Shira Simon

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Shira Simon

Dr. Shira Simon is the Faculty Director of Northwestern's Master of Science Healthcare Administration degree. She is an Assistant Professor in the Departments of Ophthalmology and Neurology at Northwestern, where she is also the Director of the Neuro-Ophthalmology Service and the Clerkship Director of Ophthalmology. In addition, she serves as the Site Director for Ophthalmology at the Jesse Brown Veterans Affairs Medical Center. Outside clinical and teaching responsibilities, she serves on the Executive Committee on Admissions for Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine and is an elected committee member to the Feinberg LCME Quality Improvement Committee. She is passionate about mentoring residents and medical students and ensuring they have a welcoming and nurturing environment in which to learn and develop; in addition to running the clerkship in ophthalmology, she also serves as the Professionalism Mentor for the Department. After graduating from Harvard College, she spent three years at McKinsey & Company, focusing on global health and addressing systemic public health challenges. After obtaining an MD and MBA from Harvard, she completed her internship at the Harvard Cambridge Health Alliance, residency in ophthalmology at Northwestern Memorial Hospital, and fellowship in neuro-ophthalmology at the University of Iowa.


MD / Harvard Medical School

MBA / Harvard Business School

AB / Harvard College

Certified by the American Board of Ophthalmology

Member of the North American Neuro-Ophthalmology Society

Relevant Work

McKinsey & Company Business Analyst and Global Health Fellow

Selected Publications & Products

Achieving target refraction after cataract surgery. Simon SS, Chee YE, Haddadin RI, Veldman PB, Borboli-Gerogiannis S, Brauner SC, Chang KK, Chen SH, Gardiner MF, Greenstein SH, Kloek CE, Chen TC.Ophthalmology. 2014 Feb;121(2):440-4. doi: 10.1016/j.ophtha.2013.09.022. Epub 2013 Nov 26.PMID: 24289919

IMPACT OF RETINOPATHY SCREENINGS FOR PROSPECTIVE HEART TRANSPLANT CANDIDATES. Simon SS, Wilcox JE, Lyon AT, Jampol LM.Retin Cases Brief Rep. 2017 Summer;11(3):195-197. doi: 10.1097/ICB.0000000000000362.PMID: 27398677

Idiopathic bilateral central artery occlusion in a young woman. Kinori M, Simon SS, Kurup SP, Mets-Halgrimson R, Jampol LM, Zeid JL.J AAPOS. 2017 Oct;21(5):418-420.e1. doi: 10.1016/j.jaapos.2017.04.013. Epub 2017 Aug 26.PMID: 28844751

Retinal disease in the neurology clinic. Tauscher RG, Simon SS, Volpe NJ.Curr Opin Neurol. 2021 Feb 1;34(1):122-132. doi: 10.1097/WCO.0000000000000883.PMID: 33278143 Review.

Intracranial Posterior Ischemic Optic Neuropathy and Ophthalmic Artery Occlusion. Tauscher RG, Bison HS, Simon SS, Volpe NJ.J Neuroophthalmol. 2021 Jul 23. doi: 10.1097/WNO.0000000000001313. PMID: 34310459

Rebecca Caires

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Rebecca Caires

Rebecca Caires has over 35 years of executive leadership experience in academic and community healthcare system positions focused on ambulatory operations, oncology administration, and research. Her key strengths are operations, human resources, business planning, finance, communication, and process improvement.

Caires currently serves as Vice President of Operations at Northwestern Medicine in Chicago, Illinois. Her key focus is the Oncology service line supporting the Robert H. Lurie Comprehensive Cancer Center of Northwestern University. In her role she oversees inpatient units and ambulatory clinics, the blood center, cellular therapies programs and respective labs. Caires has been with Northwestern Medicine for 15 years, growing the Lurie Cancer Center's clinical programs and its operations. Caires chairs numerous operational and clinical committees.

