Alice was born in the United States and lived the life of many other Americans until she turned eight years old. At that point, her parents decided to move closer to their extended family in Ghana, Africa. This is where Alice lived from ages 8-19, her formative and developmental years.
Unfortunately, during her time in Ghana at age 12, she contracted Typhoid Fever. This life-threatening illness, with severe symptoms of a sustained high fever and muscle pain, sent Alice to the medical clinic for care. The doctor escorted her in, quickly prescribed medicine for her obvious symptoms and just-as-quickly ushered her out the door. The entire visit was rushed, and the doctor did not take time to even fully understand Alice’s problems. There was no personal service. The clinic was a hectic atmosphere with patients being given less than adequate attention, resulting in misdiagnoses and incorrect prescriptions. However at the time and at a young age, Alice wasn’t able to fully comprehend the situation, and she and her mother had little other choice. She went home and of course took the medicine, only to discover it gave her even worse complications and symptoms than before — adverse reactions that far outweighed the Typhoid. She decided to discontinue use with her mother’s consent. They visited a different doctor, only to discover the first medicine was completely incorrect and was doing her more harm than good. She eventually got on a more appropriate medicine and the Typhoid Fever lifted.
However, during this dangerous encounter with Typhoid, not to mention the understaffed clinic, Alice came to appreciate the need for good doctors and nurses. In addition, without realizing it, Alice had her first brush with a business that was in desperate need of better management.
At this point in her life, she decided that she would grow up to be a doctor so she could help other people who were in the same situation. She would be able to directly help sick people in Ghana, which seemed to be her calling. Like many other youth in Ghana who were interested in medicine, she felt her only options were to become either a nurse or a doctor, since there were few, if any, models of other medical roles. Since some people do not directly have experience with other medical professionals, like CNAs, PAs and patient management, then they cannot appreciate the value those roles could contribute.
At age 19, Alice and her family moved back to the United States, and she chose to attend UNC Charlotte, graduating in 2014 with a bachelor’s degree in biology. During her undergraduate years, she accepted a full-time position as a microbiology technician with LabCorp, a leading global life sciences company headquartered in Burlington, North Carolina.
Alice (center) studies with fellow M.S. in Management students
During her undergraduate work and while working in a lab, Alice came to more fully understand her passion. She learned about the role of CNA’s and PA’s during her initial years as a young professional and began to put the pieces together for the situation “back home.”
Since 2003, all Ghanaians now have access to universal healthcare. Out of pocket expenses are no longer the barrier to patients. Patients can receive treatment, but Alice wants to ensure the quality and delivery of the treatment is higher. She is, as many Ghanaians are, wishful for higher service levels at their doctor’s office.
Just like the doctor should have taken time to fully understand her childhood illness and address the actual illness, Alice would need to take time to research and appreciate the healthcare industry in Ghana. She realized that the one attending physician who misprescribed medicine for her was not the real problem. The underlying issue was the severe lack of organizational support structure, staff and management in the medical field in Ghana. The doctors and nurses, while willing and qualified, were having to manage patients at a much higher volume than what could result in quality care. They need hands-on support. They need CNA’s, PA’s and management to achieve a solution.
This realization and connection solidified the passion and determination for Alice.
She now wants to bring awareness and attention to the business structure and support system around healthcare in Ghana. Alice wants to open a school that would train the support staff that Americans rely upon in the healthcare field: CNA’s and PA’s. Alice wants to bring awareness to the young people of Ghana that healthcare support is an underrepresented field with high demand and low supply. Alice and her school will provide a much-needed service to the healthcare industry in Ghana — filling a gap for nurses and doctors who are spread too thin and are not trained in the field of practice management. This will consequently result in higher quality, more compassionate and attentive care for patients.
By pursuing this path, Alice will have the opportunity to improve the lives of countless patients in ways they may never fully grasp. Her impact will be exponential. “As a doctor, I could have helped a handful of people each day. However, by facilitating and managing a steady supply of support staff to medical clinics across the country, I can help so many more patients.”
