Administrative Fellowship Program

Training Future Health Care Leaders

As a rapidly growing health care organization, Sanford Health is invested in the growth and development of our future leaders. Our leadership believes a high-quality fellowship can help transition young professionals from the world of academic learning to the realities of leading in a modern health care system.

The Sanford Health Administrative Fellowship Program offers a wide range of rotations, executive mentoring and meaningful project work so our fellows get the opportunity to make substantial contributions that cross organizational lines.

See more information on the Administrative Fellowship Program below. If you have questions or would like more information, please send your inquiry to

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Fellowship Overview

The Administrative Fellowship Program is a 12-month rotation and project-based program. It combines structured rotations with the opportunity for fellows to play an active role in designing their fellowship experience. Structured rotations allow fellows to develop a well-rounded understanding of the inner workings of each department while networking with leaders across the organization. Fellows build on this foundation throughout the remainder of the program as they work with their executive mentor to identify project opportunities that benefit their professional development and have a meaningful impact on the organization.

In addition to project work, fellows will have the opportunity to rotate in elective areas of interest, including those unique to Sanford Health like Sanford Imagenetics, Sanford Profile and Sanford World Clinic. This structure allows fellows to explore a wide range of administrative areas while experiencing the mission-driven culture of Sanford Health’s leadership.

The Administrative Fellowship Program offers:

  • Exposure to a large rural health system
  • Executive mentoring
  • Monthly cohort meeting and leadership development workshops with fellows at other Sanford Health sites
  • Opportunity for fellows to customize their program by exploring specific areas of interest
  • Opportunities to attend senior leadership and organizational meetings
  • Professional development opportunities
  • Funded trip to a national conference
  • Competitive salary and benefits

Fellowship Qualifications

To join the Administrative Fellowship Program, applicants must have these qualifications:

  • Must have received or have completed coursework and are on track to receive a master’s degree by spring 2022
  • Must graduate within six months of the start of the fellowship
  • Must have a master’s degree in a field related to health care (MHA, MHSA or MBA with health care emphasis) from a CAHME/AUPHA accredited program
  • Involvement in a professional organization in health care or health care administration is preferred
  • Health care experience is preferred

Sanford Health does not sponsor visas for the Administrative Fellowship Program.

Application Process

All applicants for a Sanford Health Administrative Fellowship must apply online at and adhere to the guidelines in the NCAF Code of Good Practice. To apply:

  1. Candidate must ensure he or she is on track to receive a master’s degree in a field related to health care by spring 2022.
  2. Submit a completed application before the application deadline: October 2021.
  3. Candidates who make the first round interview process will complete a virtual interview via Skype with the program director and program coordinator.
  4. Candidates who make the second round interview process will be invited to interview on-site with the executive leadership team.
  5. Sanford Health will make formal offers: November 2021.
  6. If not all fellowship positions are filled during the first cycle, Sanford Health will use the second-round NAFCAS application cycle (November-January).
  7. Formal offers are contingent on the completion of a successful employment background check and health screening to be completed shortly before a fellow’s official start date.

Application Requirements
Applicants must submit all of the following materials through

  • Cover letter
  • Resume
  • Undergraduate and graduate transcripts
  • Three letters of recommendation: one academic, one professional and one other (academic, professional or letter from program director)
  • Personal statement answering prompt provided in the documents section on your application
  • Complete all application questions, including essay and other questions as indicated

Important Dates

  • NAFCAS applications open: June 2021
  • Application deadline: October 2021
  • Virtual and on-site interviews: October-November 2021
  • Official offers will be made no earlier than: November 2021

Current Fellows

Tyler Ust
Sioux Falls, SD

After graduating with a bachelor’s degree in zoology from North Dakota State University, Tyler Ust began focusing his efforts on developing a better understanding of health care operations in multiple settings. He then received his master’s degree in health administration from the University of Iowa before pursuing a fellowship at Sanford Health.

“Working in health care delivery, I engaged with patients, providers, administrators and other allied health professionals,” he said. “These experiences provided me with the direction needed to enter health care administration.”

As a former patient, volunteer, intern and employee at Sanford Health, Ust has strong ties to the organization’s commitment to improving the human condition. He also appreciates and understands the need for strong community partnerships as a small-town North Dakotan.

