By: Shane Simmons
It was a risk but a big career-changer.
That’s how Dr. Rae Godsey describes her career path.
She’s a corporate medical director for a Fortune 500 company, co-chair of an enterprise-wide initiative to make communities served 20 percent healthier by 2020, and a Kelley Business of Medicine MBA.
The journey started in 2009.
Rae, who completed her medical degree from the West Virginia School of Osteopathic Medicine, had practiced medicine for more than a decade, owning and operating a family practice in southern Indiana. She’d considered an MBA but wanted to find a program with a healthcare focus—which was hard to do at the time.
“One of the main reasons I decided to shift my focus from clinical practice to administrative medicine was to help educate providers about the changes in healthcare today,” said Rae, who was thinking about an entirely new career path before she found the Kelley Physician MBA.
The ever-looming challenges burdening the healthcare industry drove Rae from her family practice, parking her in an administrative role, something completely new to her.
In 2009, the Kentucky native traded in her stethoscope for a briefcase when she assumed an administrative role with Humana Inc., a Kentucky-based health insurance company. It was unlike any position she had worked before.
“As physicians in clinical practice, we want to take good care of our patients, which leaves very little ‘free’ time to focus on the business aspects of medicine. But with a $750 billion deficit related to healthcare fraud, waste, and abuse, I knew there was ample opportunity to make significant changes in the healthcare industry,” Rae explained of her reason to switch to the administrative side of medicine.
She began her Humana career as a reviewing medical director for Medicare. Rae then moved into a regional medical director role, followed by a divisional medical director position.
In 2014, after several promotions and an ever-growing role within her company, Rae’s interest in an MBA resurfaced.
“Living in Louisville, Kentucky, I interviewed with several programs near me, including University of Louisville, University of Kentucky, and Bellarmine University,” Rae recalled of her MBA search.
“I was impressed with IU Kelley School of Business’ top rankings,” said Rae.
Ultimately, what separated Kelley School of Business Indianapolis from the pack was the Business of Medicine MBA, a program tailored to physicians who desire the business knowledge needed to lead the healthcare industry.
“The Physician MBA helped me look at every aspect of medicine through a different lens,” she said.
Twenty-one months later, with a Kelley MBA in hand, Rae has gained a wealth of insight into successful business practices. She was able to take what she learned in the classroom and apply it directly to her full-time job. She received two promotions while in the Physician MBA program, propelling her into a corporate medical director position at Humana.
“While I was a student in the Kelley Business of Medicine MBA Program, I was the leader responsible for an operational unit of approximately 200 clinicians, including nurses, physicians, and support staff. I applied what I had learned during my Lean Six Sigma Green Belt certification and was able to improve our operational profit margin,” Rae explained.
“More recently,” she added, “I was asked to lead a team and create strategies and road maps for an enterprise-wide initiative, known as Bold Gold, which is directed by Humana’s highest-ranking executives. My Kelley Business of Medicine MBA experience taught me how to lead change for top-level executives, measure success, and show financial impact.”
Her accomplishments aren’t by coincidence.
“During my last six months at Kelley, my career took unimaginable leaps,” Rae said. “I was informed by several top executives within my company that completing my Physician MBA is one of the main reasons I was promoted to certain leadership positions.”
Rae is carrying that momentum forward, and her MBA will help propel her to even bigger goals.
“I want to continue using the tools and knowledge I’ve gained from the Kelley Physician MBA program,” Rae said. “As for what’s next in my career, I could see me fulfilling a Chief Medical Officer position within a managed care company.”
From small-town family physician to CMO, it’s a dream Kelleys can achieve.