By Indiana State University
Dec 7, 2020
Arvin Singh, ‘11, knows a good opportunity when he sees one and he isn’t afraid to pursue it.
But he admits that wasn’t always the case, especially when the Terre Haute native was working on his Bachelor of Science in Biology at Indiana State University.
“ISU had a lot of great opportunities. I just had a tough time with distractions and staying focused,” said Singh, who has served as the Vice President of Strategy at University of Maryland Medical System since July. “It took me a little bit longer to take things seriously. It wasn’t until my senior year that I started to realize life was about to hit me hard – that motivated me to make up for those first three years of college.”
In his final year at State, Singh got involved in AmeriCorps, which pushed him into the public service realm after graduation. He moved to the Washington, D.C., area and lived there for two years working in all facets of government, including his first internship position at the U.S. House of Representatives.
“Through meeting different folks and their encouragement, I applied for a Health and Human Services Pathways position for people in school or graduates, and worked at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services for about a year on contracts, grants, and acquisitions,” he said.
His first big opportunity was at the House of Representative when Singh interviewed with one of the Congressmen’s staff members.
“He asked me asked why they should hire me, and I said, ‘You were given a chance and all I ask for is that same chance’. It helped me get the job at HHS and everything progressively built on that first chance,” Singh said.
At that time, Singh applied to two graduate programs – a focus on Medicine & Public Health at George Washington University and Business Administration at Penn State University – while simultaneously accepting an opportunity at the Pentagon’s Defense Health Headquarters Agency.
Later down the road when an opportunity came up at the White House in the final semester of his graduate programs, Singh couldn’t say no.
“I had applied there before and had been denied, but never gave up,” he said. “It was a great and rewarding experience at the White House, getting to work at the Executive Office of the President, being surrounded by the most powerful people in the world.”
After his government tour, he wanted to garner experience at a hospital and when a Fellowship opened up at John Hopkins Health System, he applied and was accepted. He also decided to pursue a third graduate program at Brown University.
“John Hopkins is where I started to receive my operational experience in hospital management by working closely with the President & CEO, EVPs, VPs, Doctors, and Administrators,” he said. “It was the most I’d learned, at the time, when it came to administrative and clinical application at the hospital.”
About three-fourths of the way through the master’s program at Brown, Singh finished at John Hopkins and his wife, who he met two years after graduating from Indiana State, was about halfway through her residency in Neurology.
“We really didn’t want to be apart for two years, so I was looking for opportunities in the Tennessee area [where his wife was] but couldn’t find one. I extended my reach to St. Louis and New Orleans, which would enable us to see each other on weekends, and an opportunity came up in New Orleans as the Chief Operating Officer in a behavioral health system,” he said.
“It was an amazing two-year experience that allowed me to impact many people and open unique programs, including one of the first sobering centers in the country and one of the first drive-through and bike-through COVID testing sites in the state, and opened a new facility in Lake Charles, LA. When my two years there was nearing, my wife and I thought about living in New Orleans, but my heart and hers was in the D.C.-area. She applied to a vascular neurology fellowship with the NIH in Bethesda, MD and was invited to join.”
That meant Singh needed to find a permanent job in that area.
“I found an opportunity for Vice President of Strategy at the University of Maryland Health System. In early March this year, I was able come out and meet many folks there, did a few rounds of interviews, and was extended a wonderful opportunity that I am currently engaged in,” he said. “My wife will be joining the University of Maryland Health System in a few months as well. It’s been a crazy seven or eight years, but now we are ready to settle down, establish roots, and impact our community on a large scale.”
While in D.C., Singh joined Freemasonry and elevated to a 32nd degree Scottish Rite Mason, while doing a lot of work in the community. He also recently obtained a fellowship in the American College of Health Care Executives (FACHE) and has been admitted into a doctorate program. In his free time, Singh also gives back to his community.
“I find value in giving back through mentorship and teaching as my career progresses, and I love to see people succeed,” he said.
As VP of Strategy and Communications, Singh manages the University of Maryland Health Systems’ Eastern Shore media relations and external and internal communications.
“The bulk of my role, though, is strategy, developing the annual operating plan and maintaining and managing the strategic plan and priorities, disseminating it and making sure we’re on top of all of our promises that we make in our strategic plan and looking for opportunities to expand and grow,” he said.
After becoming a Chief Operating Officer and a Vice President at fairly young ages, Singh knows there are many opportunities out there for people who are willing to work hard.
“I want to encourage everyone to continue to work hard and never give-up. There is always an opportunity to turn around and change your life and help those around you.”