Published 07/01/14

A career in good health: Sandra Coletta '88 MBA

Sandra Coletta '88 MBA Sandra Coletta ’88 MBA is no stranger to the challenges of a rapidly changing healthcare system.

A savvy businesswoman with more than 30 years of experience in a hospital setting, she recently assumed full-time responsibility as president and chief operating officer of Care New England (CNE), the Rhode Island-based integrated health care system. She had been serving part-time as CNE's COO since 2012 in addition to maintaining her role as president and CEO of Kent Hospital, the state's second largest.

“To excel in healthcare today, you must have the skills not only to succeed but also to maintain a competitive advantage,” says Coletta. “To do that, you must develop a depth of knowledge and critical thinking skills.”

Those are skills that Bryant, with its recent addition of a Physician Assistant program in a new School of Health Sciences, will continue to instill specifically in future graduate school students.

"To excel in healthcare today, you must have the skills not only to succeed by also to maintain a competitive advantage."

Like Coletta, the University is no newcomer to the healthcare arena. A Master in Business Administration with a concentration in healthcare management was available in the early 1990s, and a two-year corporate MBA program was offered to employees of Lifespan, a health system in Rhode Island comprising Rhode Island Hospital, Miriam Hospital, and several others.

Named Kent’s CEO in August 2008, Coletta took the helm in October of that year during a challenging time—2007 had posted a loss of almost $9 million. In 2009, Kent posted a $3.7 million net income.

“We’ve had our bumps, but we’ve focused…not just on changing the perception, but changing our reality—improving the quality. When people experience that improved quality, their overview and perception change,” says Coletta.

Coletta advocates for the state to join 36 others and pass legislation that allows doctors to apologize for mistakes. The goal, says Coletta, is to improve patient care.

“That’s the perspective that I’ve always taken. That all of us in administration and support services are here to put the resources in the hands of those clinicians who are the front line and take care of our patients.”