7/1/2021 - -
“What we find is that if you have a goal that is very, very far out, and you approach it in little steps, you start to get there faster. Your mind opens up to the possibilities.” ~ Mae Jemison
My high school biology teacher, Mr. Henry, had a friend for every disease. His friend Tommy contracted yellow fever in the Navy. His acquaintance Bill needed a kidney transplant. Sara, his college lab partner, conquered breast cancer. Each time we studied a new portion of the body and everything that could go wrong with it, Mr. Henry provided yet another anecdote. He was able to capture the importance of what we were learning and make it personally relatable rather than a dry set of scientific facts.
Sometime in between the heart and the digestive system, I fell in love with healthcare. That led me to the HCM program at Wharton and led me to my current career in oncology new product strategy and business development. So many years later, it’s humbling to think about the long-lasting impact that one person can have on someone else’s life.
In turn, I’m energized by the impact that our committed, passionate alumni can have as we look towards the possibilities of the future. We are at an inflection point right now, where we all have the ability to shape the future of healthcare after one of the most disruptive and personally difficult experiences of our lives.
I am excited to be taking the reins as WHCMAA President from my dear friend, Maria Whitman (WG’05). A huge thank you to her and all of our departing board members for their incredible service, passion, and ideas: Ed Chan (WG’11), Amy Fitzpatrick (WG’93), Diana Peng (WG ’14, Secretary), Visali Ramanathan (WG’15), Amanda Wyatt (WG’17), and Reed van Gorden (WG’12).
Please congratulate our re-elected board members, Marisa Bass, WG’14, Laura Brady Saade, WG’93, Deepa Shah, WG’16, and John Winkelman, WG’80 and welcome to the WHCMAA Board our newly elected members, Katie Ellias, WG’06, Michele Gallucci, WG’93, Nate Handley, WG’18, Kenny Kasper, WG’21, Michael Rovinsky, WG’86, Heidi Sprang, WG’02, and Bhuvan Srinivasan, WG’11.
As we enter our next fiscal year, I’m looking forward to crafting our vision and priorities with our new Executive Committee – Katherine Godiksen (WG’15, Vice President), Carrie Hiebeler (WG’05, Secretary), and Chris Simpkins (WG’02, Treasurer) – and the rest of the board.
The pillars of our WHCMAA mission are:
- Support the Wharton Healthcare Management Program and its students
- Contribute to the lifelong learning of its membership
- Contribute to the healthcare sector through service, leadership, and education
We have a lot of exciting possibilities ahead of us as we continue to fulfill this mission, and as we create the future of healthcare step-by-step, together.
Speaking of being together, I’m looking forward to seeing you in person in Philadelphia when that becomes possible, and I’m also excited to consider which adaptations we may want to continue in the future. For example, at our virtual class happy hour in March, I had the opportunity to catch up with my dear friend, Hareesh Nair WG ’08, who was on my learning team. Because Hareesh lives in Singapore and I live in Philadelphia, we don’t get to see each other nearly enough, so it felt so good to be able to catch up over video.
Please reach out if you have any thoughts, questions, or suggestions to share. Enjoy the rest of your summer.
Heather Aspras, WG’08
President, Wharton Health Care Management Alumni Association
Contact Heather at: