Jindal School Student Receives Award for Insights About Physician Leadership


Zachary Mauricio

Zachary Mauricio

A Jindal School BS in Healthcare Management student earned recognition at a recent national meeting of the American College of Healthcare Executives for a winning essay he wrote about leadership challenges facing the industry.

Zachary Mauricio, a junior, placed second and won $2,000 in the undergraduate division of the Richard J. Stull Student Essay Competition in Healthcare Management. He picked up his honors in Chicago in late March at the healthcare executives’ three-day Congress on Healthcare Leadership.

A 40,000-member international professional organization devoted to advancing healthcare management excellence, ACHE organizes the annual Stull competition. It provides students an opportunity to engage with industry leaders and to vie for ACHE’s most prestigious student award.

Mauricio’s paper, “Quality Labor Program: Physician Leadership Following the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act (MACRA),” points out the importance of allowing physicians to become more like managers to facilitate the industry’s transition from fee- to quality-based models.

“It’s going to come down to whether hospital systems, hospitals and clinics train their doctors this way,” Mauricio said. “You have to train leadership over months and years — it’s not an instantaneous thing.”

At the Jindal School, the new Center for Healthcare Leadership and Management is addressing such concerns. The center facilitates collaboration among the school’s six academic programs in healthcare to offer industry-responsive education to prepare graduates to taking leading roles in the changing landscape of medicine.

Dr. Britt Berrett, director of both the undergraduate healthcare management program and the center, was thrilled about Mauricio’s win.

“The student essay is a nationally recognized award for exemplary academic scholarship,” he said. “Students from across the country are challenged to consider contemporary healthcare issues — and to provide their thoughts and insights. … It is a very insightful and purposeful essay.”

Held annually since 1989, the Stull competition is open to students enrolled in a healthcare administration program belonging to the ACHE Higher Education Network. It requires that students thoroughly research and write about one of a variety of topics related to healthcare management.

As one of the top three entries in the undergraduate division (three awards are also given in the graduate division), Mauricio attended the March 27-30 ACHE congress as a guest of the organization.

Contest rules required that students produce a high-quality essay of up to 15 pages that demonstrated significance to the industry, innovativeness in approach, thoroughness and precision in developing the subject, practical usefulness for guiding management action and clarity and conciseness in expression — including careful attention to grammar. Submissions required an executive summary, endnotes and bibliography.

“I wanted to challenge myself,” Mauricio said about his research project. “I want to be a greater part of the healthcare system. I want to be able to change things and be able to help people.”

Mauricio said he has had extensive surgeries, including two heart surgeries — one when he was six and one as a teenager.

“I turned 18 in the hospital,” he said. “Healthcare saved my life — twice. I saw the industry from the perspective of a young child and then when I was older. Looking back, I can see why that perspective is important.”

“I came into UTD as a biology major,” Mauricio said, “and I did very well in science, but it wasn’t very interesting to me. I heard about Dr. Berrett and his program … so I reached out to him. After I spoke with him it all clicked for me,” he said.