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Saint Joseph's University Magazine News

St. Joe’s Field Hockey on Top Again

Campus Community Saint Joseph's field hockey team claimed their sixth A-10 championship title this year.
Saint Joseph's University's field hockey team took a group photo with their sixth A-10 championship trophy
Written by: Paige Verrillo Total reading time: 1 minute

Make room in the trophy case! Under the leadership of new Head Coach Hannnah Prince, the 11th-ranked Saint Joseph’s field hockey team came out on top in their Atlantic 10 championship game against UMass in Hadley, Massachusetts, this fall. This was Saint Joseph’s most dominant performance of the season, ending the game with a 3-0 win. The championship title is Saint Josephs’ sixth overall and fifth in six seasons. The Hawks are the third team in A-10 history with six championships, ranking behind UMass (16) and Richmond (8). 

In addition, five Hawks were named to the All-Championship Team: Sol Borensztein ’24, Lily Santi ’24, Freke van Tilburg ’23, Katy Benton ’23 and Leigh James ’23. Santi was named the Most Outstanding Player after finishing the tournament with a goal and two assists. The Hawk Will Never Die.

Vulnerability on Display at PA's Art of the State

Campus Community Keely Nilan ’22 was featured in PA’s Art of the State for her thesis series, “Love Lines,” which focuses on the intimate and loving nature of her family.
Photo of Keely Nilan's mother braiding her sister's hair with embroiders for color and texture
Written by: Emmalee Eckstein Total reading time: 2 minutes

Keely Nilan ’22, a recently graduated communication studies major and art minor, was looking for a way to express how she felt about her mother.

“She’s always been this exemplary model of caretaking for me,” says Nilan. “I wanted to capture exactly how she expresses her love through these tender acts of service.”

Nilan exhibited her photographic work in “Art of the State: Pennsylvania 2022” at the State Museum of Pennsylvania in Harrisburg. The winning image came from Nilan’s senior thesis, “Love Lines,” and showed her mother braiding her sister’s hair.

“Being one of the chosen submissions reaffirmed my belief that amazing things can come from hard work and a willingness to be vulnerable." - Keely Nilan ’22

The digital image is black and white, but Nilan playfully embroiders some of the highlights in the photograph to add color and texture.

“I wanted to be able to match the vibrance of the people I was depicting,” explains Nilan. “The embroidery aspect really helped me find that.”

Though it was a time-consuming process, embroidering each of the calm, black-and-white prints in her “Love Lines” series with these fun pops of color helped Nilan feel more connected to the art she was creating. 

“Love Lines” was selected from nearly 2,000 submissions across the state.

“Being one of the chosen submissions reaffirmed my belief that amazing things can come from hard work and a willingness to be vulnerable," says Nilan.

The exhibit included 92 works of art by 92 artists from 31 counties of Pennsylvania. Finalists were selected from 1,850 entries from 542 artists. Selection jurors reviewed and scored all of the submitted works. Those with the highest ratings in each category were featured in the exhibition. 


Bridging the Gap Through Soccer

Campus Community The Athletic Club of Fairhill was started by three Saint Joseph’s alumni to bring opportunities to youth living in one of Philadelphia’s most underserved communities. Roughly 150 young athletes attended a soccer skills camp on Hawk Hill last year.
Fairhill Athletic Club young athletes attended a soccer skills camp on Hawk Hill last year
Written by: Alex Hargrave ’20 Total reading time: 3 minutes

Three Saint Joseph’s alumni teamed up with the Department of Athletics last summer to bring minority athletes to campus for a soccer skills training camp.

It was a sort of homecoming for Sherman Washington ’09, James Burks ’08 and Dom Landry ’08, who founded the Athletic Club of Fairhill, a North Philadelphia nonprofit that provides athletic opportunities for low-income children. The club hosted its annual soccer skills camp at Sweeney Field on the Hawk Hill campus with some help from University athletes.

“We realized that we wanted to do something to impact Black and brown kids and underprivileged communities, but didn't want to tackle the typical programs,” Washington says. “Not that there's anything wrong with those programs, but basketball, football and boxing are the typical programs in our community.”

That’s how the group decided on soccer. Landry played for the Hawks men’s soccer team as an undergraduate student and helped lead the camp last summer.

“It was very nostalgic for me to be playing soccer with kids who were born when I was going to school,” he says.

The skills camp brought roughly 150 young athletes ages 3 to 17 to Hawk Hill, where they worked with both men’s and women’s soccer players and coaches on passing, dribbling, shooting and other skills. 

