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When It Comes to Medicine, This UC MBA Grad Means Business

Selena Heman-Ackah set out to change the face of healthcare one degree at a time — no, make that two degrees at a time.

Date: 6/20/2005
By: Wendy Beckman
Phone: (513) 556-1826
Photos By: Lisa Ventre
Selena Heman-Ackah chose the University of Cincinnati because of its strong program in pediatrics and otolaryngology. She will be graduating this year — with an MBA from the College of Business.

Huh?

Selena Heman-Ackah and Professor Steve Slezak, Faculty Director for the MBA programs at the College of Business.
Selena Heman-Ackah and Professor Steve Slezak, Faculty Director for the MBA programs at the College of Business.

Selena came to the University of Cincinnati in 2000 to begin studying medicine. After receiving her MD from the College of Medicine in 2004, she enrolled in the College of Business for an interdisciplinary MBA, which she plans to complete this summer.

“I hope to use my MBA to make changes in healthcare,” says Selena, citing recent examples of problems with malpractice insurance.

Selena plans to be an otolaryngological surgeon as well as chair an academic department. She is especially interested in deafness research and recently completed a course in American Sign Language. Selena believes that learning sign language is important for a medical practitioner.

“Otherwise, it puts the burden of communication on the patient,” she adds. And that patient is often a child.

If you look at Selena’s past, you’ll see a well-rounded individual — a real Renaissance woman. She received her BA in psychology and the biological basis of behavior from the University of Pennsylvania. She has received numerous academic and professional awards and has already published or presented many papers and posters. She has actively volunteered in such programs as the West Philadelphia Tutoring Program and at Howard University’s Sickle Cell Center.

If you look at Selena’s present, you’ll see that Selena enjoys a variety of activities in her scarce spare time, including music (piano, flute, clarinet and saxophone) and dance (ballet, modern, jazz and traditional West African). Did we mention weight-lifting? Perhaps her most unique acknowledgment is having been named “Ms. University of Ghana” from her six months of studying abroad.

Like the people in the portraits on the wall behind her, Heman-Ackah plans to leave a legacy of helping others.
Like the people in the portraits on the wall behind her, Heman-Ackah plans to leave a legacy of helping others.

If you look into Selena’s future, you’ll see her helping others. She hopes to leave a legacy of mentorship.

“My sister is my greatest mentor,” says Selena. She also cites the current and former chairs of UC’s otolaryngology department, Drs. Myles L. Pensak and Jack L. Gluckman, and the people at Cincinnati-Children’s Hospital Medical Center as being wonderful. This warm feeling reinforced her choice in coming to Cincinnati.

Heman-Ackah chose UC for its sense of community.
Heman-Ackah chose UC for its sense of community.

“I chose UC because its recruitment surpassed other universities’,” says Selena. “UC had a real community feel to it. The students really worked with one another.”

Selena’s next stop is Minneapolis, Minn., and the University of Minnesota where she will complete her medical residency. She also intends to pursue a PhD at the same time. But you guessed that already, didn’t you?