After two years of consulting at Northwestern University's School of Professional Studies, Caires was appointed as Faculty Director for the Master of Science in Healthcare Administration (MHA) program. She has co-developed the MHA program and currently leads faculty and student recruitment and marketing initiatives. Caires is passionate about higher education for leaders and emerging executives in healthcare. She has a strong commitment to mentoring and elevating early and mid-career professionals.

Before relocating to Chicago, Caires worked for 13 years at Moffitt Cancer Center in Tampa, Florida, as Administrative Director for multiple clinical departments, including Stem Cell Transplant, Thoracic Oncology, Neuro-Oncology, and GU Oncology. She also worked in the Tampa market as Administrative Director for community oncology programs at Florida Hospital for six years.

Early in her career, Caires worked in the marketing and public relations arena of health care management and received multiple awards for innovative advertising and design campaigns and publications. She has also held volunteer positions with the American Cancer Society and Gilda's Club of Chicago. She is a recipient of the Administrative and Service Excellence Award from the Northwestern Medical Faculty Foundation (Northwestern Medical Group) and the Administrative Excellence Award from the Lurie Cancer Center.

Caires serves on the Executive Committee and the Board of the National Comprehensive Cancer Network (NCCN). The National Comprehensive Cancer Network® (NCCN®) is a not-for-profit alliance of 30 of the world's leading cancer centers devoted to patient care, research, and education; it is dedicated to improving cancer care quality, effectiveness, and efficiency so that patients can live better lives.

Caires holds an MBA from Saint Leo University in Florida and a BA from National-Louis University in Illinois.


Cynthia Barnard, PhD, MBA, MSJS

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Cynthia BarnardCynthia Barnard is Vice President, Quality for Northwestern Memorial HealthCare, an integrated academic health system anchored by Northwestern Memorial Hospital, the principal clinical affiliate of Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine. She is responsible for oversight of clinical quality management and improvement, infection prevention and accreditation and policy for the system, and medical ethics for the academic medical center. The NM health system is comprised of eleven hospitals and two large multi-specialty medical practice groups in Chicago and northeast Illinois.

Dr. Barnard has served on the faculty of the Northwestern University Master’s Program in Healthcare Quality and Patient Safety, and the Master's Program in Health Administration since both programs' inception. She earned a PhD from Northwestern University in Healthcare Quality and Patient Safety, following a BA magna cum laude in Psychology at Bryn Mawr College and an MBA in Health Systems Management and Economics at the Kellogg Graduate School of Management at Northwestern University. Her research interests center on patient engagement in quality and patient safety, and quality and patient safety measurement and improvement methods. She has held leadership roles in the National Association for Healthcare Quality, the Illinois Hospital Association, and the boards of Project Patient Care and The Boulevard (Chicago), and has published books and articles in healthcare quality, patient safety, ethics and policy.


PhD, Northwestern University

MS, Spertus Institute

MBA, Northwestern University

BA, Bryn Mawr College

Christopher Coccitto

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Chris Coccitto

Christopher Coccitto joined the Masters of Healthcare Administration - School of Professional Studies as an Adjunct Lecturer shortly after its inception in 2022. His focus is on Financial Management. He has over 17 years of experience in finance, focusing on budgeting and analytics, and is currently Program Director, Finance & Strategy – Oncology at Northwestern Medicine. He has a passion for digging into data, measuring the current state of affairs, and using this information to drive improved outcomes. This has led to him develop many complex evaluations and reports to enhance patient care, operational functions, and financial performance. He hopes to impart an understanding of the importance financial management for healthcare organizations, as well as the tools to perform these functions, to his students. Christopher earned his MBA from Loyola University Chicago and BSBA in Business Administration from Xavier University in Cincinnati.


