Following Footsteps

Cost. Value. Location. There are many factors to consider when choosing the right graduate school program. For Bryan Rivera, it was easy: he just followed his family members into CSULB’s Master of Science in Health Care Administration (MSHCA) program.

Bryan’s father, Al, was the first in the family to blaze a trail in the MSHCA program, as well as in one of the largest employers in the field, Kaiser Permanente. As Al moved through various roles in the company, he took the time to earn his MSHCA, and transitioned from an assistant to an administrator. With degree in hand, he eventually began teaching as an adjunct professor in CSULB’s Department of Health Care Administration (HCA). Meanwhile, Bryan’s sister Brooke decided to get into the family business as well, earning her degree from the MSHCA program and eventually becoming an administrator at a Kaiser facility too. 

That clinched Bryan’s decision to follow in their footsteps. At Kaiser, he began as an X-ray file clerk and moved up over the past 18 years through multiple departments like Surgery Scheduling, Orthopedics, and Spine Surgery. Obtaining his MSHCA degree in 2016 prepared him for his current position as Department Administrator of the Rancho Cucamonga Medical Offices.

“I do believe the MSHCA program had a direct effect on that,” said Rivera, who also noted that the relatively low cost of the program and its accreditation status had a strong effect on his ultimate decision to enroll in the program. 

“Having the master’s really solidified me as a qualified candidate. The program has changed my life because it really opened the doors for a good amount of opportunities in the company.”

CSULB’s HCA department and Kaiser Permanente have both benefited from associations with not just the two Rivera siblings and their father, but also Bryan’s wife, Jessica. She worked at Kaiser and was an HCA adjunct professor, before taking time off to raise the couple’s two sons around the time that Bryan was enrolled in school.

“The best thing about the program was being in a great cohort,” Bryan said. “They truly make the experience memorable. I would see the same faces for two years. During the program, my wife and I had our second child, and it was a very cool experience to share this joyous time in my life with my classmates. I made several lifelong friends!” 

“The [other] great thing about the program was that you had a face-to-face class every other Saturday, and one class online,” he continued. “This made the program fit perfectly into my schedule. I could balance a job and a family easily.”

Although Bryan’s children are still far from considerations of college and careers, it’s not hard to imagine yet another generation of Riveras finding the same success in the family’s healthcare tradition.