For Joshua Matheny, the School of Public Health has been just one stop along the way to a career in health administration.
“My interest in healthcare management started when I was in the military,” he said. “I had a two-year clinical medicine rotation that sparked my interest in an administrative approach to healthcare.”
While serving as a hospital corpsman at the Naval Health Clinic Cherry Point, Matheny was involved in patient care for active-duty military members and their dependents. Hospital corpsmen fulfill a variety of duties across departments from assisting in operations to dispensing vaccines. After learning more about healthcare management from a command mentor, he decided to pursue a bachelor’s degree in the field, beginning his education at the American Military University and later transferring to the Health Services Management and Leadership program at WVU.
“I chose WVU for my education because I am fortunate enough to have a state university in my hometown,” Matheny said. “A lot of my fellow military members were not able to be as close to family and receive a quality education.
“My military experience helped me significantly because I had been in roles of healthcare management and responsibilities through the Navy. As a Navy corpsman, I came into this program with an understanding of hospital operations, jargon and expectations of a healthcare manager.”
Throughout his time at WVU, Matheny has been able to gain more hands-on experience in healthcare management. During his required field placement experience, Matheny had the opportunity to continue working at WVU Medicine J.W. Ruby Memorial Hospital where he has worked for the past two years as a telemetry monitory technician. As the department prepared for a unit merger, Matheny assisted in preparations.
“I spent a majority of the summer preparing the transfer of employees, creating a training tracker for a new position and assisted with the development of new department policies,” he said.
Matheny believes this experience, among others, has prepared him for a future within healthcare management.
“The School of Public Health taught me a new aspect of medicine that I was not yet familiar with,” he said. “It has also shown me the importance of public health for communities and how it can contribute to improving lives.”
Following graduation this December, Matheny plans to pursue a Master of Health Administration online at WVU while continuing his role at J.W. Ruby Memorial Hospital.
Matheny’s advice to students interested in WVU and the School of Public Health is to find a mentor and talk to people within the fields they aspire to work in.
“Mentors can explain how they got to their current position and provide guidance to direct students on the right path,” he said. “There are several concentrations in the public health program which gives students the opportunity to try different things and find the right path for them.”