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Jeremy Kennedy in front of welcome wall graphic.

Navigating the Health Care Industry

At St. Thomas, Jeremy Kennedy ’18 has learned not just how to navigate the health care industry, but how to communicate effectively within it.

“Leaders are looking for people who know how to communicate,” he said. “Health care is complex and takes a long time to get caught up. My degree has helped me become a better consultant as a health care writer.”

The MS in Health Care Communication program is an interactive, one-year program developed in collaboration with senior health care industry leadership. It merges health care industry knowledge with communications expertise to help students become authorities in health care communication.

Students progress through the program with a group of peers to maximize instructor attention and build relationships with fellow students. Working alongside his cohort has helped Kennedy grow in his career.

“We all bring in different health care situations and perspectives,” he said. “One of my classmates worked in a similar communications role at Mayo Clinic. We talked a lot about specific job situations to help us move forward in our respective roles.”

His cohort comes from a variety of health care backgrounds – device sales, patient care, marketing and assisted living centers. “We all learned from each other how to communicate with all types of people in different work settings,” said Kennedy. “We dissected real-life examples of what’s worked and what hasn’t.”

Students experience a unique blend of classes in the health care program. Kennedy’s very first course in Management Priorities and the Communicator gave him a better understanding of what leaders are looking for in his type of role. A course in basic anatomy and physiology was also a pleasant surprise.

“In some ways anatomy felt like a weird part of the program,” Kennedy admitted. “But I definitely used what I learned when I talk with doctors now. They can talk about clinical care in a way that’s not watered down. As a health care communicator, it's important to understand their language and translate for our audiences.”

Kennedy continues his success at Fairview Health Services as Senior Communications Specialist. He’s busy working on pieces related to Accountable Care organizations; a key part of legislation in the Affordable Care Act.

The program’s flexibility was a plus for this working dad. It's also helped him grow his business acumen and get ahead in the communications field. “I love health care -- what it is and what it could be.”