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Claudia Ringel is a dentist and served as an officer surgeon for the German military for almost 20 years. She says she thrives on new challenges that are outside of her comfort zone, such as when she decided to get her Ph.D. in a different medical field– eye surgery in glaucoma patients– or when she changed the direction of her career and moved to Chapel Hill three years ago. She is pursuing a master’s degree in health administration and management at UNC-Chapel Hill’s Gillings School of Global Public Health.

Claudia Ringel

What made you choose UNC-Chapel Hill when deciding on a program/place to study? 

I live with my husband and my two children in Chapel Hill. Therefore, I looked for a master’s program that complements my clinical experience and is available in the area. I learned online about the excellent reputation and post-employment rates of the Gillings School, which is why I went to the open house event in fall 2018. I was impressed by Gillings’ spirit and the faculty’s mission to help students become tomorrow’s health leaders that will make a difference in the world. My decision to become part of UNC Gillings’ family happened that day. I solely applied for the MHA program at the Gillings School of Global Public Health.


What’s an important lesson that you learned in the military that has helped you in graduate school?

Studying in a foreign language and balancing 19 credit hours with two small children is demanding – especially in the first half of the first semester. I resorted to a strategy that I learned early during my basic military education to overcome the uncertainty about what the critical success factors for studying at UNC Gillings were. Back then, I learned that if you think you can’t go any further, you have at least 20 percent energy left. When the workload at UNC Gillings seemed overwhelming, I just pushed even harder and diligently pursued my goals. This work ethic accelerated my learning effectiveness and, hence, led to success.


What are you hoping to accomplish with your Carolina degree?

My goal is to complement my extensive experience in health care with the profound managerial and strategic insights and skills that I acquire at UNC Gillings to create better health outcomes for both individual patients and society at large. Particularly, I advocate for patient-centered health care that uses an interdisciplinary, collaborative approach to increase care efficiency and effectiveness. I hope to accomplish this through a career in consulting, innovation or strategy.

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