Student Consulting Group Offers Pro Bono Work in Exchange for Real-World Experience

RAM Handz co-founders, (l. to r.) Kyle Santillan ‘23, Delaney Mayette ‘23, and Michael Philippone ‘23, celebrating the launch of their first project at Sentara Norfolk General Hospital.When the MHA Class of 2023 entered as first-year students in the fall of 2020, they were already well aware of the many changes that the pandemic had brought to their lives inside and outside of the classroom.

Of particular interest to these students was how to supplement their in-class learning with real-life applications, a need that had previously been fulfilled by internships, volunteer work, and connections made face-to-face. That’s when a group of students, led by Delaney Mayette, Michael Phillppone and Kyle Santillan, dreamt up Ram Handz Healthcare Consulting, a fully student-led organization that provides pro bono consulting services for healthcare systems around the country. 

After reaching out to mentors, previous preceptors, and alumni, Ram Handz took on a slate for projects in their first year of operation, working with Sentara Healthcare, HCA Healthcare, and more.

The areas of focus for each project has run the gamut from a patient education portal to marketing materials to a gap analysis study, and this diverse range of consulting work has allowed the students to focus in on their interests and the different avenues that they may be considering for their careers. 

The work of Ram Handz Healthcare Consulting has had immediate benefit for the students involved, with many of them securing internships and later fellowships with the health systems with which they had made these valuable connections.

“I don’t think it’s a coincidence,” said Mayette. “Through our consulting work with Ram Handz, these organizations saw what we could do and were excited to bring us on.”

Each project has been supported by faculty in the Department of Health Administration, providing the Ram Handz team with an opportunity to deepen and strengthen the knowledge base that they had gained in the classroom. 

With the founding members of Ram Handz getting ready to start their third-year residency placements in the fall, the organization is looking forward to the future. Ram Handz is in the process of applying to be an official VCU student organization, and they are also seeking out new connections in the industry and with alumni to pave the way for future opportunities to provide consulting services.

“Everything we do is building on what we’re learning in the classroom,” Mayette added, “and we’re excited to take that knowledge and make a difference out in the world.”

(Pictured (l. to r.) Kyle Santillan ‘23, Delaney Mayette ‘23, and Michael Philippone ‘23, celebrating the launch of their first project at Sentara Norfolk General Hospital.)

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