Tyler Lee: Advocating for Healthier Communities
Tyler Lee, a student in the Radford University Carilion (RUC) Master of Healthcare Administration (MHA) program, has ambitious goals after he graduates, but first he wants to help improve the lives of his friends and neighbors in Rocky Mount, Virginia.
“I plan to use my degree for the greater good of helping others understand healthcare and how medicine can improve their lives,” Lee said. “At the same time, I want to make sure people have resources for their everyday life so they can be healthy.”
That was one reason why Lee took a leap at the age of 27 and ran for town council in Rocky Mount. He was soon elected as the youngest member ever to serve on the council.
I’m more interested in a long-term vision that will help the town grow, benefiting everyone.”
“I am very proactive and see a lot of potential in Rocky Mount,” Lee said. “Most of the community is aging, and they need resources to improve access to healthcare. Many people didn’t know that the town didn’t have a 24/7 medic truck on call, and as a volunteer fireman, I knew that put people at risk. I wanted to see what I could do to help.”
Lee said that as part of the council, he thought he could educate people and advocate for improvements to healthcare. His efforts are starting to pay off, with a 24/7 medic crew starting work on October 19 in Rocky Mount.
“I am not on the town council to bring about sudden, dramatic changes,” Lee said. “I’m more interested in a long-term vision that will help the town grow, benefiting everyone.”
Lee landed in Rocky Mount after growing up in Tennessee and earning a degree in health science from Ferrum College. He graduated in 2014 and went to work as the community health and outreach manager at Carilion Franklin Memorial Hospital (CFMH).
“While I was there, we created the Health Efficacy Navigation Initiative, or HENI, program. HENI educated people on health insurance and health literacy, but more importantly, getting the at-risk patient plugged in with a community health worker and primary care physician,” Lee said.
That work and his other experiences at CFMH helped motivate Lee to begin work on his master’s degree at RUC, where he expects to graduate in Spring 2021.
“I thought I wanted to be a hospital administrator, and I still would enjoy that, but having an MHA will allow me to explore so many different avenues of healthcare,” Lee said.
Lee is currently the director of sales and administration for SleepSafe Beds, which provides custom medical equipment for caregivers and healthcare professionals designed to make life easier and safer for individuals with special needs.
“This position allows me to look at many factors of healthcare, which has helped me with my MHA studies,” Lee said. “I believe it takes a special person to excel in a leadership role. A master’s degree is a stepping stone in one’s career that can set their leadership position to the next level financially and strategically.”
As he works toward graduation, Lee is focusing on his capstone project, which will be the culmination of his work in the MHA program.
Keeping people healthy should be the goal of all healthcare leaders. Healthy people make for happier communities.”
“The insurance and policy work of healthcare definitely interest me,” Lee said. “I would love to see how to lower the cost of healthcare and make everyone healthier. My capstone project is focusing on the cost savings of using the correct style of bed for special needs patients. As I am learning about the safety bed market across the country and into a few other countries, it is important to understand the funding for beds. SleepSafe Beds can save millions of dollars to patients and insurance companies. However, insurance companies do not always approve them for patients.”
Lee says that his experience in the MHA program at RUC has been excellent, and he recommends it to anyone who wants to take the next step in their careers. For him, however, the goal is ensuring the health and well-being of his community for years to come.
“Keeping people healthy should be the goal of all healthcare leaders,” Lee said. “Healthy people make for happier communities.”