Alumni Spotlight: Matt Nichols
What year did you graduate from CPH and what is your degree?
Master of Public Health, Health Policy and Management (2014) and Doctor of Philosophy in Public Health, Heath Policy Management (2018).
In a nutshell, what do you do?
As an accountable care organization (ACO) data and reporting analyst with the University Hospitals Population Health team, I provide analytical support as part of the data science and analytics team, and also support quality and community benefit initiatives.
What are you working on right now?
Some of the items I am currently working on include a Fractal Management Training toolkit, an interactive data dashboard redesign, and an updated process flow for a core organizational assessment.
Why did you choose this path?
In many ways, this path chose me. Upon completion of my undergraduate studies, I originally intended to relocate to California and study Enology and Viticulture at California State University in Fresno. Instead, I spent nearly six years in the College of Public Health pursuing my MPH and Ph.D., and am slated to graduate this coming spring with an MBA from another local institution.
Why do you love what you do?
I am profoundly interested in organizational design and system-level work, and in so many ways, the analytics capabilities that drive change in a Population Health program have collateral benefits across a healthcare organization and provide opportunities and insight for system-level change and improvement. Identifying these collateral 'win-wins' is satisfying.
How did your KSU CPH education prepare you for your current work in Public Health?
As a product of the KSU CPH curriculum and graduate assistantship work, I was introduced to a variety of projects and topics, all of which have informed a well-rounded collection of perspectives, content knowledge, interests, and technical acumen.
What are the most rewarding and challenging aspects of your work?
In a Taoist sense, the necessary speed of change occurring in the Population Health space is rewarding in the challenge. Given that all of this change eventually translates into the health of our community, having the opportunity to be a part of and inform this transformation, and knowing that it will ultimately touch people that I know and love, is undoubtedly the greatest reward.
Was there a seminal moment for you at KSU CPH?
Early on in my MPH studies, I was able to support a county community health needs assessment with a group of KSU CPH faculty and students. That process, and the subsequent response to the information by the hospitals for which the work was completed, was formative.
What advice would you give to current Public Health students?
Get involved outside of the classroom, and be relentless in your commitment to make connections, continue learning, leverage different perspectives, and maintain a sense of curiosity.