Class of 2023 Spotlights: Kiely Gode

Kiely Gode - Master of Science in Health Care Administration -- CHHS 2023 Outstanding Graduate Award
Kiely Gode

In her two years as a graduate student at CSULB, Kiely has been immersing herself in an incredible variety of curriculum and professional development experiences, preparing her to enter the fast-paced, ever- changing healthcare industry as a well-rounded professional. Among her collegiate accolades, Kiely led a team of fellow CSULB Master of Health Care Administration candidates to a first place finish at the annual College Bowl hosted by the American College of Healthcare Executives (ACHE) - beating out such schools as UCLA and USC. This case study competition required Kiely to develop a comprehensive strategic plan targeting a current problem in an existing health system.

"Kiely shined in this process of leading her team to a first place finish [at the College Bowl]," says Thomas Knego, Senior Associate General Counsel for Anthem Blue Cross of California and Professor in the Department of Health Care Administration at CSULB. "Judges for the competition were from various aspects of the healthcare business community, and repeatedly complimented Kiely for her presentation skills. Kiely will succeed in anything she chooses to do." 

In addition to her outstanding achievement at the College Bowl, Kiely was honored to be appointed Vice Chair of Student Council for the American College of Healthcare Executives (ACHE) Southern California Chapter. As Vice Chair, Kiely was responsible for coordinating logistics for a number of student council hosted events across Southern California. 

Perhaps most impressive, however, is the highly competitive Administrative Fellowship Kiely recently secured at City of Hope. Kiely will begin her fellowship in July 2023, offering her outstanding industry experience, while maintaining a position of learning and growth.

"I'm so excited and I'm looking forward to assisting the chief officers and executives at City of Hope," Kiely says. 

The fellowship itself is a one-year program, where she will be in rotations in different administrative departments. 

"It's a great opportunity to work closely with a leadership team from a big organization like City of Hope, and I'm looking forward to getting hands-on experience of what I've learned in my master's program in Health Care Administration here at Cal State Long Beach."  

Kiely, who obtained her undergraduate degree in Biology at UC Santa Barbara, spent a time working briefly on the clinical side of health care, working as a medical assistant. 

"It wasn't until I started taking on a lot of administrative roles in my medical assistant job that I began thinking about the administrative and business side of health care," Kiely says. "It really opened my eyes to what I could do. I learned that I could still make an impactful difference in health care, moving from the clinical side to the administration side." 

In just a short amount of time, after enrolling and thriving in the Master of Science in Health Care Administration (MHA) program at CSULB, Kiely began to stand out among the crowd. She was drawn to City of Hope and no doubt stood out among the myriad of applications because its mission and organizational culture directly aligned with her own values and commitment to the health care industry.

"My biggest ambition with pursuing health care as a career is that I really like working with people, and like to feel that what I am doing is making a positive impact on others. Even undergoing the interview process at City of Hope for the Fellowship, I got the sense right away that all the staff members, executives, and administrators who work there are so passionate about what they do. They really are a testament to how much of a connection they still feel to the difference they're making in patients, and what they're doing in people's lives to impact them for the greater good." 

Kiely has often said that she never believed she could achieve this much in such a short period of time, and she conveys this to other students by encouraging them to always say "yes" to opportunities that come their way, even if it's not what they imagine at the start.

"I started my journey with my sights set on a very specific way to achieve my initial goals of working as a clinician in the health care industry, and I failed, repeatedly." Kiely says. "Every time I failed along the way, it has simply become a steppingstone to where I come to realize I am supposed to be," Kiely says. 

Kiely gives a lot of credit to her Health Care Administration faculty for encouraging her along the way to obtaining her MHA degree. 

"The Health Care Administration Faculty are proud of Kiely, not just for what she has accomplished, but also for who she is authentically deep down -- a thoughtful, engaging and caring human being who, just like many of us, took risks and led with courage, not knowing what the outcome would be," says Dr. Nathan Gerard, Professor in the Department of Health Care Administration at CSULB. "We take pride in our HCA Department for cultivating passionate citizens of the world, who will embrace life-long learning, commit to social justice, and above all, access that courage to embark on something new and challenging in their lives. Kiely demonstrates everything we value in our graduate program. This pride and positivity for CSULB, are what make our students wonderful, and also what makes Kiely the embodiment of an Outstanding Graduate."

Dr. Jeffrey Helton, Lecturer in the Department of Health Care Administration at CSULB, echoes these sentiments.

"Kiely is a witty and intelligent young executive with a very strong grasp of the business elements of our health care industry. She is soon to be the star of a leading health care organization." Citing Kiely's clinical experience as a medical assistant, Dr. Helton says Kiely's experience of giving patient care will positively inform her decisions in the administrative suite moving forward in her career.

"Kiely shows the rare insight to leverage her clinical experience while balancing business realities of our industry, aiming to sustainably deliver excellent patient care."

Congratulations Kiely Gode, CSULB College of Health and Human Services -- Outstanding Graduate 2023!