Masters of Business Administration - Loyola University Chicago

Bachelor of Science in Business Administration (Finance) - Xavier University

Relevant Work

Program Director, Finance & Strategy (Oncology) Northwestern Medical Group

Financial Strategy Manager - Northwestern Medical Group

Manager Operations Data - Charles Schwab

Sr. Financial Analyst - TransUnion

Financial Reporting Analyst - Walgreens Corp

Matthew Earle

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Matthew EarleMatthew Earle is an Adjunct Lecturer for the Master of Science Healthcare Administration program at the School of Professional Studies. His focus is on financial management and decision support. He has over 12 years in corporate health care with various experience in financial operations and data analysis. He has coached teams to complete analytics around clinical quality, risk, case management, financial strategy, capital planning, payor contract modeling, cost accounting, and care variation. He is currently a Manager, Finance Decision Support at Northwestern Medicine. Matt is passionate about understanding internal and external factors that affect operations and using that learning to inform analytics to drive decisions. He hopes to help cultivate critical thinking, creativity, and deep understanding of financial management and other various topics that affect HealthCare provider organizations. He is looking to guide students learning so that they can develop the tools needed to create analytics, make decisions, and provide strong operational support. Matt earned his Master of Business Administration, Master of Social Work, and Bachelor of Science in Psychology at Dominican University in River Forest Illinois.


Master of Business Administration, Dominican University Brennan School of Business

Master of Social Work, Dominican University

Bachelor of Science in Psychology, Dominican University

Relevant Work

Manager, Finance, Northwestern Medicine

Program Manager, Finance, Northwestern Medicine

Senior Financial Analyst, Northwestern Medicine

Vicki Diep, MHA

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Picture of Vicki DiepVicki Diep (she/her) is an accomplished healthcare executive with over twenty years of leadership experience in the healthcare sector. Currently, she serves as the Vice President of Operations for the Bluhm Cardiovascular Institute (BCVI) at Northwestern Medicine. In this capacity, she provides comprehensive executive leadership for all aspects of heart and vascular care, including the Cardiac Cath Lab/Structural Heart program, Electrophysiology Lab, Non-Invasive Cardiology, Cardiac Imaging, Cardiac and Vascular Surgery, and Ambulatory Clinic. Beyond her primary role, Diep serves as Adjunct Faculty at Northwestern University's Masters of Health Administration Program training future healthcare leaders. Passionate about diversity and inclusion, she serves as the Executive Sponsor for the Asian American and Pacific Islander Chapter at Northwestern Medicine Champion Network. Diep's tenure at Northwestern Medicine has been marked by financial growth, quality enhancement, and exceptional team building. She has also held prior roles at Cancer Treatment Centers of America and the Robert H Lurie Comprehensive Cancer Center. Diep earned a Bachelor of Science from Louisiana State University and a Master of Health Administration from Tulane University. Her dual roles as an executive leader and educator, exemplify her unwavering commitment and dedication to elevating healthcare standards, nurturing talent, and advocating for inclusivity.

Courses Taught

HCA 404: Financial Management in Healthcare Organizations (Finance 1)

Ann Hall

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Ann HallAnn Hall has been at Northwestern Medicine since 2010. In her current role, she is responsible for providing leadership for NM’s Community Affairs function, including community partnerships, outreach programs, the Community Health Needs Assessment and Implementation Plan effort and employee volunteerism. Prior to this role, Ms. Hall served as Vice President, Strategy for Northwestern and supported a variety of strategic planning efforts across the health system, including corporate development evaluations, market intelligence, growth planning and clinical program advancement. Before joining NM, she supported business development and physician services at Ann and Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago. Ms. Hall holds an MBA in Management and Strategy from Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management and a Bachelor’s in Health Services Administration from James Madison University.


