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WGU Graduate Speaker, Ronald Buie, Summer 2016

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WGU Graduate Speaker, Ronald Buie, Summer 2016
Western Governors University
<p>Although Ron has now completed his third degree, his B.S. Health Informatics is the first that meets a growing need in the country for more health informatics professionals. After spending the last few years in Korea working in healthcare as an acupuncturist, Ron wanted to return to the United States and tackle this newly found career path in health informatics. He thrived in WGU’s self-paced model while interning with the Louisiana Public Health Institute. This fall, Ron will begin the health informatics master’s degree program at the University of Washington.</p> <p>Ronald Buie earned his Bachelor of Science, Health Informatics degree.</p> <p>Transcription of video:</p> <p>I'm a little short, and there's... okay, there we go. All right. [Laughter] Hello fellow graduates, mentors, directors. I've been invited here today to share my story and hopefully further inspire you, while congratulating you on graduating from WGU. And on that note, congratulations, you made it. You are here, and if you're not already using your degree, soon enough you'll be. In fact, that is one of the brilliant strokes of WGU I am confident that your degree is immediately useful because WGU only provides useful degrees. Degrees with high rates of return, and deep waters to swim in. For those of you in your early 20s, for whom this is your first degree, you are especially fortunate and I offer you a very special congratulations.</p> <p>I have, as of this year, three college degrees and I am preparing for a fourth. I graduated high school at the height of the tech double when the prevailing philosophy was: It doesn't matter what you get, just get a degree. And I was all too happy to oblige. If you have never studied Biblical text, might I advise that you only take it up after having earned a sizable sum of money. Similarly, if you have any interest in getting a degree in traditional Chinese medicine, I would encourage you to reconsider, or at least to carefully consider your timing and expectations. If these sound awfully niche, you would be right. And the consequence of my choices was a profound misalignment of my ambitions and opportunities.</p> <p>The resulting frustration and a sense of wanderlust inspired a move to Korea. My purpose there, besides being something of an early mid life crisis, was to search for an answer to a question that had been bugging me in my clinical experience as an acupuncturist. Many of my patients were poorly managed diabetic, and pain cases. In reviewing these cases, more often than not, usual care rather than any necessary course of their condition was harming them.</p> <p>As many of you have taken management courses will understand, quality is largely the result of leadership where the system has designed a feature, and not a bug. I spent a lot of time in Korea studying their health care system to better understand the features of our own. This led naturally to health informatics and its power for improving prevention, care, and research.</p> <p>A few years later, I returned to the States and discovered WGU and learned of their health informatics program. It looked like a solid choice. By including the registered health information administrator credential, it meant that if worse came to worse, I could still find work in the field without further education.</p> <p>WGU's open structure also allowed me to accurately predict my timeline, and I knew that I could complete the degree as quickly as any post bachelorette certificate in the field. The price and flexibility were nice bonuses. With the encouragement of some former teachers, I signed up and got to it, completing about seven competency units per month for the next year. I was motivated, enjoyed the topics, and the self directed model played well into my strengths.</p> <p>While attending WGU, I was reunited with a friend who had gone on to a PhD in epidemiology. She was impressed enough with my experience and the degree to give me a shot as a research assistant with a public health firm that she works for. I impressed her colleagues, who then brought me on board as a research evaluation intern where I still work today.</p> <p>For all of you who completed the health informatics program, you may remember one of our readings was a 2012 publication about the need for health informatics and health information management in public health. That need remains unmet. And if you have any interest, there is a place for you.</p> <p>As for me, I knew I wanted to go on to a masters in health informatics and many more programs had appeared since the last time I looked. I made a list, took the GRE, and started applying. While my list was largely filled with what I felt were safe choices, I also shot for the moon and applied for a program that had long been in my sites: The biomedical and health informatics programs at the University of Washington. Not expecting much besides a polite, "Not at this time," I am happy to say that I was accepted and will be attending the University of Washington this fall. [Applause]</p> <p>Having seen some of my fellow students in the forums question if their WGU degree will be respected, I say don't worry about that. It is a high value asset. WGU has worked hard to provide the kind of education that guarantees you a place at the table. In order to be here today, you have demonstrated a high internal drive towards achieving mastery, and applying it towards your ends. You've accepted what is given to you as a starting point, but not a goal. And so guaranteed that your education is not limited by your educators, but instead, by your ambition and creativity.</p> <p>You have all demonstrated your talent to identify challenges, and actively search for ways to better yourself and surpass them. In this way, piece by piece, we make ourselves, our products, and the world better. I fully expect that you will take this attitude with you going forward, being neither satisfied nor paralyzed by dysfunctional status quo.</p> <p>Now, in closing, I want to thank all of you for listening and the graduation committee for inviting me here, and our mentors and content experts for being there along the way. Thank you all and good luck. Please give yourselves a round of applause.</p> <p>[Applause]</p>
Western Governors University
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Original Format: 
Commencement Video
Digital Format: 
MP4 (Moving Picture Experts Group)