The Todd L. Peterson Post-Graduate Fellowship in Health Care Administration

UNC Health Care provides three fellowship opportunities: UNC Hospitals (Chapel Hill, NC), UNC REX Healthcare (Raleigh, NC), and Caldwell Memorial Hospital (Lenoir, NC). Historically, one or more Fellows are selected each year at UNC Hospitals and one Fellow is selected at both UNC REX Healthcare and Caldwell Memorial Hospital. Each fellowship consists of a one-year appointment working with the hospital’s Executive staff. For students interested in the UNC REX Healthcare Fellowship, see REX Healthcare Careers and for students interested in Caldwell Memorial Hospital Fellowship, see  Caldwell Memorial Fellowship.

The intention of these Administrative Fellowships is to provide meaningful project-based experience to graduates of master’s degree programs in healthcare management and/or clearly related disciplines. Fellows will have exposure to factors affecting the operation of a nationally competitive healthcare system. These project-oriented programs are extremely flexible, allowing the Fellow to work in many areas on projects which match the interests of the individual and organizational needs. Though these programs are not “rotational” in nature, selection of projects will expose the Fellow to as many departments and in as much depth as the Fellow aspires. Sample projects may include chairing teams and/or participating in:

Image of Fellows with Plaque

  • Preparation of Strategic Plans
  • Quality and Process Improvement Initiatives
  • Budget Preparation and Financial Management
  • Certificate of Need Application and Site Planning
  • Cost Benefit Analysis
  • Revenue Cycle Improvements
  • Productivity Management and Utilization Studies
  • Business and Program Development

Through staff assignments, committee work, and participation in the hospital management team, Fellows will be exposed to policy formulation, resource allocation decisions, corporate planning and problem solving. During the year, Administrative Fellows will gain familiarity with the operations of a major governmental healthcare system, its Board, and also have the opportunities to understand and interact with the operations of affiliate hospitals and their respective Fellows. Fellows will become knowledgeable of the major internal and external forces that are shaping the future of UNC Health Care, the School of Medicine and medical staff organization. This position will offer a unique and challenging experience to individuals interested in pursuing an administrative career within a major healthcare system.

The Administrative Fellowship program was created at UNC Hospitals in 1982. Because of this history, the purpose of the Fellowship program is broadly understood within the hospital and by Executive leadership at UNC Health Care. Projects that Fellows participate in will be both meaningful to the system and of significant depth so as to provide a rich education.

Fellows have the flexibility to pursue and develop his or her own interests. To facilitate this meaningful experience, Fellows at UNC Hospitals will work with:

Chris Ellington, President, UNC Health Care - Network Hospitals and Executive Vice President and CFO, UNC Hospitals, as the Preceptor. The Preceptor relationship exposes Fellows to Executive level strategic priorities and initiatives at the system level.

Fellows will concurrently report to an assigned Senior Vice President Mentor who will serve as a primary point of contact to express project interest and assignment, provide professional development guidance, and a mentorship relationship. The mentor relationship exposes Fellows to a broad array of operational projects based in numerous clinical service lines, diagnostic and therapeutic departments, and support services functions as well as enhanced exposure to medical staff.

Additionally, Dan Lehman, Associate Vice President of Operations, is the Fellowship Coordinator. He serves as a primary point of contact providing day-to-day oversight of the Fellowship experience, including filtering and assigning project work based on Fellow interest, workload, educational opportunity, and organizational need. Dan is also a resource in providing meaningful shadowing opportunities throughout the year.

History of the Administrative Fellowship Program

The Administrative Fellowship Program is named in recognition of Todd Peterson’s direction and leadership during his 21-year tenure at UNC Hospitals.

Upon his arrival at North Carolina Memorial Hospital in 1989, Peterson became responsible for hospital operations along with a fledgling post-graduate fellowship program targeted toward developing young leaders in healthcare administration. Already experienced with and committed to the educational mission of academic medical centers like NC Memorial Hospital, he quickly helped the fellows take advantage of a hands-on operational experience through involvement in work teams, staff project assignments, departmental observations and attendance at board, executive and medical staff leadership meetings all in the context of a learning environment. Serving as the program preceptor, Peterson has helped each fellow make the transition from graduate program knowledge to real world leadership, built a foundation in healthcare management, and mentored 20 fellows helping each to shape their career. This contribution to the on-going development of the future of healthcare leadership is far reaching and extends beyond UNC Hospitals and North Carolina to the nation with former fellows working in positions including hospital/health system administration, senior executive leadership, healthcare entrepreneurial ventures, healthcare consulting and local, state and national health policy.

21 Years of Growth

Much changed during Peterson’s 21-year tenure: UNC Hospitals grew to an entity with a $1B annual budget and 7,000 employees to encompass the NC Memorial Hospital along with the NC Neurosciences, NC Children’s, NC Women’s, the NC Cancer Hospital; and, the creation of the UNC Health Care System which includes UNC Hospitals, UNC REX Healthcare, Chatham Hospital, High Point Regional, Caldwell Memorial and UNC Faculty Physicians and more. Despite this growth and change, there remained one constant – Peterson’s dedication and commitment to his role as preceptor was vital for teaching and mentoring emerging leaders in healthcare over 21 years ago.

Mr. Peterson directed UNC Hospitals’ operations between 1989 and the summer of 2010. During that time he was responsible for operations of UNC Hospitals including nursing, ancillary services, ambulatory services, professional and support services, and finance and accounting. His prior experience at the University of California, Davis, Medical Center from 1980 to 1989 as an associate hospital director included responsibilities as Director of Finance and Director of Professional and Support Services. While at Hahnemann University Hospital from 1973 to 1980, his various responsibilities pertained to professional services and ambulatory clinics. He also served as Assistant Director of the Faculty Practice Plan and he completed his administrative residency at Hahnemann University Hospital. His earlier experience at Mellon Bank included marketing research and a management development program.

About Todd Peterson

Mr. Peterson is a graduate of the University of Pittsburgh (B.S., Business 1968) and the George Washington University (M.A., Healthcare Administration, 1974). He served at U.S. Army Headquarters, Republic of Vietnam (1970). His community activities have included board memberships for North Carolina Hospital Association, Chamber of Commerce, Chatham Hospital, YMCA, and an AIDS service center; judge of elections; and various adjunct faculty positions. He is a Fellow of the American College of Healthcare Executives.

Mr. Peterson served as preceptor for the Administrative Fellowship at UNC Hospitals from 1990 through 2010. His commitment to teaching and mentoring emerging leaders in healthcare forged a preeminent fellowship program that is among the most competitive in the country.