As a health care administrator, Carlton Inniss, a 2002 graduate of the UF College of Public Health and Health Professions’ master’s in health administration program, knew he would have an impact on patients’ health care experiences and outcomes. What he didn’t expect was the additional reward of having a positive effect on employees.
“Knowing that I improve people’s professional lives is probably the next best thing to improving patients’ lives,” said Inniss, the senior director of clinical operations for Austin Regional Clinic in Austin, Tex. “To make somebody want to come to work, to resolve an issue that was making somebody’s job stressful, to hire somebody or to give somebody a chance to improve and prove themselves and to launch a career, that’s huge.”
In honor of his mentoring and service to the profession, the National Association of Health Services Executives (NAHSE) presented Inniss with a Fox Legend Award at its annual conference in October. The awards are given to former participants of the association’s student case competition who have gone on to exemplify professional excellence and have a tangible impact on their communities.
The NAHSE Annual Everett V. Fox Student Case Analysis and Presentation Competition gives student teams a unique case study and asks them to analyze the real situations facing the health care organization featured in the case. The teams present their case findings and recommendations before panels of judges made up of leaders in health care and academia. Inniss and fellow UF M.H.A. alumnus Ajani Dunn won the case competition in 2001.
Inniss remembers being “as nervous as nervous can be” going into the competition.
“When we started it was just ‘Keep going. Put one foot in front of the other. Do your best and the rest will handle itself,’” he said. “Before they announced who won I had concluded that I had had one of the better experiences of my life up to that point and so losing would not have diminished that experience, but winning really felt like the icing on the cake.”
Since graduation, Inniss has sought out a variety of health care management positions and settings in order to broaden his skills and deepen his understanding of health systems. He has served as a practice administrator, operations analyst, business process engineer, and in recent years discovered a love for project management. He currently serves as the senior director of clinical operations at Austin Regional Clinic, a private physician-owned system with 21 clinics across three counties in the greater Austin area and a hospitalist program that operates in several area hospitals. Austin Regional Clinic counts one million patient visits a year and estimates it touches approximately 20 to 25 percent of the Austin community. Inniss is responsible for eight clinics through daytime operations and an additional four clinics for after-hours operations. He also provides operational support for general surgery, allergy and physical therapy services.
“I want to help position ARC for the evolution of health care to make sure that we are here for another 35 years,” he said.
Inniss’ service activities include mentoring and serving in a number of positions on NAHSE’s leadership boards, most recently as national treasurer. He is currently working to establish an Austin chapter of NAHSE and eventually hopes to expand his career to include coaching, professional development and teaching.
Inniss’ success is no surprise to R. Paul Duncan, Ph.D., the Malcom and Christine Randall Professor in the PHHP department of health services research, management and policy.
“We knew he was someone special, with an unusual ability to think about and see how things may apply differently in different settings,” Duncan said. “His commitment to service is well documented and he is really good at what he does. We are very proud of his accomplishments. His career path reflects the kind of life-long learning and commitment to service we hope starts at UF and develops for an entire career.”