When John M. Young wanted to further his career with a doctorate, he knew he wanted to put evidence-based healthcare policy and research into practice. That’s why he chose the iSchool’s Doctoral of Professional Studies program, which allows students to develop a thesis on an area of their interest. Since completing the degree, Young has gone on to work on important government healthcare projects such as the Affordable Care Act and other healthcare transformation initiatives for the Department of Defense.

“I chose the Syracuse iSchool program because I wanted a professional doctorate that focused more on practice than a traditional Ph.D. since I hadn’t planned on going into academia,” he said. “The curriculum is rooted in research, so you get the perfect blend of the scholarship and applied research.”

During his time in the program, Young focused on studying the emergence of big data in healthcare. He says that information is a critical element in the healthcare field because it drives decision-making for providers, policymakers and patients. Through the program, he studied how vital information and data are to the industry.

“Healthcare is a data-driven industry with a complex information value chain. The doctoral degree is attractive because there is a tremendous amount of information, as well as misinformation, that healthcare professionals need to know how to manage” Young said. “We need trained information professionals at the table in leadership positions, and we’re finally starting to see the emergence of these information professional roles for both physicians and allied health professionals.”

These types of roles are important because data is used to make decisions in healthcare for things like managing records, improving treatment, and providing accurate prescriptions.

Further down the road in his career, Young ultimately discovered that he had a passion for teaching, which led him to become a professor at prestigious universities such as George Washington University and Uniformed Services University. He teaches courses in healthcare quality, organizational culture and leadership, as well as strategic management at both schools. He also currently serves as the Vice Chair for Administration and Chief of Staff in the Department of Preventive Medicine and Biostatistics at Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences and co-leads the Uniformed Services Health Equity Collaboratory.

While Young never intended to have a career in academia after completing his doctoral degree, he is happy with his current position and loves interacting with students. Young believes that although a DPS degree doesn’t typically give the credentials to teach, it did give him the opportunities to work in higher education and be on the faculty at distinguished universities.

Although his courses generally focus on healthcare, Young tries to integrate the information practices he learned at the iSchool into his curriculum. 

“The role of information and information analysis are essential elements for providers and consumers of healthcare. I often remind my students to explore all opportunities and remain filled with curiosity because I constantly seek to learn new things about the information discipline that I didn’t when I got my degree,” he said. “Earning a doctorate from the iSchool was absolutely the right decision for me because it provided me with didactic and practical skills that are well received in an information-rich industry. I believe my colleagues understand the value I bring with a background in information. Now I get to apply and teach what I learned in the program to my career, and it’s totally gratifying. And that’s why I fully endorse it.”