“HITS is a way to bridge the gap for Philadelphia youth to get on campus through sports and have a touch point with Saint Joseph’s athletics, the University, our student-athletes, our coaches and to see, touch and feel campus." - Erick Woods ’01, director of student-athlete development

For Burks, Washington and Landry, the other advantage of hosting a soccer camp on campus is to expose Philadelphia youth to a college campus just a few miles away from where they live.

“There are so many things that are in your own city that you may not see or may not know.” Burks says. “You might not have to travel across the world or around the country to go to a really good school.”

For Saint Joseph’s, the camp is part of the athletics department’s larger mission called Hawk Inclusion Through Sport, or HITS, says Erick Woods ’01, director of student-athlete development and a former minority student-athlete at the University. 

“HITS is a way to bridge the gap for Philadelphia youth to get on campus through sports and have a touch point with Saint Joseph’s athletics, the University, our student-athletes, our coaches and to see, touch and feel campus," Woods says. "We hope to replicate this model for all of our sports across the board and partner with those inner-city organizations to bring them to campus to have them interact with their respective teams here on campus."

AC Fairhill is planning to host a soccer skills camp on campus again this summer, though dates are still to be determined. 

Neurodiversity at Work

Campus Community The Kinney Center for Autism Education and Support hosted neurodiversity at work trainings for over 250 managers of The GIANT Company. With 85% of neurodiverse individuals underemployed or unemployed, it’s a program Kinney hopes to expand.
Photo showing neurodiversity among a group of people and how brains work differently
Written by: Diane Holliday Total reading time: 3 minutes

Individuals who are neurodiverse may experience unique challenges when applying for and onboarding to a new job. They may require more explicit instructions than their neurotypical peers about where to report, or they may have trouble picking up on certain social cues during their interview. Once hired, they may also need assistance navigating the workplace itself or understanding unwritten rules like when and where to eat lunch.

Saint Joseph’s Kinney Center for Autism Education and Support is working with employers to address these needs from the top down to create more accommodating and inclusive workspaces. Most recently, the Center conducted a Neurodiversity at Work training for 250 managers of The GIANT Company.

"We’re clear with folks that this work isn’t charity, it’s an investment in your business, your employees, your community.” - Angus Murray, MS, NPL, executive director of Kinney

Kinney had offered a neurodiversity lunch-and-learn in collaboration with the Academy of Food Marketing years prior, and GIANT attendees were so impressed that they requested training for all of their managers.

“We had been looking to partner with both blue-collar and white-collar companies and were so excited when GIANT reached out. Grocery stores are a great fit for both our ASPIRE students and those who are not college bound,” says Murray.

The training, conducted by Kinney staff Mary Ann Newell, MS, LPC, NCCTheresa McFalls, LSW; and Ali Flukes, LCSW, consisted of five components: the benefits of a neurodiverse workplace; hiring and interviewing; accommodations and special considerations; effective communication; and building supportive teams. Not only did the team introduce these concepts to attendees, but they also offered concrete and actionable goals for them to bring back to the workplace.

“We talked about pairing an employee with autism with a supportive manager who’s able to communicate patiently and compassionately,” says Flukes. “We talked about incorporating workplace mentors — someone the employee could go to and ask questions that might not fall under the realm of a supervisor. These things can make employees with autism more comfortable.”

Following their training with GIANT, Kinney also partnered with the Philadelphia Insurance Companies and FIDx to offer similar programming.

“There’s a growing interest in the market and managers really want to learn more about how they can support this population. Not only is there a wave coming, but there’s a wave already here,” says McFalls.

In addition to corporate trainings, the Kinney Center also offers a managing neurodiversity in the workplace minor, which equips students to be future employers and management professionals with the skills necessary to navigate a neurodiverse workforce. 

With an estimated 85% of neurodiverse individuals underemployed or unemployed, the opportunity to grow and support these potential employees has only just begun.

The Future of Healthcare

Campus Community In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, the healthcare industry is left asking tough questions about how to move forward.
Photo of stethoscope on table
Written by: A.J. Litchfield Total reading time: 6 minutes

The COVID-19 pandemic laid bare the strengths and weaknesses of the United States’ healthcare system. As the dust settles, professionals at every level of the industry are left asking the same question: What comes next?

To find out, we spoke with Thomas Beeman '75, '77 (MA), PhD, FACHE, FCPP, RADM, USN (ret), executive in residence for the Haub School of Business. Beeman has more than 45 years of experience in the healthcare industry, most recently serving as the chief executive officer of Lancaster General Health and president and chief executive officer at Saint Thomas Health Services in Nashville, Tennessee.