Master of Business Administration, Northwestern University Kellog School of Management

Bachelor of Science in Health Services Administration, James Madison University

Lean Six Sigma Black Belt

Relevant Work

Vice President, Administration, Northwestern Medicine; 2020 - present

Vice President, Strategy, Northwestern Medicine; 2016 - 2020

Director, Strategy, Northwestern Medicine; 2010 - 2016

Director, Physician Services, Lurie Children's Hospital of Chicago; 2007 - 2010

Manager, Business Development, Lurie Children's Hospital of Chicago; 2001 - 2007

Courses Taught

HCA 430 Defining Value in a Market: Strategic Management and Healthcare Innovation

Dan Handel, MD, MBA, MPH

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Dan HandelDr. Dan Handel currently serves as the Vice President and Chief Medical Officer for the Central Area of Atrium Health in Charlotte, NC. Prior to this, he was the Vice President and Chief Medical Officer of Indiana University Health’s South Central Region and an adjunct clinical professor of emergency medicine in the Indiana University School of Medicine. In his role, he was responsible for overseeing patient logistics, case management, quality and safety, credentialing, and the Southern Indiana Physicians medical group for an 11-country region. Prior roles included being the Chief Medical Officer at the Medical University of South Carolina and Vice Chair for Clinical Affairs in the Department of Emergency Medicine at Oregon Health & Sciences University (OHSU) in Portland, Oregon. Dr. Handel was raised in Indianapolis, Indiana. He received his doctor of medicine degree from Northwestern University along with a Masters in Public Health. In June 2014, he completed his Healthcare MBA from OHSU, where he also served on the faculty of the Division of Management teaching process improvement and value streams. He has a Lean Six Sigma black belt certification and holds advanced degrees in public health, aeronautics and business. He lectures nationally on process improvement and improving patient flow. He is a Certified Physician Executive and Fellow of the American College of Emergency Physicians and American College of Healthcare Executives.


Doctor of Medicine, Northwestern University

Master of Public Health, Northwestern University 

Master of Business Administration, Oregon Health & Sciences University

Certified Physician Executive

Lean Six Sigma Black Belt

Current Research Interests

  • Health Services Research
  • Patient Logistics
  • Emergency Department Crowding

Relevant Work

Vice President / Chief Medical Officer, Central Area, Atrium Health; 2022 - present

Vice Preisent / Chief Medical Officer, South Central Region, IU Health; 2018 - 2021

Chief Medical Officer / Executive Medical Director, MUSC Health; 2014 - 2018

Selected Publications and Products

Handel DA, French K, Nichol J, Momberger J, Fu R. Associations between patient and emergency department operational characteristics and patient satisfaction scores in an adult population. Annals of Emergency Medicine. 2014;64(6):604-608.


Handel DA, Fu R, Vu E, Augustine JJ, Hsia RY, Shufflebarger CM, Sun B. Association of Emergency Department and Hospital Characteristics on Elopements and Length of Stay. Journal of Emergency Medicine. 2014;46(6):839-846.


Handel D, Epstein S, Khare R, Abernethy D, Klauer K, Pilgrim R, Soremekun O, Sayan O. Interventions to Improve the Timeliness of Emergency Care. Academic Emergency Medicine. 2011;18:1295-1302.


Handel DA, Pines J, Aronsky D, Genes N, Ginde AA, Hackman J, Hilton JA, Hwang U, Kamali M, Powell E, Sattarian M, Fu R. Variations in Crowding and Ambulance Diversion in Nine Emergency Departments. Academic Emergency Medicine. 2011;18(9):941-946.

Teaching Approach and Philosophy

The power of adult learning is matching professional experiences with the science and guiding principles that lead to those outcomes. When we are able to marry the two worlds together, a much deeper level of understanding and appreciation emerges. Throughout my career, I have gone back and forth between what I have seen in my leadership and clinical roles and what is in the literature. Finding the common themes between the two has helped me not only elevate my effectiveness as a leader, but also enjoy the experience and learning along the journey. This is my goal in working with students in their respective paths.

Gayle Kricke, MSW, PhD

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Gayle Kricke

Gayle Kricke is Director of Operations, Primary Care Administration at Northwestern Medicine with responsibility over operations, performance, and strategy within a large multispecialty practice. She also holds system responsibility for Primary Care service line strategy. In addition to clinical operations, Gayle has experience in healthcare quality, patient safety, geriatric social work, and healthcare policy. She earned her undergraduate degree in Education and Social Policy at Northwestern University and her Master of Social Work as a McGregor Geriatric Fellow at University of Michigan. She also holds a doctoral degree in Healthcare Quality and Patient Safety from Northwestern University's Feinberg School of Medicine.


