Janeen Hill
Crean College Dean Janeen Hill received an Innovator of the Year award from the Greater Irvine Chamber. (Courtesy of Greater Irvine Chamber)

Dean Hill receives Healthcare Innovator of the Year award

The Greater Irvine Chamber named Crean College Dean Janeen Hill as the recipient of the Healthcare Innovator of the Year award for her contributions to the future of the industry and the health of the community. 

Hill was surprised with the honor on Jan. 11 during the Chamber’s Excellence in Healthcare Gala, which was held to recognize outstanding organizations, practitioners and leaders working to improve patient care in the community. Chapman was well represented at the gala with several members of the School of Pharmacy and Crean College in attendance. 

“Being recognized for being innovative is really important because problems don’t get solved unless you figure out how to approach them differently,” Hill said during an interview after the event. “None of these problems are going to get solved unless we think of it in a really innovative way.”

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Hill mentioned that surrounding herself with individuals who think differently is a critical component to ensuring she makes innovative decisions. She said her staff, department chairs and associate deans all contribute to the spirit of innovation at Crean.

“The innovation award is really an award for the college,” she said. “It recognizes how faculty, staff and students understand that standing still and doing things the same way will not solve future problems.”

Hill has a number of innovative accomplishments while holding leadership roles at Chapman. But she noted that she’s particularly proud of establishing a physician assistant program. The program has become “incredibly successful” since graduating its first class in 2018. 

Hill’s also excited about the expansion of the Harry and Diane Rinker Health Science Campus in Irvine and bringing in Shawn Farrokhi, Ph.D., as the new chair of the Doctor of Physical Therapy program. 

“Being able to hire people who have that mindset of innovation is crucial,” she said. “Having support from the university to bring in someone like that is incredibly important. Nothing is ever done in a silo. You need to have people believe you can actually pull it off. Then you have the responsibility to pull it off.”

Benjamin Brazil

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