By Charndré Emma Kippie
Regent Business School has recently just appointed Dr Nivisha Parag as Head of their School for Healthcare Management Studies. The MBA in Healthcare Management at Regent Business School is a niche qualification, and offered exclusively by them.
Dr Parag matriculated from Ladysmith Secondary, in 2002, and achieved her MBChB at the University of Kwa-Zulu Natal in 2007. Thereafter, she completed her MBA at Regent Business School, in 2013, post grad Emergency Medicine Specialty (2014), and most recently her Critical Care Subspecialty, in 2017. Regent Business School has expressed how proud they are to have their alumni heading up this sector of their disruptive, innovative educational institution.
Please could you tell us a bit about your background.
I am a 36 year old South African Indian female, not married, and grew up as the introverted middle child of three in Ladysmith KwaZulu Natal. My parents encouraged me to always work hard, and aim for success with the utmost sincerity, taking every challenge as a lesson. I have three pet dogs who are the funniest beings in the world, and enjoy long walks with them, spending time with family and constantly learning new things. I studied, lived and worked in KZN and currently practice as a subspecialist in critical care in private practice. I live to help people, and my medical job allows me to do just that. I qualified as a medical doctor in 2007, and further specialised in Emergency Medicine and Critical Care. I obtained my MBA with Regent Business School in 2013. I am fascinated by the new things I learn each day, and set out to do just that. Embarking on this journey with Regent Business School is the perfect challenge to set new goals for myself and the school and work to attain them.
Congratulations on your new appointment with Regent Business School. Please tell us a bit more about how this came to be.
My appointment with Regent Business School came as South Africa was still reeling from the third wave of Covid-19 infections. Throughout my medical career, I have been seeking a co-occupation that would not only provide enrichment to me, but that would also enable me to help make a difference in improving the healthcare that we deliver. The pandemic, being a stark reminder of the inequalities and deficits in our health systems, was a stimulus that pushed me towards healthcare management education. I applied for an academic leadership post as Head of School for Healthcare Management Studies with Regent Business School because I have a determination and strong belief that healthcare management education can empower people in the industry to become bold and insightful enough to make the much-needed changes in healthcare.
Furthermore, as an emerging qualification, the sector-specific MBA in healthcare management which only Regent currently offers in Southern Africa, provides an ideal platform to use industry insights and collaborate with healthcare leaders to take education in this sector to soaring new heights.
What is your vision for the future of Regent Business School?
As the School of Healthcare Management Studies we envisage a dynamic, relevant and powerful delivery model of management education tailored to the needs of this complex and constantly evolving industry. We have identified the need to upskill and reskill healthcare, and other professionals in the industry, to cope in a pandemic-altered environment that is rapidly undergoing digitalisation, implementation of the National Health Insurance system and major funding, political and social changes in the country. This demand for new knowledge led the team at Regent Business School to grasp at the opportunity to provide such knowledge through quality, world-class education provision with the aim to develop bold leaders who will drive changes in the industry.
Why is nurturing quality programmes at this school important to you?
Quality education is the pinnacle to improving human societies. Without education, nothing else will improve or prosper, and the more people we can teach, the more people there will be to make a difference in the world. As Nelson Mandela so eloquently phrased it: “Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world”, heeding to the intrinsic value of education which, when delivered in a strong and robust system, creates opportunities, improves health and strengthens community resilience.
What 3 tips do you have for those in educator roles in SA?
- Be present. Our students, regardless of level of study, need our support more than ever. It has never been more difficult to be a student, with the pressures to succeed amidst a technological and societal revolution, and our consistent support as educators and mentors are invaluable to making a difference in the lives of our students.
- Be a lifelong learner. An educator that stops acquiring knowledge cannot continue to teach.
- Be an inspiration to students to impart the knowledge they attain with anyone willing to learn from them.
What’s the best piece of advice you have ever received?
“Believe in yourself and the world will believe in you.” A mentor and colleague once told me that believing in myself is like believing in magic; you don’t see the power until you believe in it.
Are there any outreach initiatives, social projects or community work that you’re involved with at the moment?
With the restrictions of the current pandemic, I have been able to work with a group of medical and allied health professionals to provide telehealth support to people suffering from acute Covid-19 illness at home. Having identified the shortage of resources early in the pandemic, this volunteer group developed a system of creating home ‘ICU pods’ with oxygen and monitoring of vital signs, and doctors, nurses and other care professionals provided guidance on clinical care in the home setting. This in itself is fast becoming a permanent change in the way we deliver healthcare.
What are some book titles that have inspired you?
- The Year of Magical Thinking by Joan Didion
- The Alchemist by Paul Coelho
- The Happiest Man on Earth by Eddie Jaku
What are some of your hobbies?
The work I do, spending time with my pets, and learning new things.
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