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Intern Success Stories - Healthcare Management

Before the doctor arrives, student intern Zehara Habib, a health care management major, straps a patient onto a medical table and starts a machine that stretches the patient’s spine. Far from the medieval torture device it calls to mind, the DRX 9000 gently releases compression between the vertebrae, relieving lower-back pain.

Dr. John Hanks runs a chiropractic practice and serves as the senior chiropractic consultant for Kaiser Permanente’s Department of Complementary Medicine, which is bridging the gap between alternative and Western medicine, a goal shared by MSU Denver’s Health Professions Department.

Under the direction of office manager Alice Portas, Zehara first mastered scheduling, billing and claims follow-up, and was “shocked to learn about (the limitations of) insurance reimbursement.” Dr. Hanks then introduced her to treatment procedures. In addition to decompression, she administers pain-relieving therapies such as electrical stimulation, ultrasound and a light therapy probe. 

Zehara’s desire to work in health care is traced partly to her Ethiopian heritage in which medicine is a valued profession for aspiring youth. She keeps in touch with her heritage through the Ethiopian Student Association and through travel back to her native country.  An interest in African history sparked her participation in a Ghana study-abroad program with MSU Denver’s African American Studies Department. Through her work-study job in the Center for Math, Science and Environmental Education at MSU Denver, Zehara assists minority students with the tutoring they need to excel—just as she has. 


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