Ken Howell is a proud GCU alumnus. He graduated from GCU with a Master of Science in Health Care Administration and is now working as executive VP of China operations at PreferUS Healthcare.
Howell began his healthcare career in marketing and sales but quickly learned that he wanted to advance to management and leadership roles. He was soon given the opportunity to progress to leadership positions of higher responsibility. During his U.S. healthcare career, he served as CEO for several hospitals and president of a large healthcare system.
Challenges and Rewards
Healthcare can be an arduous field to go into because it is rapidly changing. This makes it challenging, but as Howell says it is “also exciting as it makes sure that your work never becomes boring.” Howell has seen many changes during his healthcare career such as how care is delivered, how healthcare services are paid for and advance in healthcare technology. He explains, “Addressing these changes and finding solutions is rewarding.”
Current Role at PreferUS Healthcare
Currently, Howell lives in Shanghai, China as an executive VP of China operations for PreferUS Healthcare. The company partners with healthcare providers in China to make advances in care delivery by bringing western techniques and business practices to Chinese healthcare. Day to day, Howell spends time with leaders of hospitals in China and addresses their needs by identifying and introducing solutions.
The best part of the job is using what he learned from his experience in the U.S. to quickly impact Chinese hospitals. According to Howell, people in China are open to guidance and advice, as they view U.S. healthcare as being more clinically and operationally advanced than their current methods.
How GCU Has Impacted Howell’s Career
Howell went through his entire U.S. healthcare career with only a bachelor’s degree. He eventually returned to school to earn his master’s in healthcare administration to fulfill his personal goals and pursue an opportunity to serve in China. The Chinese government has particular requirements regarding work visas, and Howell’s advanced degree was essential in being able to work in healthcare in China.
Furthermore, Howell feels that GCU’s coursework was relevant to all aspects of healthcare leadership and the delivery of healthcare services, so the concepts translated well to his daily work and practice, even in Chinese healthcare.
GCU’s College of Nursing and Health Care Professions, according to Howell, offered an exceptional online platform that made it possible for him to complete his master’s program while also traveling extensively.
Earning an MS in Healthcare Administration
Howell believes that earning a master’s in healthcare administration is definitely worth the time and investment. Since many people are busy working and taking care of their families, earning this degree is a big commitment, but Howell believes “the result is something that will not only advance your career but also give you personal pride in what you have been able to accomplish.”
Hiring Healthcare Professionals
When hiring healthcare professionals, Howell looks for individuals who have traits beyond the experience and education to do the job. He looks for self-motivation, drive and a well-developed moral compass. He believes individuals who are trustworthy and hardworking and who show integrity are people who succeed.
Advice for Students
To students considering a healthcare profession, Howell says, “Healthcare is a terrific field that is in demand in the future.” Healthcare is on the rise, and if you feel called to this field, then go for it! There is a wide range of careers to choose from, and the future is bright for healthcare professionals.
If you are interested in pursuing a career in healthcare, check out GCU’s healthcare degrees. To learn more, click the Request More Information button on this page or visit the GCU website.
Written by Allison Richmond, an English with an emphasis in professional writing major at GCU.