Lexington, Ky. (June 28, 2023) — On April 1, 2023, University of Kentucky College of Public Health (CPH) Graduates Marcus A. Hincks rose to the top rank in the United States Air Force in a special ceremony at Sheppard AFB, Texas, attended by friends, family and colleagues.
Beginning in July, Major Hincks is taking on a new role in the Enterprise Branch in the Office of the Deputy Assistant Secretary for the Air Force Budget (AFSB) as an Air Force budget program associate in Washington, DC. Mission is to develop, build, defend, and execute funds aligned to achieve the Department of the Air Force’s priorities and the National Defense Strategy.
“Through this year’s experience, I will gain excellent insights and knowledge of high-level financial management in the Air Force, which I will apply as I assume my executive role at the Defense Health Headquarters for the Defense Health Program,” he said. Hinks
Originally from Louisville, sports and competition were the primary drivers for Hincks and ultimately resulted in meaningful leadership qualities in this career.
Integrating education in business and health care
Hinx’s higher education journey began in the UK, where he graduated with a bachelor’s degree in finance Gatton College of Business and Economics In 2010
After graduation, Hincks decided to pursue a graduate degree because he wanted to be more competitive in the workforce. While researching different graduate programs and exploring different industry sectors, his classmate introduced Hincks to the growing interest in healthcare and business.
During that time, Hincks began exploring careers in health care management, which led to him. Master of Health Administration (MHA) program in the UK College of Public Health.
“Experience working with others as a student has prepared me for life in the workforce,” Hinck said. “Collaboration within your department and with other departments is essential to success. I enjoy the brainstorming process because of the intellectual stimulation that comes from listening to and debating different points of view.”
Hincks became a graduate research assistant during his final year in the MHA program, gaining valuable experience.
“I know the MHA faculty on a personal level and have collaborated with the professors on various projects,” Hincks said. “Having a meaningful relationship with the faculty is truly the greatest benefit and I find them to be great mentors. Today, mentoring continues to be a big part of my leadership style.
Hincks enjoyed the camaraderie of his classmates – playing basketball in the Johnson Center, spending countless hours studying in the William T. Young Library on campus or traveling to Chicago for the annual American Healthcare Executives (ACHE) Congress.
MHA’s capstone project experience prepares him to be job-ready and solve real-world problems.
“I partnered with a local clinic to solve their problems using Lean Six Sigma principles,” Hinck said. “The approach of ‘investigating the root cause, choosing a course of action and executing it’ is still my problem-solving mindset today.
Academically, Hincks reflects positively on the College of Public Health faculty.
“I owe everything to the professors in the MHA program,” Hincks said. “Each one of them left a lasting impression on me and helped me get to work. I always felt that the MHA faculty were invested in me as a student and genuinely cared about me as a person, which boosted my confidence.
Public health profession
After graduating in 2012 master’s degree In health management, Hincks began applying his education in business and public health as a management associate at SCL Health, now Intermountain Health, a leading charity and health system.
“I have had early success in tackling some projects related to corporate governance restructuring and business development; however, I still consider this whole experience to be the most challenging of my career,” Hincks said. It taught me the importance of accepting and correcting constructive feedback and caring enough about your team to give constructive feedback as a manager.
In the year In 2013, Hincks joined The Advisory Board Company (ABC), one of the largest healthcare research and consulting firms in the country, as a senior analyst.
“This role involves staying abreast of the company’s healthcare industry customers (i.e., companies that manufacture healthcare-related products or services) on healthcare industry trends and solving potential problems. Over two and a half years, I honed my critical thinking skills and some of the root causes that I learned in graduate school. I applied analytical techniques. One of the managers once explained that the greatest compliment a client can give you is more work because it means they trust you. I feel that with me today and especially as I move up into management roles.
While in eighth grade, reflecting on what happened on 9/11, he flirted with enlisting at the time. For years this desire to serve the country did not stop and finally the “calling” happened. In the year In 2015, Hinck made the important decision to join the military in the United States Air Force.
Hincks first learned about the Air Force Medical Service Corps (MSC) (i.e., the Air Force Healthcare Executive Officer Corps) from an MHA classmate who, after earning his MHA, was commissioned and served with distinction for the next 10 years.
“Walking into that recruiting office in 2015 was one of the scariest moments of my life,” Hincks said. “I’m very grateful to have made the transition because I believe this is who I was meant to be.”
Hincks has been MSC for over seven years. Originally stationed at Dover Air Force Base in Delaware, he worked primarily in two divisions: medical logistics and medical readiness. Medical logistics is a supply chain function of military health care facilities, while medical preparedness is a function of emergency management.
During this time, he was deployed to Afghanistan (where he was baptized) and Hincks served as the chief of staff for the Task Force Medical-Afghanistan command.
“In these MSC roles, I have had extensive experience in public speaking, conflict management, critical thinking, process improvement, human resources management, discipline and more,” Hinck said. “I’ve worked for some amazing people and partnered with some very insightful mentors along the way. I have every intention of paying it forward as I go down this military path.
One of Hincks biggest influences while serving the military was Brig. Gen. Norman West, commanding officer during the deployment to Bagram Airfield, Afghanistan. Originally, a standard six-month deployment period, this has changed rapidly due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
“The pandemic has changed everything,” Hinck said. “As the commander of Task Force Medical-Afghanistan, I had a front-row seat to watch how Brig. General West and his team discussed the unique challenges of fighting an invisible enemy in an active war zone.
Promotion and the Pentagon
A special ceremony was recently held to introduce former captain, Hincks. His uncle, Lt. Col. (ret.) David Hincks, was sworn in and led the first salute as a new lieutenant.
Leading up to this military milestone, Hincks was awarded the Bronze Star Medal by General Austin Scott Miller – the highest-ranking military officer in Afghanistan (at the time) and commander of NATO’s Resolute Support Mission.
“It was a surreal and humbling moment,” Hincks said. “Considering how rare it is to get an MSC, especially as a young officer, it will serve as a differentiator for the rest of my military career.”
Being a health champion
At the College of Public Health, its mission is to develop “champions of health,” conduct interdisciplinary and applied research, and work with partners to improve health in Kentucky and beyond.
“Being a ‘health champion’ has two aspects: one is focused on helping others, and the other is focused on leading by example,” Hinck said. “A person who ensures access to high-quality health care is certainly a health champion because he or she enables access to health care for others. A health champion is someone who actively leads a healthy lifestyle and encourages others to be healthy.”
Find out more about the UK College of Public Health over here.