Paustian Hester JonesPam Paustian, Joshua Hester, Dean Harold JonesJoshua D. Hester, MHA, assistant CEO at Gadsden Regional Medical Center and 2011 alumnus of the UAB Health Care Management program, has been named the 2015 School of Health Professions Young Alumni Achievement Award winner. The award is given to those who have graduated with the first degree from SHP within the past 10 years and have made significant professional accomplishments at an early stage in their careers.

In just over two years, Hester has risen from administrative projects coordinator and manager at University of South Alabama Health System, to chief operating officer at Troy Regional Medical Center to his current position within Community Health Systems.

Hester is “…what this award represents.”

“Intelligent, expressive, adaptable, responsible, unassuming, mature, creative, enthusiastic, motivated, emotionally intelligent and all-together excellent – that is how I would describe Josh Hester if I could only use adjectives,” said Pam Paustian, Ph.D., program director and professor, UAB Health Care Management. “I would place Josh in the top five percent of students, now alumni, that I have worked with over my 20+ years in education. He is an ideal example of what this award represents.”

On January 29, 2016, Hester received the award from Harold P. Jones, Ph.D., dean of the UAB School of Health Professions, during an intimate ceremony with select faculty from the Department of Health Services Administration, family and friends. Afterward, Hester delivered a lecture titled “The Theory of School and Work” to the current class of HCM students who sat where he did only five years ago.

From classroom to boardroom

Hester Lecture“I remember times in the classroom where I wondered ‘How will this information help me in the real world?’ so I wanted to emphasize that the theories they learn at UAB today are the foundation for how they achieve tomorrow,” said Hester, who is a past member of the School of Health Professions Junior Advisory Board. “I also wanted to explain my transformation so they know that while my career rise has risen in a relatively short period, it does not mean there haven’t been failures that I’ve learned from along the way.”

Hester’s presentation included a detailed comparison of “Managers vs. Leaders.” In that section he discussed a person’s vision (leaders plan for the long term), the way they deal with the status quo (leaders will challenge this), the questions they ask (leaders ask why, not what) and how they work with a team (leaders align rather than organize). He also provided his “Keys to Success.”

  • Recognize different is good.
  • Listen.
  • Ask questions.
  • Learn how to network.
  • Recognize your own strengths.
  • Recognize your own weaknesses.
  • Lead first. Manage second.
  • Break the “Millennial Mold.”

SEE MORE: photo gallery of Hester's day at SHP


“The ‘Millennial Mold’ is the erroneous stereotype that all Millennials are lazy, selfish, spoiled and entitled – today’s graduate needs to know they will face that from some people during their career and they must work hard to overcome that misperception,” said Hester. “The key for them to make that happen is self awareness: to know their emotions, values and drives and to recognize their impulses and circumstances impact the entire team. Whether that impact is negative or positive is up to them.”

Gadsden Regional Medical Center, where Hester serves as assistant CEO, is a 346-bed facility with complete inpatient and outpatient care. They employ more than 200 healthcare professionals and Hester oversees the department heads for Gadsden Regional Cancer Center, imaging services, safety and security, pharmacy, respiratory therapy, sleep lab and much more.

Hester is the second winner of the Young Alumni Achievement Award. He joins Sarah S. Dudley, COO, Princeton Baptist Medical Center and 2010 alumna of the Master of Science in Health Administration program, who won the inaugural honor in 2014.