July 15, 2019 • By Jessie Yount
Dr. Diana Ramos, EMBA ’20, is just a little busy: She delivers babies, mentors young women and is developing a startup to create a video game that will screen teenagers for depression and anxiety.
And, in June, she was chosen as the president of the Orange County Medical Association, the first Latinx woman and the first public health physician ever chosen for that role.
As president, she will spearhead statewide health initiatives and focus on mental health awareness and treatment for the most vulnerable populations, such as pregnant women and children, and she hopes that the initiatives will set an example for other states to do the same.
“I’m very excited because it’s an opportunity to make a difference,” Ramos said. “And the Merage School has been instrumental in preparing me for the role. I’m focusing on leadership and innovation, and I’ve used my coursework as an opportunity to develop action plans and strategic goals.”
And that’s not all that Ramos has up her sleeve.
The video game startup fuses her interests in helping people with technology — and bringing that help to young people. “We’ll be able to get teens the help they need, or discover what reinforces positive behaviors in the gaming experience,” Ramos says.
It was these creative pursuits that led Ramos to join the MBA for Executives program at the UCI Paul Merage School of Business.
After realizing that the federal health sector is cumbersome and restrictive, she began her search for a program that would allow her to develop technological and business-minded skills. Since the Merage School is located on the Tech Coast, it was the perfect place to work out concepts in a supportive learning environment.
“The Merage School is surrounded by technology,” Ramos added. “And The Cove at UCI Applied Innovation is an amazing place that supports women entrepreneurship programs. When looking for a program, I knew that no other place would offer the same level of support as the Merage School.”
She already has experience with technology and skills in leadership; she developed text message programs for parents and women, which delivered informative articles and video clips, as the director of the director of the Los Angeles Public Health Department. But the Merage School provides an environment to refine and polish those skills.
Ramos credits New Venture Management, taught by Edward Hughes, lecturer at the Merage School and CEO of Aculon, Inc., as the most valuable course she’s taken yet. The course, which centers around the startup world, discusses how to avoid pitfalls when growing a business, and what to do once you’ve secured venture capitalists or angel investors.
Medical professionals looking to immerse themselves in the startup world can specialize in Transforming Health Care, one of the health care-focused elective courses, which is part of the new Health Care Health Care Leadership Track, a specialization within the EMBA program at the Merage School.
Meanwhile, others have the option of selecting Advancing the Health Care Organization electives track, which will focus on risk-aversion and cost-management.
“The business of healthcare has grown so much that the field is looked at like it’s a business,” says Sylvia Haas, the director of the EMBA program. “Not only are students taught leadership in the classroom, but someone works with all students on leadership development — how to build a team and run a team.”