Phd, Northwestern University

MSW, University of Michigan

BS, Northwestern University

Relevant Work

Northwestern Medicine, Director of Operations (2019-Present)

Northwestern Medicine, Clinical Quality Leader (2016-2019)

Rush University Medical Center, Program Coordinator (2009-2013)

Selected Publications

Kricke G, Roemer P, Barnard C, Piepert JD, Henschen BL, Bierman JA, Blahnik D, Grant M, & Linder JA. Rapid Implementation of an Outpatient Covid-19 Monitoring Program. NEJM Catalyst. 2020 June. https://catalyst.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/cat.20.0214.

Kricke G, Woods D, Arbaje A, Jordan N. Nonsymptomatic Factors More Strongly Associated with High-Quality End-of-Life Care than Symptomatic Factors for Community-Dwelling Older Adults with Multiple Chronic Conditions. J Palliat Med. 2019 May;22(5):522-531. doi: 10.1089/jpm.2018.0389. Epub 2019 Jan 7. PubMed PMID: 30614749; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC6531899.

Kricke GS, Carson MB, Lee YJ, Benacka C, Mutharasan RK, Ahmad FS, Kansal P, Yancy CW, Anderson AS, Soulakis ND. Leveraging electronic health record documentation for Failure Mode and Effects Analysis team identification. J Am Med Inform Assoc. 2017 Mar 1;24(2):288-294. doi: 10.1093/jamia/ocw083. PubMed PMID: 27589944; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC5391722.

Shier G, Ginsburg M, Howell J, Volland P, Golden R. Strong social support services, such as transportation and help for caregivers, can lead to lower health care use and costs. Health Affairs (Millwood). 2013;32(3):544-51. PMID: 23459734.


Fellow, Institute of Medicine Chicago

Recent Courses Taught

HQS 502: Advanced Patient Safety (Northwestern University)

HLTH COM 469: Dialogues and Change (Northwestern University)

MSBI 31500: Ethics and Policy Questions: Genomics, Health Care, and Big Data (University of Chicago)

Teaching Approach and Philosophy

I have been teaching Masters-level students for nearly 10 years in multiple healthcare-related programs. I find joy in helping students make sense of the complicated world of health care and assisting them in finding where they can make a contribution. I bring my work experience in social work, healthcare policy, quality, safety, research, and operations to my teaching through real-world examples of successes, mistakes, and how to learn from both. I blend a mix of theory and practical application in my courses, allowing students to understand why organizations behave the way they do, while also making the information accessible and immediately applicable to students' daily work outside the classroom.

Michael Manka

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Michael MankaMichael Manka is the Vice President of Administration at Northwestern Medicine responsible for the health system’s formation of imaging and radiation therapy services along with NM’s Proton Center. He also has responsibility for clinical operations within the Radiology and Radiation Oncology at Northwestern Memorial Hospital and multiple regional hospitals and facilities. He has experience in healthcare operations, quality, process improvement, finance and strategy. He earned his Bachelor of Science in Biology at Saint Louis University and his Master of Business Administration at Roosevelt University.


Master of Business Administration, Roosevelt University

Bachelor of Science - Biology, Saint Louis University

Diane Muench

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Photo of Diane MuenchDiane Muench (she/her/hers) has worked as a nurse and healthcare leader for over 35 years in a variety of healthcare delivery settingsincluding ICU, home infusion care, oncology care coordination, and as a medical editor creating electronic medical reference materials in multiplespecialties. Over the years, Muench has acquired training, skills, and experience in both patient-facing and clinical leadership roles as an administrator, nursemanager, vice president of editorial services, director of professional services, and manager and director at the Lurie Cancer Center of Northwestern University.

