St. Luke’s compliance officer teaches at DeSales, Moravian
Growing up in the projects on the South Side of Chicago, Nicole Huff would help her younger siblings learn to read. Later, in high school, she was part of a peer ministry that would tutor elementary students.
Huff’s love of sharing knowledge would ultimately bring her to St. Luke’s University Health Network as Chief Compliance and Privacy Officer and, eventually, as an adjunct professor at DeSales University and Moravian College.
She said being a college professor dovetails with her role at St. Luke’s, where her duties include guiding staff on following health-care regulations and on making ethical decisions regarding patient care.
“I’m an educator, even on my job,” Huff said.
Huff credits her late mother, Deborah McCall, for saving whatever she could to send her and her older sister Denise to Catholic school. “She knew education was a way for us to rise above our circumstances,” Huff said.
From there, Huff received a bachelor’s in business administration-accounting from Loyola University of Chicago. After graduating, Huff got a job in in the private sector to bolster her accounting skills and then switched to her real passion: health care accounting and compliance.
She said her desire to work in health care grew out of the positive experience she had receiving asthma care in the emergency room as a child. She said wanted to be in a position to advocate for children with barriers to health care.
As she built her on-the-job skills, Huff received a master’s in health care administration from the University of Dallas. She didn’t think about teaching until she started studying for her doctorate in health administration (DHA) at Central Michigan University.
“Teaching has come naturally to me whether it is at home, on the job, in the community or in the classroom,” Huff said.
Huff received a DHA in 2013, one year after joining St. Luke’s and moving to the Lehigh Valley with her two sons, Xavier, now 19, and Julius, now 13. By 2014, she was in front of the classroom.
Huff teaches two graduate level classes per year to students, ranging from physicians to students. Her subjects include managed care, health law, health economics, bioethics and finance.
Huff said she brings a global perspective to her classes, encouraging students to have an open mind to industry ideas in the United States and abroad. She underscores the need for health administrators to be well-versed on diverse subjects and be confident in their ability to use their knowledge while on the job.
Huff said teaching is one of her ways of putting St. Luke’s commitment to community into practice, by helping to train leaders for the ever-growing health care sector.