MBA Student To Release Book With Focus on Healthcare Literacy

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Working at a medical clinic, HanhLinh HoTran (MBA’23) was astounded by the lack of basic healthcare and health insurance literacy among patients. More than 95% of the general population does not have basic insurance knowledge, according to Kaiser Family Foundation. HanhLinh felt compelled to help bridge this gap and these efforts inspired her book, Smart Patient: What You Need to Know About the U.S. Healthcare System. Through her use of storytelling, HanhLinh seeks to educate and empower patients as they navigate through the complicated world of American healthcare. 

HanhLinh emphasized the importance of Smart Patient for an acute understanding of the American Healthcare system — particularly during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

“The pandemic has interrupted everyone’s lives in the most unexpected ways as thousands of people have lost their jobs and health insurance,” said HanhLinh. “Being able to find affordable care is extremely important — arguably, now more than ever before.” 

A current student in the Flex MBA Program, HanhLinh also highlights how vital the Georgetown McDonough community was throughout the writing process. The school captured her attention because of her desire to gain a foundational management framework to pursue the different phases of future ventures. 

Her own parents are successful entrepreneurs, and HanhLinh noted how managing a small business is vastly different from a large one, especially when lacking formal business training. HanhLinh wanted to embrace her entrepreneurial spirit in the healthcare industry, and she was certain Georgetown McDonough would help her get there.

“Unlike many industries, the business of healthcare demands a balance between ethics and profit, but the scale can tilt a bit heavier on the side of profit,” said HanhLinh. “An MBA at Georgetown McDonough is unique because it emphasizes both ethics and profits, and it offers the compass needed to make tough decisions while innovating and challenging the status quo.”

Also, HanhLinh benefited from the unwavering support of Georgetown McDonough faculty and staff. She leaned on the library staff to discover reliable data for her analysis and wrote under the guidance of Eric Koester, professor of the practice, Georgetown Entrepreneurship, and successful entrepreneur himself. 

“Writing on a topic I’m passionate about is easy, but writing a book to publish is no small feat,” HanhLinh noted. “Professor Koester has been an incredible mentor in advising me to the finish line.” 

HanhLinh also feels the publication of Smart Patient aligns with the Jesuit principle of women and men for others and speaks to her own desire to bring positive changes to the world. 

“This book is here to help guide you to quality healthcare when you need it without breaking your wallets,” she said. “The amount of time and money saved through knowledge from the book pays dividends in the future.” 

Smart Patient is slated to be released in December 2020 with New Degree Press. More information can be found on her website at