“Sanford Health is an example of how a commitment to providing expert care close to home can positively impact local communities and individual well-being,” he said.

Since entering the Administrative Fellowship Program, Ust has enjoyed living out the mission of Sanford Health and learning from team members, leaders and providers about how to advance health care delivery via innovation, continuous improvement and best practices. “It’s a privilege to contribute to a successful, integrated health system that encourages change and innovation,” he said. “Sanford Health provides incredible opportunities for growth and exposure through meaningful contributions and experiences.”


Brianna Sparks
Fargo, ND

After spending time at a long-term care facility visiting her grandmother, Brianna Sparks knew she wanted to work in health care.

“I wanted to deliver the best care possible to others,” she said. “Health care includes some of the best times in a person’s life, some of the worst and everything in between.”

Sparks received her undergraduate and graduate degrees in health care administration from the University of South Dakota. During her studies, she was actively involved with Health Executives Advancing in Leadership and she built upon her health care experience through opportunities at Mayo Clinic, Sanford Health Plan and the Sanford Vermillion Clinic.

As a former Sanford Health intern, Sparks knew pursuing a fellowship would lead to diverse experiences in multiple areas of health care delivery. “I’ve been able to work on some incredible projects that I would not have been a part of anywhere else,” she said.

“I’ve really enjoyed my fellowship at Sanford Health and I’m looking forward to the opportunities that lie ahead.”


Katie Kunkel

Sioux Falls, SD

Katie Kunkel received undergraduate and graduate degrees in health services administration from the University of South Dakota. During her studies, Kunkel was actively involved with Dakotathon, a fundraiser benefiting the Children’s Miracle Network and the Sanford Children’s Hospital. It was through this experience that she became connected with an internship opportunity at the Sanford Health Foundation.

Kunkel next secured an internship at the Sanford Center for Digestive Health and knew she wanted to continue building upon her Sanford Health experiences. As an administrative fellow, Kunkel assisted corporate services.

“This role allowed me to develop valuable competencies and skills through executive mentorship, a wide range of rotations in support service areas and meaningful, high-level project work based on my interests,” she said.

“Sanford Health’s investment in the growth and development of future leaders is an evident depiction of their pioneering nature and commitment to excellence,” she said. “I am so grateful for the opportunity to start my career at Sanford Health and make a positive impact in the community that I love.”


Taylor Howard
Bemidji, MN

Taylor Howard received his undergraduate degree in marketing from Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah. After pursuing a marketing career, he completed his graduate degree in health administration from Weber State University in Ogden, Utah. Then, Howard became a clinic scheduler at the University of Utah Health.

“One of the lessons I’ve learned along the way is to find an organization that shares your values and morals,” he said. “When it came time to look for a fellowship program, I sensed this connection at Sanford Health.”

His time as a fellow has confirmed he made the right choice.

“Leadership and staff at all levels at Sanford Health understand the organization’s mission and strive to fulfill it each day,” he said.

As a fellow, Howard has had ample opportunities for growth and personal development.

“I cannot speak highly enough of the fellowship program here,” he said. “I feel very blessed to be in Bemidji and look forward to the opportunities my fellowship will continue to provide in the future.”


John LaFazia
Bismarck, ND

John LaFazia was on the path to becoming a nurse when he decided to pursue health care administration. He completed his undergraduate and graduate degree in health care administration from Weber State University in Ogden, Utah.

“I’ve always known that I wanted to help people and work in health care,” he said. “And I knew the best way to do that was by gaining a better understanding of health care operations and policy.”

While applying for fellowships, LaFazia wanted to work for a patient- and staff-focused organization.

“Sanford Health fit this profile perfectly and since starting my fellowship, I’ve known that I’ve made the right choice,” he said.

“I’ve had the opportunity to create lasting relationships with the leadership team. They’ve taken a strong interest in my mentorship to help me grow in my leadership skills and knowledge.”


Ann Drvol
Fargo, ND

Ann Drvol is a graduate of the University of Minnesota’s Master of Healthcare Administration Executive Program. Prior to becoming an administrative fellow at Sanford Health, Drvol has worked in various settings as an occupational therapist. Within that role, she gained clinical and leadership experience by working with front-line staff and patients.

