Sarah is one of our Health and Strategic Communication master’s program alumni who now works in the non-profit healthcare industry. Below Sarah talks about how her degrees in communication, as well as different faculty members, helped her find her career path. If you are curious about the HCOM program or working in the healthcare industry you can connect with Sarah via LinkedIn.

Where do you work and what is your job title?
I work for the Patient Safety Movement Foundation as the Director of Partnerships.

What does your job entail?
More than 200,000 people die every year in U.S. hospitals and 4.8 million worldwide in ways that could have been prevented. The Patient Safety Movement Foundation is a US-based, global non-profit organization with an audacious goal of zero preventable deaths in hospitals. Improving patient safety requires a collaborative effort from all stakeholders, including patients, healthcare providers, medical technology companies, government, employers, and private payers.

As Director of Partnerships, my role is to nurture and maintain existing relationships within our network of committed hospitals/healthcare organizations, healthcare technology companies, key associations, societies, non-profits, and patients and their loved ones.

In addition to maintaining existing relationships across 51+ countries, I work to identify and create new relationships with other patient safety organizations that have a common goal of reaching zero preventable deaths in hospitals across the world.

How did you decide to pursue a career in the non-profit healthcare industry?
I’ve always had an interest in the healthcare industry. When I graduated as an undergraduate student with a B.A. in Communication Studies, there were so many different directions I could take in my career. I wanted a degree that could be adaptable in all settings. I took a job in the IT space and realized it wasn’t for me. I sat down with my dear professor, Dr. Jake Liang, and he helped me home in on my passions. One thing I am passionate about is making a difference in the world and helping others. Dr. Liang told me about the Health and Strategic Communication program and thought it would be a great fit for me. I decided to apply and I’m so glad I did. My HCOM degree helped me land the perfect job at the Patient Safety Movement Foundation.

How has your communication degree benefited you in your career?
My communication degrees have been immensely helpful in my career and have taught me the importance of communicating effectively, both in my personal and professional relationships. As Director of Partnerships, I am communicating with people from other countries on a daily basis. I give presentations 2-3 times a week and the skills I’ve acquired with my communication degree have helped me overcome a lot of barriers. Courses such as interpersonal communication, intercultural communication, group communication, business & professional communication, and public speaking have all helped me in my career.

What advice do you have for undergraduate students or recent graduates?
My advice to undergraduate students and recent graduates would be to never give up and always be persistent. If you want something, don’t be afraid to take risks in your career. I would also recommend using your professors and networks to help guide you and help you succeed. If it weren’t for Dr. Liang, Dr. Bevan and the amazing faculty in the School of Communication, I wouldn’t be where I am in my career today.