Hannah Little is the next featured administrator in our series, recognizing those who ensure operations are managed efficiently to support faculty, staff, and trainees in their pursuit of education, research and clinical care. Division administrators like Little focus on achieving continuous improvement in the quality and the value of our work, for those we support and the patients we serve. Little divides her time between two divisions.
What are your responsibilities? What is a typical day like, working in Infectious Diseases and Pulmonary Medicine?
Essentially, my job is to act as the the administrative counterpart to the division chief in each of the divisions I support. Anything non-clinical rolls up to me – budgeting and financial management, human resources management, logistical and operational support for clinical programming, etc. Beyond the day-to-day work to keep each division running, I also work with the chiefs to define strategic goals and develop new programs. A typical day includes sending and receiving a staggering number of emails and diligently going wherever my calendar tells me my next meeting is located.
Describe your career path? How did you come to join the department of medicine?
I received my bachelor’s degree in economics from McGill University in Montreal and worked on Wall Street for a macroeconomic consulting firm for several years before returning to my home state of Kentucky to complete my master’s in health administration at the University of Kentucky. I was an expat kid growing up – my family spent time in rural China and Moscow, Russia, and I originally set my sights on international healthcare management. After graduating from my MHA program, I worked briefly for a private hospital in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, before moving to Baltimore to work at Johns Hopkins on their international patient program. I eventually become the administrator for hematology there before taking a detour to work on Affordable Care Act administration at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. I found that I really missed working on a hospital campus, so when the opportunity arose for me to move to North Carolina, I jumped at the opportunity to return to academic medicine.
What is most important about your work?
Hopefully, if I’m doing it right, my work eases the administrative burden on providers and allows them to focus on patient care and research. As an administrator, I’m focused on keeping the doors open so clinicians can do what they do best.
What makes you a good fit for this role?
I love a challenge and running stairs, which is good because I spend a significant portion of my time sprinting up and down the back stairwell connecting the pulmonary and ID offices in Bioinformatics.
What do you enjoy about your job?
There’s never a dull moment. I hate being bored so the never-ending stream of new issues to tackle keeps things interesting.
What do you hope to accomplish this year?
I’m halfway through my doctorate in health policy and management at Hopkins, so my goal for the year is to come up with a topic for my dissertation. If anyone reading this has any ideas, my door is always open!
What do you do for fun?
I get a little grumpy if I spend too much time indoors, so if I’m not working or doing homework, I try to spend as much time outside as possible. I usually go on one big hiking trip a year (last year I went to Scotland, this year: Newfoundland!), and on the weekends you can typically find me climbing, hiking in Eno River Park, or going on a meandering jog through downtown Durham.
Tell us one thing about yourself that most people don’t know.
A lot of people already know that my significant other plays tuba in the North Carolina Symphony, but may not know that I also studied music in college. I played string bass and was terrible at music dictation. I don’t play bass anymore, but years of playing low notes helped prepare me for living with five tubas (and one tubist).