James Madison University

Stephen Craig (’01): Health Services Administration Alumnus

By: Christine Borkowski
Posted: April 19, 2012

PHOTO: Stephen CraigAs the Director of Operations at HCA Virginia Health Group, Stephen Craig (’01) oversees the day-to-day operations for the medical company. The health group spans from Richmond to Northern Va. with 50 locations. The multiple departments he manages for the 150-provider network are planning, finance, recruitment, personnel management and physician contracting.

“Many of the courses that I took at JMU gave me a solid foundation for graduation level courses; health economics, managed care and finance,” Stephen Craig explained. “After graduating from JMU, I went directly to graduate school to earn my Master of Health Administration degree from Virginia Commonwealth University.”

The challenges of graduate studies were not easy, but the course work and class structure in the JMU HSA program well-prepared Craig for any obstacles ahead.

Craig’s Strong Suits

One of Craig’s main interests in the health services administration field is healthcare reform.

With the digital world ever-developing, many aspects of the healthcare business are certainly changing quickly. Craig explained, “The physician practice/medical group side of the healthcare system will certainly be affected by many of the proposed reform measures.” As far as changes in the medical system go, Craig cited accountable care organizations, provider risk contracting and “HITECH,” which includes electronic health records and information exchanges.

Another one of Craig’s interests includes Human Resource Development (HRD), which happened to be his minor while studying at Madison.

“Healthcare organizations today need to ensure that they have the talent or bench strength to ensure their strength or position in the market,” Craig emphasized. HRD principles such as succession planning, training and employee development determine whether or not middle managers are ready to take on senior leadership roles in healthcare organizations.

Craig’s Mentors

Today, Craig still considers Dr. Jon Thompson of the JMU HSA program a mentor. “[Dr. Thompson] is the reason that I am in this field. He was the one that first opened my eyes to the opportunities with healthcare administration,” Craig said. Thompson’s commitment and passion for higher education inspires Craig to keep learning and to take every opportunity that arises.

Another one of Craig’s mentors is his superior at the health group, Ted Johnson. Craig could always call Johnson, even before they worked together, to ask him about various subjects. Conversation topics could range from management problems to personal development issues such as work/life balance. “Like Dr. Thompson, Ted is someone that will be a mentor of mine for many years to come,” Craig acknowledged.

Advice for JMU Students

As for Craig’s advice for current JMU HSA students, “Try to gain as much experience in the field as [you] can. This could be through paid or unpaid internships, volunteer work, and special projects.” Craig stressed that first-hand experience is extremely valuable when attending JMU.

Joining the JMU Health Administration Student Association (HASA) is a way to network with classmates and practicing administrators. From community service participation to social events, HASA is a great organization for meeting others in the HSA program outside of class.

Craig also suggests reading up on the healthcare industry and its current events. The healthcare industry is ever-evolving, with news on the front page daily. As the regulatory policies change, it is important to monitor any developments.

Read more about other JMU alumni and HSA news on the Health Services Administration website.


  • Application deadlines for admission to the Health Services Administration major:

    Spring Admission: September 15th

    Fall Admission: February 15th
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