by Catherine Donnelly
Michael Tsang, MSW ’06, exemplifies the description of a social worker as a healthcare professional who can handle any situation. He describes his career as being focused on helping others but after working for several years in discharge planning and counseling, he wanted to do more. So, he applied for and was accepted into the Administrative Fellowship at NYU. The program exposed him to all levels of leadership and operational opportunities which helped him transition to management. Since 2017, he has been the Director of Operations for NYU Langone Health, Rusk Rehabilitation.
“My focus has always been patient-centered care," he said. “I drew upon the skills learned during my social work training for every family meeting I managed, every productivity meeting I led, and every leadership meeting.”
Michael Tsang appreciated his time at the UB School of Social Work. He said that his field placements provided invaluable experience in shadowing and working with seasoned professionals in challenging clinical settings which included a dialysis center, and the Buffalo VA.
“I encourage current UB students to maximize their time in graduate school and seek out experiences to enrich their classes,” he continued. “If I could suggest a topic to learn, I strongly believe that financial literacy is necessary. All settings where social workers may find themselves, regardless of title, require practitioners to be aware of the cost of healthcare and the various resources needed to deliver high-quality care. I'm so pleased that there are programs now that combine both an MSW and MBA, which I think is a fantastic combination of skills and knowledge.”
One of the challenges Michael Tsang faces in his current role is how the pandemic magnified inequities in access to care and changed many interactions to virtual conversations with patients. As a manager, he was also fighting for appropriate reimbursement and technology support to maintain patient care. “I can say that my training at UB helped me stay nimble and flexible during the pandemic and to help my team pivot as needed. I'm fortunate to work alongside professionals who have dedicated and contributed so much to their respective fields. Every day I look forward to working with my colleagues.”