July 5, 2023

MHA Member Spotlight: Thomas Kleinhanzl

Member Spotlight - Thomas Kleinhanzl

MHA: Why did you pursue a career in healthcare?

TK: I was the first in my family to pursue a career in healthcare. I have always been interested in the sciences and considered studying medicine. I majored in microbiology and volunteered in an Emergency Room in college. These experiences helped expand my sense of service and desire to help others. My heart and mind immediately went towards engaging in a profession that gave back in a positive way to care for people. While studying for my Masters in Hospital Administration, I learned quickly that healthcare is a vast industry that spans many disciplines and careers. I’ve been lucky enough to channel my interests and skills into my profession.  Even now, 34 years later, I am fulfilled to be able to do what I do.

MHA: If you weren’t in healthcare, what would you do?

TK: I think this question is relevant to the time and space one finds themselves. Whatever I am doing, it must have a sense of purpose. At this moment in time, I’d want to be doing something creative. Perhaps it’s playing and writing music; maybe it would be starting a non-profit to teach special needs children music and guitar. I also think traveling is essential, and one of the best educators. My wife Susan and I love to travel, and there is much to see. Experiencing new things, seeing a new place, and learning something new makes us more well-rounded and gives us a broader understanding of the world.

MHA: When you aren’t working, where can we find you?

TK with guitarTK: My family spends a lot of time outdoors, especially in the mountains of North Carolina. Whether it’s hiking, biking, or fly fishing, we enjoy being outside. If I weren’t working, you’d probably find me playing guitar. Playing the guitar is something I do for enrichment, relaxation, and learning something new. It’s a daily habit. Making sure you spend time on the things you enjoy is important.

MHA: What do you find valuable about being a part of MHA? How does the Association add impact to your work?

TK: Maryland is a unique state when it comes to healthcare. MHA helps us to work together to navigate health policies, align our quality improvement efforts, and to allocate resources towards the shared goal of caring for people. Together, MHA helps us create a shared understanding of the uniqueness of different regions and markets, while also appreciating our commonalities where all providers benefit from aligned advocacy.  Working with the great staff at MHA and my wonderful colleagues around the state who care for millions of people is gratifying. What you see by participating with MHA, and what becomes apparent, is the power of collaboration and teamwork. I appreciate the ability to share and learn from my peers, which in turns allows us to make a real impact on how we serve and provide healthcare locally.

MHA: What are you reading? What are you watching?

TK: I’m the kind of person that usually has more than one book I am reading. I’ve got two books I’m currently working on. The first is called “Blood and Treasure” by Bob Drury and Tom Clavin. It’s a detailed look into Daniel Boone and the settling of America’s “first” frontier – the area of western North Carolina, Tennessee, and the regions just past the Cumberland Gap. It’s a unique perspective on an area of history that sometimes doesn’t get much attention. The second book I’m reading is named “Genius at Play,” which is all about the life and career of Frederick Law Olmsted. Olmstead developed some of our country’s most famous gardens and public spaces – from Central Park to the Biltmore to the Capital Complex in DC. What’s interesting about him is that landscape architecture wasn’t his first career, and he had no real direction in his early life. He was a sailor, a college student for a very short time, and a farmer, changing multiple times throughout his early life before settling on something like landscapes. He helped to invent this entire field. It’s a great look into his life.