Muench currently serves as the Associate Chief Nurse Executive and Director of Professional Practice and Development at Northwestern Medicine. Her experience, ranging from patient-facing care to oversight of corporate healthcare initiatives, gives her a comprehensive clinical and organizational perspective when navigating healthcare leadership challenges and opportunities. She is committed to healthcare quality and safety as a foundation forinnovative and creative program development and is dedicated to process improvement with the goal of providing the highest quality care to patients.

David C Ruhland JD

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Photo of David RuhlandDavid Ruhland is currently the HR Business Partner responsible for labor relations with Northwestern Memorial HealthCare. Prior to joining Northwestern Medicine Ruhland held similar leadership positions with University of Chicago Medical Center and Chicago Public Schools. His career has supported organizations as they navigate the interface between union and management relations. Beyond the labor relations aspect of his work, supporting and coaching those charged with guiding the work of others to shift from managers to leaders has been at the heart of the work.


Juris Doctor/T.M. Cooley Law School

MS Engineering/Michigan State University

Relevant Work

HR Business Partner, NMH Chicago

Employee and Labor Relations Manager, UCMC

Director Human Resources, Oak Park River Forest HS

Director Employee Engagement, CPS

Asst. Supt. HR/Labor Relations, Farmington PS (MI)

Teaching Approach and Philosophy

I view education as the opportunity to share perspectives and explore how the past can inform our future. My work has been substantially focused on applying the legal and operational barriers to the management of employees from an employer's perspective. However, recognizing that regardless of the setting or the role, every employee represents the human capital that we invest in heavily. With that context my philosophy of teaching leans on understanding the structures that in many ways inform our work, as well as imparting a perspective as to how we navigate within the structures while creating and building upon the culture we desire in the workplace. One informs us what we CAN do, while the other challenges us to ask what we SHOULD do.

Danny Sama

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Danny Sama

Danny Sama is the Vice President, Information Services & Chief Data Executive for Northwestern Medicine and leads the integrated academic health system’s reporting and analytics teams in support of the strategic plan and organizational goals. He has experience in healthcare analytics in a variety of areas, including clinical/market research, hospital quality & safety, and health system strategy & planning. He earned his undergraduate degree in Management Information Systems from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and his MBA from Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management.


MBA, Kellogg School of Management (Northwestern)

BS, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Relevant Work

Northwestern Medicine, VP & Chief Data Executive (2009 - Present)

Vizient, Senior Research Specialist (2005 - 2009)

ICON plc (2002 - 2005)

Teaching Philosophy

I've been teaching in the MSHA program since 2020. This is the first course that I have developed and taught, as my career focus has been within industry. I have worked in healthcare analytics my entire career since 2002, first in the life sciences domain but then in the provider space since 2005. As a current health system executive, I try to bring my industry experience in leading a large analytics team to my courses through discussion posts and synchronous sessions. My goal for the courses I teach is to bring real-world experience with concepts & skills through hand-on programming, much like analysts learn on the job. I enjoy seeing students progress in a course and that inflection point that occurs when the skills start to click for each individual.

John Stoebe

Contact Information

John StoebeJohn Stoebe is currently a Program Director at Northwestern Medicine (NM) in clinical documentation integrity. He began his healthcare career at the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics as a health policy and administration fellow before coming to NM's transplant department. In all of his roles Stoebe has engaged in the analysis, interpretation and application of healthcare policy to practice within an academic medical center. His passion lies in maximizing the quality, opportunity and equity of healthcare.


Master of Health Administration, University of Iowa

Juris Doctor, University of Iowa

Bachelor of Business Administration, University of Iowa

Colorado Bar License

Iowa Bar License

Relevant Work

Program Director, Northwestern Medicine; 2021 - present

Performance Director, Northwestern Medicine; 2018 - 2021

Healthcare Policy and Administration Fellow, University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics; 2017 - 2018

Meg Templeton

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Meg Templeton

Meg Templeton is the Director of Operations and Department Administrator for Northwestern Medicine, Northwestern University. She is a dynamic and detail-oriented professional with a multitude of experiences allowing for diversity of thought when creating solutions. She has experience in healthcare operations, possesses excellent problem-solving skills, and acumen in development and implementation of strategic plans. She earned her Bachelor of Science in Health Planning and Administration from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and her MHA from the University of Minnesota.


