Sarah Pavelka

College of Management and Human Potential
Master of Healthcare Administration (MHA)

Sarah Pavelka, PhD, MHA, OTR/L, CPHQ, FNAHQ has over 20 years of experience leading, consulting, and coaching in leadership, organizational performance, and continuous improvement in business, industry, education, and healthcare. Sarah, is the new Program Director for the MHA and the Tempo (Competency) Based MHA programs at Walden University. Dr. Pavelka has professional and academic experiences are as a 13-year faculty member for the Masters in Healthcare Administration program at Des Moines University and an Improvement Faculty for the Iowa Healthcare Collaborative. Sarah holds degrees in Biology and Psychology from Luther College; an Occupational Therapy degree from Concordia University-Wisconsin; MHA from Des Moines University, and a Ph.D. from Walden University. She is a Fellow for the National Association for Healthcare Quality (FNAHQ); a Certified Professional in Healthcare Quality (CPHQ); and has credentials in Occupational Therapy, Ergonomics, Lean, and Six Sigma Black Belt.


PhD, Walden University

Master of Healthcare Adminstration, Des Moines University

Occupational Therapy, Concordia University, Wisconsin

Public Service

National Association for Healthcare Quality, Board Member - Chicago

Iowa Hospital Association and National Association, Board Member - Des Moines

Baldrige Performance Excellence - Examiner (NIST), Volunteer -

Awards / Honors

Lean Champion of the Year, Iowa Lean Consortium, 2018

Faculty of the Year, Des Moines University, 2018

Faculty of the Year, Des Moines University, 2015

Faculty of the Year, Des Moines University, 2009

, Des Moines University, 2007


Pavelka, S. The Relationship Between Hospital Leadership Activities and Clinical Quality Outcomes in Iowa.


Pavelka, S. (2018). Lean Application Series. WI Healthcare Collaborative

Pavelka, S. (2018). Lean Certification Class. Iowa Hospital Association

Pavelka, S. (2018). Relationship between Healthcare Leadership and Quality Outcomes. NAHQ

Pavelka, S. (2018). Certified Professional in Healthcare Quality. National Association for Healthcare Quality

Pavelka, S. (2018). Leadership and Patient Centered Care. Iowa Hospital Association

Pavelka, S. (2018). Transformation Leadership and Lean. South Dakota Association of Healthcare Organizations

Pavelka, S. (2018). Systems, Quality and Improvements. Alleganey Medical System

Pavelka, S. (2018). Transformational Leadership. Iowa Health Information Management

Pavelka, S. (2018). Quality and Healthcare Operations. Iowa Physician Assistant Association

Pavelka, S. (2018). Lean and PDSA Improvements. South Dakota Community Health Centers