Faces of Mercy: Dr. Danielle McPherson Breaks Barriers

January 20, 2021

Becoming the first African American at Washington University to earn a doctorate degree in business administration and first to earn a doctorate in finance, Dr. Danielle McPherson's story displays how hard work and determination lead to the path of greatness.

At Mercy, Dr. McPherson serves as director of Managed Care Contracting. Her research explores the extent to which social determinants of health directly impact health outcomes and whether improvements in those social determinants would yield improvements in hospital profitability.

"My doctorate is in finance with a strong focus on health care econometrics, strategies around profitability, financial and economic policies and social determinants of health," she said. "In my role at Mercy, I am able to have exposure to all areas of focus either directly or indirectly. I am also one of Mercy's diversity officers for our Disparities Council where I am able to really focus on ways to address social determinants of health and other health disparities for our patient population. It's always a plus when your passion and your work align."

Working in health care, McPherson is quick to note that her new credentials may cause some confusion.

"I am fully aware of the title 'Dr.' and know that most people associate it with someone who can save their life," she said. "Well, I am not that kind of doctor. I can help you with financial issues, tell you how to calculate abnormal returns on stocks, calculate profitability and even provide advice on health economics and financial polices, but if you are sick, I can only offer you prayer!"

While there is much work to do to ensure there are fewer “firsts,” Mercy hopes Dr. McPherson's achievement encourages others to be bold and courageous.

Click here for more on her story, including a one-on-one interview with Washington University's Olin Blog.

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