Alumnus Tackles Healthcare Supply Challenges Thanks to MHA Training

John LaFazia, MHA

Before patients begin their journey to recovery, the equipment used for their care and rehabilitation has been on its own travels, arriving through a logistical web of manufacturers and suppliers to hospitals, clinics, nurse stations and doctors’ offices. Since August of this year, WSU MHA alumnus John LaFazia has found himself in the middle of that web. 

A 2020 graduate of Weber State's MHA program, LaFazia is Sanford Health's new director of supply chain operations for all of central and western North Dakota.

“My day-to-day is different every day, which I actually enjoy,” he said. He oversees three managers who are responsible for either warehousing, central supply or inventory. If they encounter roadblocks, he’s there to assist. 

Even just a few months into the job, he’s seeing the need for standardization, making big-picture decisions on what to carry or not, and dealing with the same supply chain issues that have rocked other industries in the wake of COVID-19. 

Weber State’s MHA program enabled LaFazia to prepare for that uncertainty and the real-world challenges that arise from it. For him, it was all in the program’s approach to education, which relied heavily on the use of case studies and asked students to take the perspective of “what if this was your problem to solve?” The result, he said, was a growing ability to handle the complexities of healthcare management.

He also credited the program with enabling him to network more effectively, and he specifically cited the case study competition and fellowship opportunities as being extremely beneficial. 

These days, he’s making data-informed decisions on suppliers and products in an effort to standardize his employer’s supply chain. All this is against the backdrop of significant challenges such as a glut of backorders and the cost of supplies going up 20 to 25 percent. 

His health administration education at Weber State ended up not being “by the book.” For that, he’s grateful. 

“If I’m paying money to get an education, I want that education to be impactful,” he said. “Textbook education is not what I’m looking for.” 

“For me, it all comes down to real-world experience.”