Five health policy and management alumni selected for NCHA Diversity Mentorship Program

October 21, 2019

Five health policy and management alumni were selected to participate in the 2019 NCHA Diversity Mentoring Program.

Five health policy and management alumni were selected to participate in the 2019 NCHA Diversity Mentoring Program.

Five alumni of the UNC Gillings School of Public Health have been selected to participate in a new mentorship program run by the North Carolina Healthcare Foundation (NCHA) with the aim of creating a culture of inclusion for up-and-coming leaders in the health care field. The Healthcare Leadership Diversity Mentoring Program, which is a year-long initiative, will pair executives from Atrium Health, the Scotland Healthcare System and the North Carolina Healthcare Association with graduates from the Gillings School’s Health Policy and Management program. The five graduates are:

  • Alina Nadira Clarke (BSPH ’16, MSPH ’18), Strategic Growth and Business Development Analyst, Mission Health/HCA North Carolina Division
  • Geard Fossett (MHA ‘18), Corporate Financial Analyst, Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center
  • Candace Gaillard (MHA ’16), Diabetes Program Manager, Novant Health
  • Cinthya Guadalupe Garcia (MHA ’16), Quality Improvement Facilitators, Cone Health
  • LeVelton Thomas (MHA ’13), Program Director, Operations & Management Services, Private Diagnostic Clinics, PLLC | Duke Health
Dr. Morris Weinberger

Dr. Morris Weinberger

“The Department of Health Policy and Management at the Gillings School is committed to recruiting, training and preparing a diverse and inclusive population of students who will work and be future leaders in health care administration after graduation,” said Morris Weinberger, PhD, Vergil N. Slee Distinguished Professor of Healthcare Quality Management and chair of the health policy and management department. “I’m pleased that NCHA is committed to mentoring these young professionals of color. It’s initiatives like this one that will result in N.C. retaining strong talent to join our hospitals and health care systems across the state. This is clearly a formula for developing effective leaders.”

Reducing health care inequity requires identifying potential leaders who can provide diverse perspectives and giving them the tools to create accessible solutions that address the needs of shifting patient demographics and underserved communities. Just as professors volunteer their time as mentors for students, so too is it necessary for leaders in practice to support their colleagues as a means of creating an authentic culture of inclusion.

“This new mentoring program reflects our Foundation’s vision to create a North Carolina where high quality health care is equitable and accessible for all,” said Julia Wacker, senior vice president of the North Carolina Healthcare Foundation. “Our state needs diverse health care leaders to help advance those objectives, as well as to bring fresh ideas and perspectives to challenging issues like improving rural health and fixing our fragmented behavioral health care environment.”

The mentorship program will provide alumni and future health care leaders with valuable support and in-depth insight on business development areas such as financial management, staff coaching, negotiating skills, and organizational and functional leadership.

“Because Gillings is a School of Global Public Health, it attracts a very diverse faculty and student body,” said Garcia, a 2016 Master of Healthcare Administration alumna and one of the five mentees from the Gillings School. “The School’s curriculum prepares students to see the field of public health through a global lens and encourages bringing together diverse people, ideas and experiences as teams tackle public health issues. This aligns perfectly with NCHA’s mission to help prepare the next generation of diverse health care leaders. This program will be important not only to prepare us for the next step in our careers, but also to connect us with experienced leaders in the industry who are willing to provide guidance and mentorship.”

LeVelton Thomas, a 2013 Master of Healthcare Administration alumnus, has found that many of his colleagues, supervisors and mentors have been alumni of the Gillings School, and this connection has afforded him opportunities that otherwise may have not been available.

“I hope the NCHA Healthcare Leadership Diversity Mentorship Program offers a similar inclusive and supportive culture to the one I found at Gillings,” he said. “I’m very excited to get started and learn from the accomplished health care leaders who have volunteered their time as part of this program.”

Contact the Gillings School of Global Public Health communications team at

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