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Lynne Barnes, new director of the MHA program at the College of AHS, smiles for a headshot.
Lynne Barnes, new director of the MHA program at the College of AHS

Lynne Barnes appointed to lead Master of Health Administration program

Lynne Barnes, past president of Carle Foundation Hospital, has been hired as director of the Master of Health Administration degree program in the College of Applied Health Sciences at the University of Illinois.

Barnes’ appointment officially begins Aug. 1, succeeding interim director Laura Rice.

Raised in Catlin, Ill., Barnes was hired by Carle Health in January 1977 straight out of college as the system’s first occupational therapist. She directed several departments and worked numerous administrative roles before finishing her Carle career as president of the Urbana hospital.

“Throughout her career, Lynne has served the community and distinguished herself as a leader in healthcare innovation,” said Kim Graber, head of the Department of Kinesiology and Community Health. “Her background in clinical operations and occupational therapy, along with her distinguished experience as president of Carle Foundation Hospital, will provide graduate students in health administration with unrivaled leadership.

“Lynne has boundless energy and will help take our program to the next level.”

Barnes will continue to teach as a part-time clinical professor, a role she’s held at University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign since 2007. A frequent community volunteer, Barnes is board chair of the Stephens Family YMCA and Experience Champaign-Urbana, and previously served as a member of the United Way of Champaign County and Urbana City Council.

Barnes oversaw the growth of Carle Foundation Hospital’s therapy programs and clinical operations, leading the flagship location in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic before retiring in Feb. 2022.

Barnes earned her bachelor’s degree in the emerging field of Occupational Therapy from the University of Illinois-Chicago in 1976, later obtaining her master’s degree in public administration from UIUC in 1988.

The MHA program was established in 2017 and accredited by the Council on Education for Public Health in 2019.

The opportunity to educate the next generation of healthcare leaders compelled Barnes to take the MHA directorship. She will work to develop the department’s new online MHA program and strengthen its position in the graduate landscape.

“The support has been terrific,” Barnes said. “I have no doubt we will be able to achieve these goals. I enjoy teamwork and I have already experienced that it is ‘all hands on deck’ to continue to improve and optimize our educational opportunities for our students.

“After decades of working in healthcare, it’s really exciting for me to have the opportunity to impact the careers of future healthcare leaders.”

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