Master of Healthcare Administration at the University of Minnesota

Bachelor of Science - Health Planning and Administration from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Relevant Work

Director of Operations and Department Administrator - Northwestern Medicine

Program Director - Northwestern Medicine

Program Manager - Northwestern Medicine

Colleen Triplett

Contact Information

Photo of Colleen TriplettI completed my undergraduate degree in Business Administration and Economics from Coe College in Cedar Rapids, IA. I continued my education right after graduation and attended Rush University to obtain a master's in healthcare administration. I have been in healthcare my whole career (approx. 18 years) and not sure I could see myself in any other industry. I have worked at Vizient (formerly known as University HealthSystem Consortium), Weill Cornell Medicine, and Northwestern Memorial Healthcare. During these 18 years I have held a variety of roles from data analyst, project manager, to director over different portfolios.


MS, Healthcare Administration (Rush University, 2006)

BA, Business Administration & Economics (Coe College, 2004)

Professional Experience

Director, Compliance (Northwestern Memorial Healthcare)

Manager (Weill Cornell Medicine)

Senior Analyst (Vizient)

Courses Taught

HCA 405: Data Driven Healthcare Management: Why Data Matters

Teaching Philosophy

My teaching philosophy is to try and bring real world experience into the course content. I attended a practitioner master's program and having the relatable experience while going through the program providing context for students who may not necessarily have experience that directly relates. My whole career has been focused on using data whether is to inform a project timeline or whether we are identifying metrics to measure our success.

Christian Wallis

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Christian Wallis

Christian Wallis is currently the CEO of Grossmont Healthcare District where he provides operational and administrative oversight of the resources, assets, and programs that support the healthcare needs of approximately 500k people within the District’s 750 square miles in San Diego’s East County region. Prior to this, he worked for Advocate Aurora Health where his served as Regional Vice President (IL) of HIT Support Services, Vice President of Operations at Advocate Condell Medical Center and Director of Physician Practices (Pediatrics) at Advocate Children’s Hospital. Before working in the private sector, Wallis spent 21 years as an officer in the United States Navy where he served in numerous executive positions in the group practice, hospital and insurance settings. He earned his certification as a Fellow in the American College of Healthcare Executives in 2010. In 2012, he was selected as an examiner for the US Department of Commerce, Malcolm Baldrige program which oversees the nation's only Presidential award for performance excellence. He received his MBA from the University of Illinois at Chicago and doctorate in healthcare administration from Central Michigan University.

Current Research Interests

Public Health

Information Management

Organizational Behavior


Strategic Planning


Doctorate of Healthcare Administration, Central Michigan University

Masters in Business Administration, University of Illinois at Chicago

Bachelor of Arts (Political Science), University of Arizona

Relevant Work

CEO, May-Present, Grossmont Healthcare District

Regional VP HIT Support Services (IL), Jan-May 2021

Vice President of Operations, Advocate Condell Medical Center, Feb 2018-Dec 2020

Director of Physician Practices (Pediatrics), July 2014-Jan 2018

United States Navy, May 1993-June 2014


Fellow, American College of Healthcare Executives

Malcolm Baldrige Examiner, 2012

Sara Weisenberg

Contact Information

Sara WeisenbergSara Weisenberg is Director of Revenue Cycle Training and Quality at Northwestern Medicine, a leading academic healthcare system in the Chicago metropolitan area. During Sara’s 25-year career, she has garnered experience in revenue cycle operations, project management, and systems implementation. In 1993, Sara graduated from Washington University with a bachelor’s degree in Anthropology. In 1997, Sara graduated from Washington University School of Medicine, earning a master’s degree in Health Administration. Sara is an active member of Healthcare Financial Management Association, is a Certified Healthcare Financial Professional (CHFP), and is currently serving as Co-Chair of the HFMA Certification Committee.