Now Alice had her “why”, her purpose and intention; however, she also realized that she lacked a key component in order to eventually contribute — her “how.” She needed a path to help bridge the gap between her passion to help, and the practicality of actually being a leader toward the solution.
This is one strong reason she sought out the M.S. in Management, so she can build her business foundation to supplement her academic and professional experience in the healthcare field. This training will provide Alice a way to make her purposes actionable and feasible. By overlaying the business management skills atop her healthcare industry knowledge and training, Alice will have the cross-trained abilities for implementing her dream.
Upon beginning the M.S. in Management program in the summer of 2018, Alice attended orientation where she first met DeAndrea Salvador. DeAndrea, herself a Belk College of Business alumna, spoke to the inaugural cohort about “finding your passion.” These students were already starting something new, being the first students to enter the first M.S. in Management in the 17-school UNC system. Then to have an accomplished and impassioned entrepreneur greet you on day one and challenge you to work with your own passion was both inspiring and motivational. Alice connected with DeAndrea’s story, considering how similar their paths were. They both grew up in lower-income communities where basic necessities like quality healthcare and power bills were a struggle. They each had their own personal experiences with the challenges of the real world at an all-too-young age. They both are centered in family, and the support structure they receive from that base. They both came into adulthood with an experience-based understanding and drive to fix a problem so others could enjoy a better life. “DeAndrea’s story really resonated with me. She encouraged me to follow my passion and make it my professional purpose. I am now working to more fully understand the real problem in the Ghana healthcare industry and think strategically toward a solution.”
DeAndrea Salvador, Founder and Executive Director of the non-profit organization Renewable Energy Transition Initiative (RETI). Ms. Salvador, a Belk College of Business alumna and TED Fellow, shared with the students how she found her own professional passion through her personal background at orientation.
Now in the M.S. in Management, Alice has her head in the books and her eyes on her dream. She is learning to think strategically in her coursework, and considering ways to apply her new-found business theories to practical applications. She has already discovered accounting, economics and quantitative analysis, all primary needs for establishing new business ventures like she is considering. Most recently, Alice completed a course in organizational behavior, and was reminded of her experience at 12 years old in the Ghanian medical clinic. If only that clinic had organizational management around the structure and the talent, she and other patients would have had a much higher-quality experience and faster path to health.
Alice is working full-time at LabCorp and pursuing her advanced degree in M.S. in Management; balancing a substantial load both academically and professionally.
As one step in her career ladder, Alice wants to pursue healthcare consulting. She has learned there is an expansive spectrum of need around setting up a medical school: from understanding the science, to the field of education, to the business of entrepreneurship as she starts an organization. The facilitating force that will make this possible will be the business skills that she is gaining in the graduate program. For example, a key need of a leader is knowing how to manage people and teams. Through her spring course, “Managing Talent for Strategic Advantage,” Alice is better prepared to lead at any organization. Also, after completing the “Managerial Ethics and Leadership” course, her own personal style and approach will be further set so she can excel in any role she pursues with a basis in integrity. The program was designed with the student and the community needs both in mind, and now offers a diverse mix of foundational leadership skills that will help propel all the graduates toward success.
We do not know yet what impact Alice will eventually make. But with her foundation in business, her interest in healthcare and her passion for social service, she is set for success. It is an aggressive dream, but that does not deter her from her mission — she is confidently charging forward into the unknown land that is at the intersection of healthcare and business.
“As a human being, I have a part to play in the world. I’m pairing my passion for healthcare with my life role of helping others. I plan to make a difference by working in the business of life…of quality life. I want others to understand that we should always be selfish with life — it is worth fighting for.”
Career aspirations: healthcare administrator
Alice Priscilla Boachie was born in Newark, New Jersey but grew up in Ghana, West Africa. She moved to Charlotte in 2012 to complete her undergraduate education in Biology. During her senior year, she decided not to go to medical school after graduation, realizing that pursuing a career in medicine was no longer her passion. When she heard of the M.S. in Management program, she knew it was exactly what she needed to get started in her dream career of healthcare administration in her home country. She looks forward to learning business skills to pair with her clinical healthcare background to make a difference in the healthcare field!