Barbara GuerardAs vice president of health services for Peoples Health Inc, a Medicare Advantage Plan in Louisiana, not even a little thing called Hurricane Isaac could keep Barbara Guerard of New Orleans from her studies.

“Work was significantly disrupted during the week of Isaac with much coordination needing to take place to keep our members safe,” said Guerard. “Luckily, my internet stayed operational so I did manage to get a bit of school work done.”

Guerard is in the executive doctoral administration-health services program which allows her to continue to work full-time while furthering her education. Her job responsibilities include administrative oversight for the medical management programs and development of new clinical initiatives designed to improve member outcomes. Continuing to work and going to school has allowed her to put her learning immediately to use in her current position.

“It has allowed me to bring a rigor to strategic decisions, develop a research mindset for the organization and has stimulated others to continue their education,” said Guerard. “While the time balance is a bit more rigorous in the doctoral program, my family and employer support has been tremendous.”

With 30 years of health care experience, Guerard’s career has evolved over the years. She spent 25 years as a nurse practitioner before moving into the administrative side. She earned a MBA while working and now sees potential opportunities once she earns her doctoral degree in December 2013.

“This degree will allow me to expand my options in the future and continue my lifelong learning,” said Guerard. “I will be able to continue to do research, or I may possibly teach at some level in the future.”

In a family with 12 siblings, Guerard has been able to tackle anything put before her.

“Stay focused, organized and enjoy the education experience,” said Guerard.