Masters in Health Administration, Washington University

Bachelors of Science in Anthropology, Washington University

Andy Witt

Contact Information

Photo of Andy WittAndy Witt (he/him) is the Director of Quality for Northwestern Medical Group, a multi-disciplinary academic medical group that is part of Northwestern Medicine. He holds a Bachelor’s degree in Biological Sciences from DePaul University and a Masters in Healthcare Administration from the University of Illinois Chicago. Prior to joining Northwestern Medicine, Witt has held quality and leadership roles at multiple healthcare organizations focused on acute care, home health, and pharmacy services

Research Interests

Healthcare Quality

Sexual and Gender Minority Healthcare

Health Equity

Process Improvement


Masters of Healthcare Administration (MHA), University of Illinois Chicago, 2015

Bachelor of Science, Biology, DePaul University, 2011


Lean Six Sigma Black Belt

Prosci Certified Change Practitioner

Relevant Professional Experience

Director, Quality, Northwestern Medicine, 2022 - current

Consultant, Transformation Management, Endeavor Health, 2020 - 2022

Manager, Quality Programs, Option Care Health, 2016 - 2020

Process Improvement Specialist, North Memorial Healthcare, 2015 - 2016

Classes Taught

HCA 410 Leading Quality Care and Ethical Compliance

Teaching Philosophy

My teaching philosophy emphasizes the importance of connecting theoretical knowledge with real-world applications. It prioritizes using personal and professional experiences as dynamic teaching tools, advocating for a curriculum that incorporates multiple points of view and project-based learning to simulate real-life challenges. Assessments focus on practical tasks and encouraging students to apply what they've learned. Ultimately, this approach aims to equip students with practical skills and a deep understanding of the subject matter, preparing them for successful careers and lifelong learning.

Aleksandar (Alex) Zafirovski

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Alex Zafirovski

Alex Zafirovski joined Northwestern Memorial Hospital in March 2001, as a Staff Radiation Therapist. After several years as a clinician, he was appointed Manager of the Department of Radiation Oncology. Prior to taking the current role of the Chief Administrative Officer for the Robert H. Lurie Cancer Comprehensive Cancer Center of Northwestern University, Alex was the Director of Clinical Operations in Oncology at the Northwestern Memorial Hospital. Alex has served on the Cancer Center Administrators Forum (CCAF), Association of American Cancer Institute’s (AACI), and International Oncology Leadership Conference (IOLC) Annual Meeting Planning Committees, is a site visit reviewer of cancer centers for designations by the National Cancer Institute (NCI), serves on several External Advisory Boards of top-ranked cancer centers, and is a Vice Chair of the Vizient’s Cancer Service Line Strategic Network. Alex is the inaugural President of the Association of Cancer Administrators (ACCA). In addition, Mr. Zafirovski holds position in the National Comprehensive Cancer Network (NCCN) Affiliate Forum, Vizient Oncology Quality and Accountability Advisory Group, serves on the Boards of Erie Neighborhood House and Mark Staehely Pediatric Cancer Foundation, and has held several positions in the American Society of Radiological Technologists (ASRT). Alex is a proud board-certified Radiation Therapist who graduated from Oakland University and completed his training at William Beaumont Hospital in Royal Oak, Michigan. He earned his Master of Business Administration degree from The University of Notre Dame.


MBA, University of Notre Dame

BS, Oakland University

Certified Radiation Therapist, William Beaumont Hospital

Relevant Work

Chief Adminstrative Officer, Robert H. Lurie Comprehensive Cancer Center of Northwestern University

Director of Oncology, Northwestern Memorial Hospital

Radiation Therapist, Northwestern Memorial Hospital

Selected Publications




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