Dr. Kolby Redd, a two-time Arnold School of Public Health (University of South Carolina) alumna and the Director of Community Health for the Mid-Atlantic Affiliate of the American Heart Association, received the Early Career Healthcare Executive Regent’s Award from the American College of Healthcare Executives (ACHE) at the South Carolina Hospital Association’s annual meeting in January. This award honors ACHE members who advance healthcare management excellence through their leadership ability, innovative and creative management, development of their organizations, and participation in hospital and health association activities, community projects, and ACHE activities.
[Photo: Dr. Kolby Redd (left) and president of Palmetto Health Mr. John Singerling ]
Though originally from Pennsylvania, Dr. Redd has called South Carolina home for several years now. In 2004 she started her bachelor’s degree in biology with a minor in health promotion, education, and behavior. As an undergrad, she began working in the emergency department at Palmetto Health Richland, a level one trauma hospital, where her interest in medicine and healthcare inspired her to pursue a Master of Health Administration (MHA) degree.
“After talking to several physicians that I worked with in the ER, I decided the MHA route would be best for me so that I could touch all areas of the hospital on a management level throughout my career,” Dr. Redd says. “I completed a post-graduate fellowship in Michigan at the Henry Ford Health System. While there, I knew I wanted to pursue my PhD, so I moved back to South Carolina and applied for the health services policy and management program (HSPM) doctoral program.”
During her PhD program, Dr. Redd gained experience in several areas through research projects and practical roles. She held positions with the College of Nursing’s Healthcare Process Redesign Center, the School of Medicine’s Department of Family and Preventive Medicine, and the Arnold School’s HSPM department. This breadth of experience has served Dr. Redd well so far during the early part of her career, and she recommends this approach to other students. “Try to get as much diverse experience as you can while you are a student because people are always willing to let you shadow and serve in intern or graduate assistantship positions to learn while you are a student,” says Dr. Redd. “It will help you figure out where you will be happy working full time when you complete your degree.”
She also suggests connecting with students and faculty within the program. “Network with your peers and mentors because they will be the ones referring you for jobs and calling you when there is an open position later,” Dr. Redd says.
Professors like HSPM’s Dr. Janice Probst and College of Nursing’s Dr. Rita Snyder played instrumental roles in Dr. Redd’s education. “Dr. Probst has a wealth of knowledge that she is always willing to share, and I learned so much from Dr. Snyder about research and best practices for beginning a career in the professional world,” says Dr. Redd. “I will always be grateful for all of my professors that I encountered during my studies.”