Erika Lopatynsky attended medical school in Tijuana, where she was born and raised. But during an internship en route to becoming a doctor, she decided she wanted to help more patients than just those whom she treated personally.
“I realized there are gaps delivering care because of inefficiencies. In medical school we’re not trained to create solutions beyond the clinical part,” she says. “It’s a constant fight between doctors and administrators.”
Her medical path took a turn when she learned of UC San Diego Extension’s partnership with UC San Diego School of Medicine and its master’s degree in Leadership of Healthcare Organizations. “I wanted to know what was going on behind the curtain, and combine both worlds.”
Lopatynsky worked on a series of studies with Tijuana General Hospital, tracking incidents of pediatric infectious diseases and determining the cost effectiveness of administering vaccines.
During her studies, she also worked with Inova Diagnostics to reduce waste from the company’s autodiagnostic testing kits. Her efforts saved the company considerable money and earned her a Lean Six Sigma Black Belt, a certification for process improvement.
She’s not likely to stop there, either. The half-Ukrainian, half-Mexican doctor has a global outlook she hopes to bring to bear by working to solve health problems in the developing world.
“I want to create strategies and alternatives for those who don’t have the resources,” she says. “I’ve always wanted to help in the bigger picture, and now I think I’m on the right track.”
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