She chose to pursue a fellowship at Sanford Health to use her clinical and leadership skills to meet the needs of a large health system serving both rural and urban areas.

“My fellowship was the perfect opportunity to further my skills as a leader to help advance clinical care and operations for patients,” she said. “This year has been a chance to take a deep dive alongside Sanford Health’s highly skilled leadership to help shape health care delivery across the region and nation.”

Fellow Alumni

Eduek Inyang
Bemidji, MN

Eduek Inyang graduated from Texas A&M University with a master’s degree in business administration with a concentration in health care administration. Inyang then wanted to find an organization that allowed him to continue to develop as a leader.

“The next step for me was to plug myself into a health care system that shared my view of care delivery, would nurture my enthusiasm for health care innovation and embodied an exceptional network of care providers as well as seasoned administrators that I could learn from,” said Inyang.

He chose Sanford Health because of the variety.

“The fellowship program at Sanford Health develops the administrative competencies of fellows through structured mentorships with seasoned administrators, an impressive list of available elective rotations to help establish a clearer picture of ‘fit’ within a health care system and the opportunity to work on specific projects that impact the care delivery process across the health system,” he said.


Jeremy Coss
Bismarck, ND

Jeremy Coss received undergraduate and graduate degrees in health services administration from the University of South Dakota. During his undergraduate studies, Coss interned in several rural South Dakota facilities, but it was his graduate work with Sanford World Clinics in Ghana that helped him understand what it takes for a health system to meet the needs of individuals and communities. Based on this experience, he chose to pursue an Administrative Fellowship with Sanford.

“I have seen first-hand how impactful Sanford is to the communities it serves,” said Coss. “In rural Midwest towns or the coastal villages in Ghana, Sanford’s commitment to bringing care close to home epitomizes what it means to deliver care…. I chose health care because I feel drawn to helping people. As a leader in health care, I can help to influence patient care and experiences in many areas and in many ways.”


Jentz Painter
Fargo, ND

Jentz Painter received his undergraduate degree in exercise science from Utah State University and a master’s degree in health care administration from the University of Utah. While playing football for the university, Painter suffered a few injuries and worked closely with the team physician and athletic trainers. He became interested in health care from these interactions.

Painter then secured an administrative internship at a local hospital and discovered health care leadership. He chose to pursue a fellowship at Sanford Health.

“I’m passionate about innovation and developing as a health care leader, and everything that I learned about Sanford pointed to a culture of both of those,” he said. “The fellowship experience at Sanford has offered me the guidance and exposure necessary to find where I fit within health care. I’ve been able to create close relationships with senior leaders who have mentored me and helped create a unique experience tailored to my interests and goals.”


Andrew Wilkes
Fargo, ND

Andrew Wilkes knew from a young age that he would work in health care. He received his undergraduate degree in Spanish translation with a minor in business management from Brigham Young University. He then went on to pursue a master’s degree in health care administration from the University of Utah.

“I felt the best way to help those in need was to work in health care,” Wilkes said. “I realized my skill set and interests were more a fit for health care administration. After some research, I decided an Administrative Fellowship with Sanford would be an incredible opportunity.”

So far, he’s enjoyed his experience.

“I’ve had the opportunity to be mentored by some pretty impactful leaders in Fargo and am learning a lot about what makes a health system tick. I have also had the opportunity to create a vast network of health professionals that are eager to help me in my journey,” Wilkes said.


Joey Snyder
Sioux Falls, SD

Joey Snyder first knew he wanted to pursue health care administration from his involvement with Dakotathon, a fundraiser benefitting sick children.

“As an undergrad, I was on the executive board for a student organization that fundraises for Sanford Children’s. I was able to meet some of the families that were impacted by the fundraising. I changed my major to health services administration and never looked back,” Snyder said.

He completed his undergraduate degree in health services administration from the University of South Dakota. He went on to complete his master of health administration at St. Louis University. Snyder knew he wanted to pursue a fellowship at Sanford Health.

“Having previously worked as an intern and nursing assistant with Sanford, seeking an administrative fellowship here was something that appealed to me on both a personal and professional level,” Snyder said.