A two-time alumnus and former staff member of Saginaw Valley State University will pursue his passion for providing leadership in the health care industry after earning a spot in a prestigious program at Beaumont Health centers in southeast Michigan.
Brandon Fjerstad was one of a select few chosen from a highly-competitive field of candidates from across the nation to participate in the health care system's two-year Administrative Fellowship program. The initiative pairs individuals with senior-level Beaumont Health administrators eager to mentor the next generation of health care leaders.
“I was ecstatic. Blown away,” Fjerstad said about learning of his selection. “It's a coveted fellowship with many qualified candidates applying. To know I made it through those tiers of selection, it was humbling.”
Fjerstad began his fellowship earlier this month. He was paired with Dr. James Lynch, the interim president for Beaumont Health's Troy and Grosse Pointe acute care campuses. Over the next 24 months, Fjerstad will participate in executive-level meetings, present to leadership, and participate in initiatives that will involve data analysis, business planning, and project-based work involving staff at all levels of Beaumont Health.
Marilyn Skrocki, SVSU professor of health sciences and a mentor to Fjerstad, called the fellowship “a pinnacle” opportunity for an individual at Fjerstad's current stage in his health administration career.
“This is an opportunity you dream of,” Skrocki said. “Having the opportunity to work side-by-side with administrators will allow an unparalleled mentorship.”
Fjerstad's journey to the fellowship predates his two degrees earned at SVSU and his most recent roles as the university's Human Performance Lab coordinator as well as an adjunct instructor in the Department of Kinesiology. A Hemlock native, his interest in the health care industry began more than a decade ago when he became a patient rehabilitating from a fractured femur and collarbone sustained while playing linebacker for Hemlock High School's football team.
“That experience gave me an appreciation for how health care can positively impact someone's life,” he said of his experience working with physical therapists and personal trainers while recovering from the injuries.
After graduating in 2009, Fjerstad enrolled at SVSU, where he played two years on the football team while eyeing a career in rehabilitative therapies. He earned a bachelor's degree in exercise science from the university in 2014, and after realizing his passion for leading projects related to health care initiatives, he pursued and added a master's degree in health administration and leadership to his résumé last year. He also recently earned the Healthcare Financial Management Association's Certified Healthcare Financial Professional Certification.
While Skrocki was impressed with Fjerstad's selection to Beaumont Health's Administrative Fellowship, she was not surprised by it based on his remarkable early career accomplishments and his engaging personality.
“What likely impressed Beaumont was his professional demeanor and obvious strong emotional intelligence,” she said. “Brandon is the type of student all professors would be proud of. I certainly am.”
Fjerstad, who recently moved to Sterling Heights because of his fellowship opportunity, said he will continue teaching online courses at SVSU while working with Beaumont Health.
For more information on SVSU’s Master of Science in Health Administration and Leadership program, visit www.svsu.edu/healthleadership.
For more information about the Beaumont Health Administrative Fellowship program, go to www.beaumont.org/careers/administrative-fellowship.