SWCOEH alum Amy Fallon (‘05) named Senior VP of Operations at Arkansas Children’s Hospital
Houston (March 8, 2022) – Amy Fallon, PhD, a former NIOSH trainee in Industrial Hygiene (IH) at the Southwest Center for Occupational and Environmental Health (SWCOEH) and 2005 graduated of the UTHealth School of Public Health, was promoted to the position of senior vice president of operations at Arkansas Children’s Hospital in January.
In her new role, Dr. Fallon has operational responsibility and accountability for all clinical support services, facilities and patient experience departments at Arkansas Children’s Hospital. She lead’s a division of more than 800 team members and continues to provide strategic system oversight to environmental health and safety.
Dr. Fallon shared insights on her time as a NIOSH trainee at the SWCOEH and other background on her career with www.SWCOEH.org.
“Industrial Hygiene was a complement to my engineering degree,” Dr. Fallon said. “I feel it taught me how to approach and think through a problem. It helped me to be solution-oriented and to focus on what interventions I could take to limit risk. That skill set has translated from my technical skill set to my leadership skill set. I would also say that the relationships I built at UTHealth helped prepare me for my career. I valued the mentorship from professors and the friendship of my classmates.”
Dr. Fallon’s path to Arkansas Children’s Hospital started in College Station and included time with the world’s largest beer company. Her path to Industrial Hygiene began while studying Radilological Health Engineering.
“In undergraduate, I was studying Radiological Health Engineering within the Nuclear Engineering department at Texas A&M,” Dr. Fallon said. “In that program, I was also pursuing a “minor” in Systems Safety Engineering. This was my first exposure to IH. One of my professors, Dr. Rock, encouraged me to consider the program at UTHealth School of Public Health. When I was offered the NIOSH traineeship, it was impossible to say no. Through that program, I began with an internship at UTHealth Science Center Houston and then Anheuser-Busch.”
After time in consulting, Dr. Fallon expected to return to IH work in manufacturing, but her path led her to healthcare.
“I started my career with Anheuser-Busch at their brewery in Houston and then took my second job as a consultant for ERM. I quickly learned consulting was not for me and began looking for my next opportunity. At the time, my mom worked at St. Luke's and they needed a Safety Officer. I thought it would be good experience and would ultimately help me get back to IH work in manufacturing. I never expected to stay in healthcare, but I fell in love with the mission of the work. I discovered that my passion for IH work was enhanced by my passion for the mission of the organization. I was granted opportunities to grow my career and took my first leadership position as a Manager of Regulatory Readiness and Safety with responsibilities for the hospital-wide accreditation, patient safety and process improvement. At that point I knew I wanted to stay in healthcare, and I needed to broaden my education to be successful.”
After not gaining a promotion to Director of Support Services at St. Luke’s, Dr. Fallon gained feedback on areas to personally develop from the CEO and hiring manager. This led to a return to UTHealth for a PhD in Health/Healthcare Administration/Management from 2010-2014.
“I decided to go back for my PhD in Management and Policy Science with my sights set on being an operational leader in healthcare. I continued to pursue opportunities to learn more about healthcare and grow my leadership skills while in school. I worked in corporate finance and lead a Project Management Office. When I finished my PhD, I started looking for opportunities in operations leadership and was thrilled to join the team at Texas Children’s Hospital.”
Beginning her new position at Arkansas Children’s Hospital, Dr. Fallon offers advice for current and future students pursuing a SWCOEH ERC traineeship and a career in Public Health.
“My best advice is to be open to opportunities. I know I would not be sitting here if I had not said yes to opportunities that seemed a little out of the box when they were offered to me. I knew there were specific skills I could get from each opportunity. I would also say that you must build a leadership skill set in addition to your technical skill. So much of the work you do in IH relies on your ability to influence people to change behavior.”
The SWCOEH provides a variety of graduate-level training opportunities for occupational and environmental health professionals through our industrial hygiene, occupational and environmental medicine, occupational epidemiology, and Total Worker Health®. For more information, visit the SWCOEH website.