Meet Malerie Hartsell, a 2007 Public Health Sciences alumna. She’s a Program Coordinator for the Children and Youth with Special Health Care Needs Division with S.C. Dept. of Health & Environmental Control (DHEC). Hartsell has been devoted to being a public servant for children with her work at DHEC, and outside of work hours, she’s dedicated time to leading a support group for Scleroderma patients. We caught up with her to learn more about her career and how Clemson prepared her for it.
Q: What is your current job? I work for South Carolina Department of Health & Environmental Control, as a Program Coordinator with the Division of Children and Youth with Special Health Care Needs (CYSHCN) under the Bureau of Maternal and Child Health. As a Program Coordinator within this Division, I oversee our division’s billing unit, where we process reimbursements for services provided to our clients; serve as the sickle cell disease liaison and coordinator between SC DHEC and the four sickle cell community-based organizations in the state as well as serve on the sickle cell state task force. Additionally, I manage all of our division’s contractual agreements with external organizations to include initiating, renewing, and approving contracts and invoices.
Q: What is a typical day/week like? Honestly there is not one typical day/week! We have several moving parts within CYSHCN but our team works very well together! For the most part a typical day will always include providing customer service to internal and external partners which may be in the form of researching or trouble shooting payment inquiries, reviewing contractual agreements or invoices, providing technical assistance to the four CYSHCN regional offices and/or sickle cell organizations. Furthermore, I provide assistance as needed to my billing team.
Q: What is the best part about your job? Definitely the team of individuals who make up CYSHCN! We have a dynamic team who are adaptable and take on the challenges that we face at any given moment which is key with how often changes come about. Our team is passionate about the work we do for our clients, the community and the state, and I’m proud to be a part of the CYSHCN team!
Q: Describe your career path since graduating Clemson. What inspired you on this path? My path after graduation was not exactly as I anticipated; however, I did obtain my Masters in Public Health, which was a goal of mine. Right after graduation, I was offered an opportunity by Dr. Cheryl Dye to serve as the Project Coordinator on the SC STEP [FKP1] grant. This was a great opportunity and it helped me in so many ways in working with the community. After working with Dr. Dye, I went into the private sector, working in health care management and administration but found my way back to state government. I was working full-time in state government when I graduated from the University of South Carolina with my MPH in Health Promotion, Education, and Behavior (HPEB) in 2011. I remained in state government working in roles as a grant project monitor and program coordinator. In 2013 I went back to the private sector working with a health care company and served in roles as a Clinical Specialist, Assistant Account Manager, and Quality Assurance Specialist. Finally, in 2015 I returned to state government but started with SC DHEC in 2016. In all of my different roles, I have utilized my education in public health from health care administration to health education and program evaluation in some capacity. I knew when I was in undergrad that I would always obtain my masters but one of my goals was to work at SC DHEC. The different positions I’ve held just prepared me for where I am now in my job with SC DHEC and I gained much experience from each one of them.
Q: What was your favorite Clemson memory? There are so many to choose from – this is a hard question! But there are two that stand out to me. As a child, I aspired to attend Clemson. Why? I fell in love with the Tiger paws on the highway from when I traveled with family members to drop one of my cousins off at Clemson when she attended. I thought it was amazing, so I knew I had to go to Clemson too! I would have to say a favorite memory when I attended was when we beat FSU and all the students stormed the field and they sawed off pieces of the goal post! It was pretty spectacular and to watch it unfold was epic! This was huge because Clemson had not beat FSU in quite some time and of course this is when the Bowdens coached at Clemson and FSU (father and son respectively). I have several fond memories of Clemson though!
Q: Do you volunteer with any organizations outside of work? If so, talk about what you do and how you got involved. I volunteer with the South Carolina Scleroderma Foundation Chapter. My mother has scleroderma, which is an auto-immune disease that causes hardening and tightening of the skin and connective tissues of the body due to the overproduction of collagen. My mother has been involved with the Scleroderma Foundation for years and became a member of the Patient Support Group that recently started in Columbia, SC, and now both she and I serve as group leaders of this group. As a group leader, I help convene the meetings, provide information back to the executive chapter members, and provide communication to the support group members. As group leaders, we also assist with the Amy K. Parrish Patient Education Conference in any capacity needed. I really enjoy serving in this capacity as it helps to foster a better understanding of what my mom goes through, and its awesome to be able to provide that level of support to her!
Q: Any advice to students? Take advantage of all the opportunities at your fingertips! I think if I could re-do one thing, it would be to take a semester or two and study abroad. I believe the experience you have when studying abroad may be like no other. Also, if you must change your major, that is okay – changing my major brought me to Health Sciences and it was the best choice I made!
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