Graduate profile: AJ Kavanaugh

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By Desiree Williams

A.J. Kavanaugh graduated from Hamilton Southeastern High School in 2012. The 26-year-old Fishers resident graduated from Indiana University in 2016 with a degree in health care management and policy and now works as a health care consultant for Crowe LLP.

Q: What was your favorite subject in high school and why?

A: My favorite subject in high school was Spanish. Learning new languages and being able to speak with individuals from other cultures is not only intriguing, but demonstrates a willingness to share and understand in their way of living. 

Q: Who has been your most influential teacher throughout school and why?

A: The most influential teacher for me was Jill McGrath. She constantly challenged me and held me to a higher standard because she knew I was capable. While it was difficult at the time, it encouraged me to work harder and ultimately push myself.

Q: Can you tell me about your collegiate experiences?

A: At IU, I served as the treasurer for Sigma Nu Fraternity as well as the treasurer for the Healthcare Management and Policy Student Association. Throughout my undergraduate career, I was involved in the Riley Dance Marathon and other philanthropies hosted by various Greek organizations. I am currently a graduate student pursuing a master’s of business administration with a health care concentration at Indiana Wesleyan University with an anticipated graduation date of May 2020.

Q: Why did you choose healthcare management?

A: I always knew that I wanted to be involved in the health care industry, with a mother who’s been a nurse for 35-plus years and a fiancé who is a second-year medical student at Marian University’s School of Osteopathic Medicine. I find health care fascinating because it is the intersection of business and morality, and it impacts every single person at some point in their life. It’s a complex industry that requires critical thinking and the ability to work in an environment that is fast-paced and always changing.

Q: What was your path post-graduation?

A: After graduating from IU, I spent a year in San Diego, working for a digital health startup and consulting firm. This was an opportunity for me to get a change of scenery and challenge myself to try new things while getting out of my comfort zone. It only took a year for me to realize that I belonged back in the Midwest.

Q: Do you have any advice for younger students?

A: Meet new people and start to build meaningful professional relationships. This will set you up for success in the long run and demonstrate your eagerness to learn from others. My other suggestion is to read. Reading will not only allow you to learn new concepts, but it will help you draw parallels and develop ideas that could end up impacting the world someday. Lastly, find a mentor who cares about you and your professional development. This person should push you to chase your goals and keep you grounded when necessary. I’d like to shout out to my tremendous mentor, Joe Rizzuto, who serves as the chief operating officer at Priority Physicians, PC.

Q: Is there anything else you’d like the community to know about you?
A: I am passionate about improving the lives of others and am a proud advocate of the sacred patient/physician relationship. Growing up with a mother in the health care industry and being immersed in many different segments of it for nearly five years, I am certain that there is a better way for Hoosiers, and Americans as a whole, to receive and finance their care. I encourage and challenge all of us to become consumers and challenge the status quo. I am a relentless activist for health care freedom.

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