Student spotlight -- Stephen Hrinda

Student spotlight -- Stephen Hrinda

Posted 9.24.07

In which program are you enrolled?
I am currently a second-year full-time graduate student in the joint MBA MPH (public health) program concentrating on health systems management. In addition, I am participating in the Cleveland Clinic Health Management Scholars Program.

What do you hope to accomplish in your time here at the Weatherhead School?
Cleveland is a great place to be for anyone focusing on health care. My experiences and contacts at Weatherhead are providing me with ample opportunities to benefit from all of the health care resources this city has to offer. I want to learn as much as I possibly can about health care policy and administration, both in the classroom and through work experience. Over the course of my academic career, I have taken an interdisciplinary approach to studying health care, from biology, research, economics, and bioethics as an undergraduate to business, public health and technology commercialization in graduate school. Through the Weatherhead School, I hope to acquire the knowledge and skills necessary to analyze health care issues from all perspectives.

Where did you grow up?
Fairview, Pennsylvania, a small town just west of Erie, Pennsylvania.

What brought you to the Weatherhead School?
The Cleveland Clinic Health Management Scholars Program. I received similar offers from the Weatherhead School and the Simon School of Business at the University of Rochester, but ultimately the guaranteed internship at the Cleveland Clinic and the strong health care orientation of the Health Systems Management track convinced me to enroll at the Weatherhead School after my undergraduate studies at Case Western Reserve. My experiences, as well as the students, faculty, and course offerings at the Weatherhead School have certainly fulfilled all of my expectations and validated my decision.

On a more personal note, because I had an additional season of collegiate eligibility in cross country and track remaining, the only way I could participate in varsity athletics was to stay at Case Western Reserve. It turned out to be the right decision. Last year, I won an NCAA Postgraduate Scholarship, was runner-up for the NCAA Walter Byers Award, ran a big personal record of 14:34.50 for 5,000 meters, placed ninth in the 5,000-meter run at the NCAA Division III Outdoor Track and Field Championships (just one place away from being All-American), and earned First Team Academic All-American honors.

Do you have any thoughts about what type of career you would like to pursue upon completion of your degree?
I am definitely enjoying my internship at Cleveland Clinic Innovations, focusing on technology commercialization while working with the New Ventures and Business Development team. With new innovations coming into the office every week, it can be a very dynamic and stimulating work environment. I love being on the cutting edge of health care, so whenever I start working on a project for a different spin-off company, I try to learn everything I can that is relevant to that business. As a biology major in my undergraduate studies, I developed a love for science; however, my true passion is actually applying science to society. The entire team at CCF Innovations has been great to work with -- they have given me a lot of freedom and responsibility, and have been very willing to teach me about their work. I am very happy to have the opportunity to continue my work there on a part-time basis during the academic year.

I am also very excited about my Action Learning project at the Cleveland Clinic, which is focusing on quality and process of care improvement. This is one other area of health care in which I have a strong interest, especially because the work is related to my public health studies. Depending on my experience in Action Learning, this may be another potential career path of interest for me.

Aside from my interests in health care, I also have a strong desire to work for a company that focuses on physical fitness (endurance sports) and/or environmental sustainability if the opportunity arises. Whether these interests play out as a future career or extracurricular activities remains to be seen. In the long-term, my ultimate goal has to be starting my own business, although I don't have any concrete ideas just yet.

What do you like to do in your spare time?
I am a very competitive distance runner. Unfortunately, since finishing my last season of collegiate eligibility, I have been forced to spend some time away from running to rehabilitate a nagging and rather persistent Achilles tendon injury. However, I am still keeping active by bicycling, playing soccer, lifting weights and doing lots of physical therapy exercises.

Outside of exercise, I really try to make a point of staying in touch with the most important people in my life. Naturally, I spend lots of quality time with my family, my girlfriend, and a few close friends. In addition, I actively keep in touch with a small group of friends from high school as well as several runners from other colleges.

What is the last good book you have recently read or are currently reading?
Reading is definitely one of my favorite things to do. Over the summer I read Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov, Big Sur by Jack Kerouac, Breakfast of Champions by Kurt Vonnegut and a biography of Bill Bowerman by Kenny Moore. They were all fantastic books and each one had its own very unique style and subject matter.

However, without enough free time to concentrate on a full book during the school year, I focus my reading on collections of short stories by Vladimir Nabokov and Ernest Hemingway, which provide a great way to relax before going to sleep after a full night of homework.

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