Forging a Different Path: Grad Finds a New Career and Develops Leadership Abilities


andrew marimon-cabamalan

Andrew Marimon-Cabamalan

Quality Improvement Advisor, Purdue University

Andrew Marimon-Cabamalan had a degree in business administration from UW Bothell and was working in marketing and business analytics, but he wanted to explore different career paths. That's when he learned about the field of health informatics.

"I started looking around online and realized it was pretty new," he said. "It seemed like there was a lot of opportunity there."

Andrew knew he'd need specialized training to break into the field, so he enrolled in the UW Master of Health Informatics & Health Information Management program. The decision paid off – even before graduating in 2015, he was offered a job at Purdue University. He's since been promoted.

But his experience in the MHIHIM program gave Andrew more than just a new job. "The leadership training has helped me across the board – career-wise, personally and with family," he said. "It really opened my mind to solving problems in a better way, to use the human aspect of things to solve problems versus trying to find a binary answer."

Here, Andrew discusses how earning his UW master's degree set him on a path to success.


Can you tell us about your current job?
I'm a quality improvement advisor for Purdue University, as part of Purdue Healthcare Advisors. We're called a practice transformation network. We get providers ready for value-based cared and help them improve health care quality for Medicare beneficiaries.

It really interested me because the environment is changing now, and how providers will get reimbursed in the future will be totally different. It's kind of fun, ambiguous and scary all at the same time.

Did your UW master's degree factor into landing your current job?
Definitely! I would have never gotten this job without having my master's, because I didn't have the direct clinical experience of working in a hospital.

Can you describe your capstone project?
I did my capstone with Purdue in the health informatics program. I got connected with the lean management director and we created a project. They had not looked back at their projects to see what was effective, lean-wise, and if there were patterns they could find. I got a bunch of their raw data, which was unstructured, and put it into a structured format so they could look at it in a better way.

Did that experience help you with your job search?
Yes, that turned into me interviewing for a meaningful use position. I got an offer for that job and started after I graduated. In that role I helped providers metric their reporting and make sure they're on target. I also kept track of regulations, to see what's changing with Medicare and Medicaid to help them keep an eye on their environment.

What did the instructors bring to the master's in HIHIM program?
I was talking with a client who said, "When you get your bachelor's, they tell you what to think. But in graduate school, you learn how to think." The instructors all slowly pushed me out of looking to be told what to think into how to think critically.

Do you still use what you learned?
Some of what I learned in class has stuck with me forever, and I use it daily. For example, that everything is a systematic issue and not human error. That's one of the biggest things that has helped me not get frustrated anymore.

What did you value most about your experience in the program?
It's the leadership philosophy stuff – people management, relationship management and how that's integrated with health care. It really helped me learn how to communicate with people, even when things were not going the right way. It changed the way I thought about things, and helped me find opportunities I wasn't finding before.