University of Tennessee

Haslam Physician Executive MBA Informs Healthcare CEO’s Many Initiatives

September 17, 2021

Eneida Roldan (PEMBA, ’03), Florida International University’s health care network CEO, wears many hats in the world of medicine and higher education. As associate dean for international affairs, associate dean of the master in physician assistant studies and a professor at FIU’s Herbert Wertheim College of Medicine, her work not only influences human health, but also the training of new practitioners. And FIU appreciates Roldan’s range of expertise.

“When the situation calls for sound, science-based decision making, political insight and aplomb, I look to Dr. Roldan,” FIU President Mark B. Rosenberg said. “At FIU, we are safer and wiser because Dr. Roldan has helped lead us through the pandemic.”

When the pandemic hit, FIU called on Roldan to lead COVID-19 testing and vaccine sites on campus. She credits her time in the University of Tennessee, Knoxville’s Haslam College of Business Physician Executive MBA program with helping prepare her for these duties, thanks to its focus on physician leadership.

“It’s not only using your medical expertise, skills and competencies,” Roldan says. “when you go into an MBA program, it teaches you another level of discipline, organizational skills and management.”

Her PEMBA background also assists with what may be her most crucial role to date: working with VaccineWise, a joint CDC/AAMC (Association of American Medical Colleges) national campaign to increase COVID-19 vaccination rates in communities disproportionately impacted by the pandemic. Roldan is one of two Spanish-speaking experts tasked with outreach to the Hispanic/Latino community across the country. Her deep experience in news media, combined with her medical background and fluency in Spanish, makes her ideal for the assignment.

“The focus is to increase awareness, and more importantly, to be able to communicate succinctly and to educate the public to reduce vaccine hesitancy, specifically in the Hispanic population,” she says. To address vaccine reluctance among the affected populations, Roldan has appeared on Spanish-language television and is doing media tours on behalf of VaccineWise.

Roldan has drawn on her PEMBA experience in other projects as well, including developing a first-of-its-kind seminar on physician leadership for medical students at FIU and writing a chapter on physician leadership for the 2020 book, Succeeding in Academic Medicine.

“I’m now updating another chapter on women healthcare leaders, and the editor asked for two of my students that took my physician leadership seminar to write a chapter,” Roldan says. “I love mentoring, and now, seeing my mentees going on to that next level is a proud moment.”

The connections Roldan made through PEMBA also have served her well. She describes the class as small but tight knit. As the alumni have progressed in their careers, they have kept in touch.

“We communicate to see what others are doing,” she says. “When I have students that are going to residency programs or wanting to do a type of rotation, if one of my colleagues is in that particular clinical site or hospital, I will call them.”

Roldan is thankful for all the training she received during her time with the Haslam College of Business. PEMBA, she says, prepared her for crisis management, a skill called for in multiple aspects of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“That is what physician leaders do,” Roldan says. “Physician leaders are called to take the lead in a crisis for the betterment of the community.”


Scott McNutt, business writer/publicist,