Children's of Mississippi CEO Dr. Guy Giesecke is the 2019 SHRP Alumnus of the Year.
Children's of Mississippi CEO Dr. Guy Giesecke is the 2019 SHRP Alumnus of the Year.
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SHRP Alumnus of Year uses D.H.A. skills to lead Children’s of Mississippi

Published on Monday, February 18, 2019

By: Annie Oeth, aoeth@umc.edu

The CEO of Children’s of Mississippi is putting skills he honed as a graduate student at the University of Mississippi’s School of Health Related Professions to work in leading business operations for the University of Mississippi Medical Center’s pediatrics arm.

Guy Giesecke, who graduated in 2015 with a Doctorate of Health Administration, is this year’s SHRP Alumnus of the Year. He is the first DHA alumnus to be awarded the honor, which was presented Friday at the School of Health Related Professions Alumni Day at the UMMC Conference Center at the Jackson Medical Mall.

“When we first started the DHA program, it was really opened as a pilot project,” said Dr. Jessica Bailey, SHRP dean. “Guy had the bravery to jump into the first DHA class, and not only was he an excellent student, but he was a mentor to others.”

Giesecke, a business administration graduate of Abilene Christian University who holds master’s degrees in health care administration and business from the University of Houston, joined UMMC in 2010 to lead Children’s of Mississippi.

An umbrella organization that includes Batson Children’s Hospital as well as all UMMC pediatric care, Children’s of Mississippi has more than 1,000 employees.

Guy Giesecke poses with award.
Congratulating Giesecke, center, on his alumnus award are Dr. Jessica Bailey, SHRP dean, and John Farrish, director of ambulatory operations in Grenada and president of the SHRP Alumni Association.

“Being named SHRP Alumnus of the Year is an honor,” Giesecke said, “and I am humbled to have been selected. Not a day goes by that I don’t put to use what I learned at SHRP in my position at Children’s of Mississippi.”

Giesecke “truly set the bar for the cohorts of students to follow,” said Dr. Angela Burrell, department chair of the DHA program. “Dr. Giesecke continues to serve our program in recruitment efforts, mentoring and doctoral committee work. His leadership ability and his passion through service are clearly evident and traits we hope all of our graduates strive to emulate.”

Prior to coming to UMMC, Giesecke served as Chief Operating Officer of Baptist Hospitals of Southeast Texas from 2006-2010 and vice president of East Texas Medical Center in Tyler, Texas, from 2003-2006. He is a graduate of Leadership Mississippi and a fellow of the American College of Healthcare Executives.

The DHA program, available online, prepares participants to assume upper-level managerial and leadership roles in health care.

“I knew it was going to be a challenge,” said Giesecke, who, with wife Kara, has three children. “The way I managed classes while working and spending time with my family was that I scheduled everything! I would even schedule cycling with my daughters or tossing a baseball with my son.”

Time to unwind at the end of the work day was also planned, with weekends reserved for studying and writing for online classes in the DHA program.

DHA students, at first, had some apprehension about studying with a hospital leader, Bailey said. “The myth that Guy would be somehow different than everyone else because of his position at UMMC was very quickly dispelled. They found that he was down-to-earth and a student just like everyone else.”

The DHA students are part of a cohort, Bailey said. “We wanted it to be different from any other Ph.D. program. Students must start with the cohort and finish with the group.”

Giesecke’s favorite class in the program, Health Care Economics, was taught by Dr. Susan Taylor, a faculty member in the Else School of Business at Millsaps College.

“We had so many health care professionals in that class that we truly learned from each other,” Taylor said. “They taught me about health care, and I taught them about economics.”

Guy Giesecke behind clear podium speaking at ground-breaking ceremony for pediatric expansion.

Giesecke speaks during the Dec. 1, 2017 ground-breaking ceremony for UMMC’s $180 million pediatric expansion.

The capstone project of Giesecke’s studies centered on the Children’s of Mississippi mission of helping children around the state reach their full potential. His research focused on bringing pediatric specialists closer to patients’ homes by opening clinics outside of the central Mississippi region.

Today, Children’s of Mississippi has specialty clinics in Jackson, Tupelo, Meridian, Hattiesburg and Biloxi.

“We are thrilled that the capstone project, for Guy, wasn’t busy work but something that could be put into practice to better the university,” Bailey said.

Giesecke has been generous with his time, helping cohorts studying in the DHA program now and speaking to classes, Bailey said.

The importance of the work SHRP does in training the next generation of health care professionals is his motivation, Giesecke said.

“All of you are making a difference in the state,” he told an audience of SHRP alumni Friday, “and the state needs you.”