative fellows!

Kristina Dean

Where did you grow up? I grew up in Memphis, TN, with my mom, dad and two younger sisters. Growing up, I felt like an only child because I am nine and 11 years older than my sisters.

I attended Rhodes College for my undergraduate degree and then moved to Cincinnati in August 2019 to start my graduate program at Xavier University. Choosing Xavier was an easy decision. When I toured, everything seemed to fit perfectly into place. I wanted to attend a graduate program that was going to set me up for success, and Xavier does that by requiring a fellowship as a graduation requirement.

What sparked your interest and passion for a career in healthcare administration? I am not your traditional healthcare professional. Before starting in healthcare, I had a career in federal housing compliance and property management. I loved what I did and felt as though I was giving back to the community. But I started looking at my career path; I could not envision myself doing this work forever. I had to do some soul searching and figure out what came next for my career. During this transitional time, I had the incredible opportunity to volunteer in a neonatal intensive care unit in a hospital in Alabama. I was the second volunteer they had and loved every second of my time there. The certified nursing assistants took me under their wing, and on top of my regular volunteer duties, showed me how they care for the newborns and let me assist.

With my past job and this new volunteer role, it became clear that hospital administration was the perfect field to embody my passions and career goals. What are you most looking forward to about working at Cincinnati Children’s? Even before starting in my role, the sense of community is there. From meeting various team members to the past administrative fellows, everyone is so sharing and supportive, making me feel at home. I’ve always wanted to work in an environment like this, and I could not ask for better administrative fellows to work with as we navigate this new role together. What do you hope to accomplish in your time as an Administrative Fellow? This is a rare and exciting opportunity to explore my interests. Healthcare is such a vast field, and I am looking forward to discovering where my skill set best shines. I can’t wait to see as many sides of healthcare and contribute to the projects and innovations at the medical center and make a difference in the Cincinnati community. On your days off, where could we find you? I am a new puppy owner! So, I am constantly teaching her tricks and training. Currently, we are really focused on potty-training. I also love video games and have been a gamer since I was little. What one story about your childhood best explains the person you are today? When I was 7 years old, my cousin and I were playing outside my grandma’s house, and I looked over and saw a massive dog running towards us. I picked up my little cousin and started towards my grandma’s front door. Running as fast I could, I tripped, and we tumbled to the ground. I told my cousin to leave me and save herself. The dog reached me as my cousin got inside and sniffed me and was on its way, leaving me lying in the grass unharmed.

As comical and dramatic as this story is now, it showcases my heart. I try to put others before myself in all things I do.

Heather Gonzalez

Where did you grow up? I was raised in San Juan, TX, a city located as far south as you can go in Texas where it feels like summer all year long! What sparked your interest and passion for a career in healthcare administration? My passion for serving others is what drew me into a career in healthcare administration. This realization occurred during the first few years working as a pre-operative nurse in my hometown. I not only helped prepare patients for surgeries but also frequently collaborated with administrators and healthcare professionals to ensure my patients received the highest standard of medical care. Through those interactions and experiences, I found motivation to further my education and become a leader in healthcare who strives to create positive patient experiences. What are you most looking forward to about working at Cincinnati Children’s? One of my favorite things about becoming an Administrative Fellow at Cincinnati Children’s is that I already feel welcomed, and I haven’t even stepped foot inside the hospital! The current Administrative Fellows and Recruitment team have found meaningful ways to bring “Cincy,” Ohio, and the hospital’s extraordinary culture to me. From sending a Cincinnati-inspired care package, to scheduling monthly Zoom meetings, we’ve been able to strengthen our relationships remotely! These meaningful acts of kindness and the hospital’s investment in my professional development excite me to join the Cincinnati Children’s team. What do you hope to accomplish in your time as an Administrative Fellow? I hope to gain a greater understanding of what it means to provide effective pediatric healthcare and contribute innovative solutions/ideas to Cincinnati Children’s hospital initiatives. My personal goal is to maximize every opportunity that allows me to apply my skill sets, build lasting connections, and learn how to lead the Cincinnati Children’s way. I am confident that my time at Cincinnati Children’s will shape me into becoming a well-rounded healthcare leader. On your days off, where could we find you? You would find me near a park/garden or at the nearest Olive Garden! You’d also probably find me at home learning new cooking recipes with my significant other or perfecting my artistic skills. If you don’t find me doing any of those things, then I’m probably watching my favorite shows on Netflix!

What one story about your childhood best explains the person you are today? I’ve always been a people person, someone who looks out for others. A childhood story that best defines who I am today was when a classmate of mine was getting bullied in our 5th grade class. I saw how negatively it impacted her and knew that someone had to stand up for her. I made it a personal mission to always remind her that she was never alone and that I would always be her friend. I even wrote her a colorful letter of encouragement so that she always knew I’d be there for her. Little did I know that years later, she would treasure this letter and turn it into her beacon of hope. This story defines my willingness to always act with kindness, be compassionate for others, and live by integrity in everything I do.

Vi Le

Where did you grow up? I was born in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. When I was 20 months old, I immigrated to America and grew up in Oklahoma City, OK.

What sparked your interest and passion for a career in healthcare administration? My interest and passion for healthcare started when I was about 6 or 7 years old. I enjoyed going to free health clinics with my parents and brother. The feeling of community and service was always in the air, and I enjoyed talking to all the volunteers. Growing up, I witnessed the accessibility issues my mother had as a single mom and the struggles minority populations experience because they did not speak English well. This was an area I was passionate about and wanted to make a change. I wanted to be in a field where I constantly feel like I am serving others, and any job or volunteer work involving healthcare has always fulfilled that. What are you most looking forward to about working at Cincinnati Children’s? There is an extraordinarily different level of compassion and service in a pediatric setting, where management and operational decisions are not solely driven by profitability, but by mission and what is best for the children. You see this through and through at Cincinnati Children's. I love that the foundation of the hospital was helping indigent children. Today, the emphasis of patient-centered care, commitment to diversity, and innovation are vividly seen daily at Cincinnati Children's. It makes me so excited to be a part of this community. What do you hope to accomplish in your time as an Administrative Fellow? As an Administrative Fellow, I hope to contribute meaningful work to Cincinnati Children's. I hope to learn as much as I can in various topics and gain insight into each department's contribution and significance in delivering quality care. I want to understand the integration between clinical care, education, and research at Cincinnati Children's. Most importantly, I hope to make an impact within the community, whether that be a new process improvement, business plan, or even simple conversations or acts of kindness in a patient's life. Through the Fellowship, I seek to establish a long and deep connection with Cincinnati Children's colleagues and communities and make a meaningful contribution to all those we serve. On your days off, where could we find you? On my days off, you can find me having a picnic at a park with friends, visiting museums, attending any live music events and eating my way around the city! What one story about your childhood best explains the person you are today? When my mother and I arrived in America, I ran off immediately and my poor non-English speaking mother had to get security to help find me. They found me completely fine, exploring the food court. This incident was a foreshadowing of the person I am today, always eager to start a new adventure, excited to learn more about my surroundings, and willing to adapt!

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