April 17, 2018

Health care organization honors three students

by Pete Rosenbery

CARBONDALE, Ill. — Three Southern Illinois University Carbondale students recently were honored by the Mid-America Healthcare Executives Forum (MHEF) for their academic excellence, volunteerism, leadership and involvement in health care activities. 

Vicki L. Brown, a junior in health care management; Payton Hilton, a senior in management with an emphasis on health care enterprises, and Christopher Grace, a graduate student pursuing a Master of Health Administration degree are the three recipients this year. 

Bart Millstead, senior vice president and chief operating officer with Memorial Hospital of Carbondale and past MHEF president recently presented the awards on behalf of the organization. 

Brown and Grace were chosen by the School of Allied Health’s Health Care Management program faculty and administration and Hilton was selected by the College of Business Department of Management faculty and administration. 

Brown has been a physical therapist assistant for 25 years 

A 1992 graduate of the Southwestern Illinois College Physical Therapist Assistant program, Brown has practiced in acute care hospitals, outpatient clinics, long-term care facilities and home health. 

“I am thrilled and honored to be recognized by the MHEF,” Brown said. “I feel that this is an excellent opportunity to network with leaders in healthcare management and to further broaden my knowledge and management skills. 

Brown has a 4.0 GPA and she recently became the first SIU health care management student appointed to the 12-member Illinois Rural Health Association board for a two-year term. She expects to graduate in 2019 and continue her education at SIU, either by pursuing a master’s degree  in public health or applying to the physician’s assistant program. 

Brown said she is “very passionate about providing quality medical care” to her patients. She is confident she will excel in health care management and have the ability to run “an efficient, productive facility that provides quality care and compassion to patients.” 

A native of Coulterville, Brown and her husband, Scott, have two daughters and a stepdaughter. Her oldest daughter, Katie Little, graduated from SIU’s social work program in May 2017. Another daughter, Emily, will be attending SIU this fall, majoring in art. 

Grace will complete his master’s degree in August 

“I am honored to be recognized by the Mid-America Health Care Executive Forum,” said Grace, the son of Karen and Steve Grace of Ava. “I will used this award to advance my career and become an ambassador for both the Health Care Management and Masters of Health Administration programs.” 

Grace is a student member of the American College of Healthcare Executives. He earned his bachelor’s degree from SIU’s Health Care Management program in May 2016. That year, he also received the Association of University Programs in Health Administration Bugbee-Falk Award. He has a 4.0 GPA. 

Grace started his career as a certified pharmacy technician and then transitioned as an employee health coordinator with Southern Illinois Healthcare. After being promoted to 401(k) benefits specialist, Grace has moved into a role as financial analyst for the 340B drug pricing program and pharmacy. 

Hilton has always had an interest in the health care field 

Hilton, from La Porte City, Iowa, said she has always been interested in health care. She worked as a certified nursing assistant for a couple of years before deciding she wanted to further pursue her education. Hilton will graduate in May and plans to return to Iowa to work in the health care field. She also plans to pursue a master’s degree. 

“I’m very thankful for this award,” Hilton said, crediting Pete Mykytyn, a professor in the management program in the College of Business with encouraging her to apply. “It’s really awesome that Mid-America Healthcare Executives Forum participates in several charitable events throughout Southern Illinois as well as awards scholarships to college students in health administration programs.” 

Hilton said she visited SIU Carbondale in summer 2016 and “fell in love with the campus.” 

“I really like the relatively small campus,” she said. “Also, I like that most of my classes are small enough so the professors and students know who you are.”

SIU students earn Mid-America Healthcare Executive Forum honors — Three Southern Illinois University Carbondale students earned Mid-America Healthcare Executives Forum honors. Payton Hilton, a senior in management, receives her award from Bart Millstead (left) senior vice president and chief operating officer with Memorial Hospital of Carbondale and past MHEF president. Millstead also presented awards to Vicki L. Brown, a senior in health care management and Christopher Grace, a graduate student who is pursuing a Masters of Health Administration degree. (Photos by Steve Buhman and Russell Bailey)

Vicki Brown

Vicki Brown

Chris Grace

Chris Grace

Payton Hilton

Payton Hilton