Rebecca Pasternik-Ikard is one of the most prominent leaders today in Oklahoma’s health care community. As Chief Executive Officer of the Oklahoma Health Care Authority, Becky is charged with leading the state’s Medicaid program. With more than 20 years of experience at OHCA, she is recognized nationally for her expertise in the field. She is also a proud graduate of the Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) program at the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center Fran and Earl Ziegler College of Nursing.
After earning her undergraduate degree in Nursing, Becky took on a Nursing career starting with Integris – and achieved her MSN degree while working full time. Becky shares that she believes in the power of advanced education in Nursing: “it maximizes your ability to have an impact.” She encourages those in the nursing and health care sector to consider pursuing a baccalaureate degree and then taking their education even further.
Expanding her role as a patient advocate, Becky earned a law degree – which bolstered her ability to advocate for health. She says her background in nursing prepared her well for her leadership roles, noting that nurses must have critical thinking skills and rapid analytical ability. She says that as a nurse, she learned to listen and to consider other points of view with thoughtful consideration. Today, Becky is the first woman to serve as CEO at the OHCA. She has previously served in numerous leadership roles at the agency, including State Medicaid Director. She worked extensively with the managed care program and operations, including units staffed by Registered Nurses, behavioral health experts, and others. She brings this expertise to the table as a leader in the statewide discussion of health policy.
For Becky, nursing has provided a foundation for a career based on leadership and service: “Nothing supplants nursing as a caring profession – and nurses know the value of hard work.”