He helped expand the Lancaster General Health System, and during his time as an adjunct professor at Saint Joseph’s, he implemented a program that helped physicians earn their MBAs. In addition to Beeman’s impressive professional career, he served as a rear admiral in the United States Navy Reserve, ending his career as assistant deputy surgeon general.

Thomas Beeman, executive in residence for the Haub School of Business.Thomas Beeman ’75, ’77 (MA)

Q: What did the COVID-19 pandemic teach us about our healthcare system? And how has the system shifted in light of some of those lessons?


COVID showed that the infrastructure around our public health programs in the United States is relatively weak. We struggle with equality of access to healthcare because public health has been underfunded, as opposed to acute healthcare, which has been funded pretty richly.

The pandemic also showed the strength of our pharmaceutical industry to get a viable and effective vaccine to market within months. 

One shift that has been really positive is the acceleration in the use of nurse practitioners and physician assistants in a new complementary capacity. These professionals played a critical role in providing care due to an under supply of physicians. 

But the two biggest shifts that the pandemic ushered in are the use of information technology and health informatics, and the need for clinicians and other healthcare professionals to be business savvy.

Q: What role will information technology and health informatics play in the administration of services going forward?


Health informatics is the ability to use information technology in combination with business analytics to really understand what's happening with your patients.

On a micro level, that’s knowing you have 250 patients in a hospital who have diabetes but, through their medical records that are being maintained with information technology, you know that 10 aren’t being treated properly. This allows you to focus your resources on those 10 patients.

On a macro level, you can get into predictive analysis. You can analyze the data and information and determine that, on day three of this particular disease, patients are more likely to be experiencing certain symptoms.

You can then deploy medication or technology to assist those patients through that difficult time. The ability to ask the right questions and deploy the right personnel and therapies is just a godsend.

Down the line, artificial intelligence is going to help drive some solutions using this data, but nothing can substitute for a highly qualified, professional provider.

Q: What role does business play in healthcare? Why is it valuable for practitioners to have strong business acumen?


I am a big believer that people with clinical healthcare backgrounds will benefit from getting a background in business. In a way, a hospital is a lot like a university. A university has a mission to educate, but at the end of the day it is still a business.

Physicians, healthcare administrators, everyone involved has to know how to make prudent decisions. They have to know that there's an awful lot of money spent in healthcare that's wasted. From there, it becomes necessary to identify that waste and figure out ways to eliminate it. That money can be redeployed to the community to help the community get healthier by having access to housing or decreasing food scarcity, for example.

Q: What are the biggest challenges facing the healthcare sector?


Out of the $4.2 trillion that we spend on the healthcare industry every year in this country, probably $700 billion is wasted. A lot of that has to do with needless paperwork, administrative burdens, duplicative technologies, those kinds of things.

Additionally, too many people get care at the wrong part of the continuum. They seek care in emergency rooms rather than through a primary care provider. When I was at Lancaster General, we found that 3% of our patients on Medicaid used 50% of our resources. By shifting those folks to a PCP, we were able to save $10 million.

The reason this happens is a challenge in its own right. Almost nobody understands healthcare, how to access it and what their insurance means. Some people might not know they can see a primary care provider and will hold off seeking medical attention until the problem is severe enough to go to an emergency room.

Access is also a problem. A lot of people who live in marginalized or underserved communities cannot access primary care because there aren’t any PCPs in those communities.

The last challenge I’ll mention is that of staff burnout and the undersupply of physicians. 

Q: What is the team-based care model and how can that help address that burnout?


Most hospitals don’t really have a holistic approach to staffing. Team-based care is the solution to that. It’s a delivery model where patient care needs are addressed as coordinated efforts among multiple healthcare providers and across settings of care.

We're finding that team-based care is much more effective. It's higher quality care. When people share the responsibility and they can look out for each other, it creates better outcomes not only for the staff but for the patients as well.

Q: With a high demand for physicians and other healthcare professionals, it seems like there is a lot of opportunity in the field. What is the healthcare sector job outlook and how can universities support its growth?


On the healthcare administration side, there’s going to be a 32% increase in the need for managers up through senior executives, so the opportunities are increasing, particularly for clinicians who have business backgrounds.

"I think Saint Joseph’s is poised very well to be able to meet the students where they are and give them the kind of education they need to be successful in this sector." - Thomas Beeman ’75, ’77 (MA), executive in residence for the Haub School of Business

To any health sciences student, I would say that you would really benefit from having a business competency. Whether or not it's a full degree or it's just business courses, anything helps — specifically if you want to take leadership roles.

With the previous merger with the University of the Sciences and the upcoming merger with the Pennsylvania College of Health Sciences, I think Saint Joseph’s is poised very well to be able to meet the students where they are and give them the kind of education they need to be successful in this sector.