Assistant Faculty Director Holly Fernandez Lynch, JD, MBE offers some tips on what the admissions committee would like to see in each section of the application. If you have additional questions, contact Katherine Ridella at MEHPonline@pennmedicine.upenn.edu or 215-573-9378.
Who are we looking for?
The admissions committee strives to build a diverse cohort of people with varied experiences related to health care who can learn from each other, grow together, and create a professional resource network. That includes established and emerging leaders—whether they are clinicians, administrators, executives, researchers, or technologists, or they hold other roles. They share a common ability to see real-world problems in health care and have a strong desire to contribute to improving them.
We expect applicants to have at least 3 years of post-graduate experience in a field related to health care so that they have a solid foundation for applying what they learn and can contribute their informed perspective to class discussions and their course work. Applicants whose experience is outside--but related to--the health care sector may apply but must clearly demonstrate in their personal statement how their experience will translate into an impactful career in health care.
The most important thing that we look for in applicants is demonstrated leadership capacity or potential. This can be on any scale, from playing a leadership role on your local team to leading a health system, and it can be formal or informal. The MHCI program sharpens the skills you need to identify, develop, and implement health care innovations. Show us that you are in—or are on your way toward—an environment that will allow you to put those skills to work.
The other thing we look for, of course, is the discipline and commitment to succeed in the program. It is rigorous, time-consuming, and challenging. It’s important to demonstrate that you will have the ability to commit 13–15 hours most weeks to your studies. The further out you are from prior school work, the more we will rely on your professional accomplishments and reputation to assess your ability to successfully complete program requirements. If you are a relatively recent graduate, we will pay closer attention to your transcripts; if they don’t tell us the whole story, explain why in your personal statement.
What should the personal statement include?
The personal statement offers an opportunity to help us understand:
- The specific reasons why you view the program as the right fit at this stage in your career development
- What skills you are hoping to acquire and how you plan to put them to use
- What your goals are upon graduation
The personal statement is also the place to elaborate on any elements of your résumé and educational background in response to the 4 desired qualities listed above.
What's important in the recommendations?
Instead of providing a letter, your recommenders will be asked to fill out a form describing your innovation and leadership-related qualities, and how you might apply skills learned in the program. Your recommendations should ideally come from professional supervisors and mentors, although they may also come from professors who know you well enough to speak to the criteria above. Soliciting recommendations from peers is usually not recommended. The most helpful recommendation responses will describe:
- how the recommender anticipates you will benefit from this program
- your capacity to use what you learn to lead innovation in health care, whether in ways big or small.
In summary, what does the admissions committee focus on when reviewing applications?
- Your ability to successfully complete the course work, master the skills presented, and satisfy the requirements of the program.
- Your potential to become a leader in health care innovation, with the capacity to influence your current or future workplace, whether at a team level or across an entire health care system. Show us that you are in—or are on your way toward—an environment that will allow you to put those skills to work.
- Your specific career goals and why this is the right program for you.
- How your experience and perspective will contribute to both the cohort and the program’s mission: to forge a diverse network of innovative thinkers and leaders passionate about improving health care.
We hope this provides some clarity to the process and we look forward to considering your application to join the next cohort of health care innovation leaders!