Suffolk’s Healthcare Programs were recently nominated for the American College of Healthcare Executives (ACHE) annual Higher Education Network Award.

Massachusetts ACHE Regent Jack Bailey nominated Suffolk because its student chapter has demonstrated a strong commitment to the society. Bailey noted that Rick Gregg, operating director of Suffolk’s Healthcare Programs, has played an integral role in promoting student involvement.

“Rick is highly engaged in ACHE here in Massachusetts and is one of our most enthusiastic chapter members,” Bailey said. “I have found his advocacy for both the education of his students and their participation in the larger healthcare community through ACHE and our local Massachusetts chapter to be terrific,” he added.

Andrea Paciello, who served as the ACHE regent for Massachusetts for three years, has also worked closely with Suffolk’s Healthcare Programs. She said the collaboration fosters career development for students, while also allowing ACHE members to interact with the healthcare leaders of tomorrow. “I was very impressed with Rick’s support and advocacy of his students and their futures,” she said.

Bill Fleming (EMBA ‘83), president of the ACHE of Massachusetts, has enjoyed working with Suffolk’s “high-caliber students” over the years. The nomination recognizes the faculty’s commitment to student engagement with the ACHE, he explained.

For current students, like MBA/Health student Lauren Mountain, the ACHE offers important career resources and networking opportunities. “Joining and participating in ACHE was a must for me since I feel like I have much to learn from the vast industry of healthcare administration,” Mountain said.

In particular, she found the annual ACHE Congress on Healthcare Leadership in Chicago to be an eye-opening experience. “I realized that despite the fact that I’m starting fresh in healthcare, I’m not alone, and the multitude of other experience I bring with me will be valuable and respected. For this, I’m very grateful,” said Mountain, who received financial support from the ACHE of Massachusetts to attend Congress, where she served as a program assistant. She plans to attend more events in the future.

Namrata Patel, an MHA student from India, joined the ACHE to gain a deeper understanding of the U.S. healthcare system. “Given that the Indian Healthcare system differs so much from here, I have to start from scratch to really understand the U.S. healthcare industry,” she said.

Many MHA alumni remain active members of the ACHE after graduation. For instance, earlier this year, Jaclene Coit (MHA ’11) and Jenni Bendfeldt (MHA ’11) were elected to serve on the ACHE Early Careerist Network (ECN) Leadership Team for the Massachusetts Chapter. Coit is serving as chairperson-elect, and Bendfelt is serving as the new vice chair for the Community and Member Advancement Committee. Both served as student liaisons during their time at Suffolk.

“The ACHE is our premier professional society, and I have encouraged all of our healthcare students to join it and get involved. Those who are involved derive considerable benefit, including learning at the conferences and networking with healthcare professionals. In the spring semester, more than one-third of our students were ACHE student members, and my goal is to have more than one-half of our students as members in the coming year,” said Gregg, who is a member of the Program Committee of the ACHE of Massachusetts.