Janet CobbFishkill, NY
After graduating from Ithaca College with a Bachelor of Science degree in therapeutic recreation/recreational management, Cobb worked in long-term care settings in both New York and Virginia, earning her certification as a therapeutic recreation specialist. A native of the Bronx, she served as the director of therapeutic recreation at that borough’s Schervier Nursing Care Center from 2006-12. She enrolled in Marist’s MPA program in 2015 and earned her degree, with a concentration in healthcare administration, in 2018. The ink was barely dry on her diploma when she accepted the position of risk management analyst at Sentara Northern Virginia Medical Center in Woodbridge, VA (a suburb of Washington, D.C.).
While it does not offer the hands-on care that was the foundation of her therapeutic work, Cobb is nonetheless very enthusiastic about her new role. “I love this job,” she says. “It’s a developmental position, and I’m being mentored in corporate compliance. It’s so interesting to learn about, and I’m eager to be challenged.” Are there no downsides? “The only thing I don’t like is that I don’t know as much as I want to know. I wish I was more seasoned in it.”
As part of the risk management team, Cobb describes how she and her colleagues “proactively work to prevent situations that might cause loss or legal liability to the hospital.” Naturally, patient and staff safety is a high priority: “We deal with things as small as a patient losing a pair of glasses — and who’s responsible for that — to issues that are more serious in nature.”
In her career so far, though, Cobb is proudest of her therapeutic work with senior citizens. “I worked in that setting for almost 20 years. And there was an intrinsic reward to seeing the smiles on their faces, to giving them something to look forward to, but at the same time offering them therapy through recreational activities.”
When she’s looking to relax, Cobb enjoys taking long walks with her dog Coal, a schnauzer-Yorkie mix, and driving through scenic areas and exploring new towns. Settling in for some TV time — “I love British shows and period pieces” — is a guilty pleasure.
She credits two of her MPA instructors with helping her boost her career. “[Former SoM] Professor Tia Gaynor set the tone for me. She showed me how to be more focused, and I will be forever grateful.
“Dr. [Anne] Zahradnik was my favorite professor,” Cobb says. “She knows healthcare and the different challenges it presents. I loved her teaching style: She was tough, but fair.”