Suzanne Lagarde ’14
MBA for Executives; CEO, Fair Haven Community Health Center
It’s a big thing to know that you’ve been with the best and you’ve learned from the best.
This past fall, I was appointed chief executive officer at Fair Haven Community Health Center in New Haven. We serve nearly 17,000 patients, and the majority are either on Medicaid or have no insurance. I don’t think I would have even considered this new position without the confidence that the MBA for Executives program has given me.
I’m a gastroenterologist, and I was in private practice for 30 years. I wanted to transition into a role where I could impact a greater number of patients. There were lots of things in healthcare that I saw as problems, but I felt that I just did not have the tools to address them. I didn’t speak the language. I didn’t have the financial background. I thought the best route to achieve this goal would be an MBA.
I had some doubts, wondering whether at my age it made sense to make such a big leap, but I have not regretted one minute. Every day that I’m in class, I have all these insights coming my way, and then I go out and try to implement them. The students come from all parts of the country and, more importantly, from all sectors of the healthcare industry, which really informs the conversation. Everybody brings different skill sets.
The program really stresses leadership and helps you develop those skills. I was just up in Hartford this morning, speaking with the commissioner of the state Department of Social Services about Medicaid issues and how we deliver care to the hundreds of thousands of recipients in Connecticut. It all goes back to the issue of confidence. It’s a big thing to know that you’ve been with the best and you’ve learned from the best, and that in fact you have something important to say and you can say it with clarity.