“That doesn’t mean giving up:” Jason Hardwick on the quest for health and wealth after a rough start

ORLANDO, Fla. – As director of the division of hospital operations and patient experience at UF Health Jacksonville, where he has worked for 21 years in a variety of roles, Jason A. Hardwick strives to connect others with success and stability, as some they did for him along the way.

This week on “Black Men Sundays,” host Corie Murray listened to Hardwick, first asking how the board-certified health administration professional got where he did after essentially starting his journey in a tiny Pensacola.

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“I spent about 11 and a half months in federal prison for bank fraud in 1999. In 1996, at the age of 20, I was a sophomore at Florida A&M University. I engaged in a plan, if you will, to defraud the banking system by creating worthless checks that were cashed for a substantial amount of money, which resulted in me having to spend time in jail, “Hardwick said.

To call a spell in a federal prison camp just a setback in your schoolwork would probably be an understatement, but what happened to Hardwick next showed him the way to his path to prosperity.

“I’ll tell you one of the interesting things about it is that although I was indicted (April) 1996, the judge allowed me to complete the school, Judge Stafford. I definitely appreciate him, and even though I was young, I didn’t even understand the magnitude of what he was doing for me. It allowed me to stay out and complete school, so I didn’t start serving my sentence until January 2000, ”Hardwick said.

The Jacksonville native would go on to pursue his Bachelor of Science in Business Economics from FAMU and his Masters in Healthcare Administration from Webster University, results that sprang from the opportunity Hardwick gave him Stafford.

“When I entered the prison system, I realized that many people did not have the opportunity that was offered to me. Judge Stafford basically said to me, ‘Frankly, I want you to finish school, go to finish school and come back to see me,’ ”Hardwick said. “I think in terms of my career, my ability to get out of jail and become a paid business, it has had a significant impact for me to get my degree … and it has given me the opportunity to actually start my job here. at UF Health Jacksonville. “

After securing a place in the hospital system, Hardwick said he applied the following main factors, among other virtuous behaviors, to keep things this way:

  • Maintaining the personal drive, because without it Hardwick said he could have resorted to a less fulfilling work environment or returned to a life with a criminal element.

  • Staying loyal and being grateful for an employer willing to hire him on board, he began working with UF Health Jacksonville’s financial assistance department for controlled release as well as a felony.

Since joining UF Health, Hardwick’s numerous roles have included working as a Financial Fitness Specialist, Quality Control Analyst, Patient Financial Services Supervisor, Patient Financial Services Manager and Director of Patient Access. .

Additionally, Hardwick serves as the basileus of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc., Theta Phi Chapter; an Omegas 4 Change board member; a member of the UNCF Governing Council; president of Trout River Bluff HOA; a board member certified by the American College of Healthcare Executives; a member of the National Association of Health Services Executives; a member of the American Association of Healthcare Administrative Management; a member of the NAACP health committee; a certified patient experience practitioner; president of the Omega Psi Phi Fraternity Florida Statewide Organization for Emergency Preparedness and Disaster Recovery; a certified board member of America’s Essential Hospitals; a member of the SPAR board and member of the blue zone steering committee and co-chair.

To get an idea of ​​why Hardwick is on so many councils, councils and committees, he said the opportunities he was given were “monumental” to his development and now tries to help others in the same way. .

“I’m in a place where I can help people. I share my story as often as possible because so many people feel like, you know, things aren’t going their way, ”Hardwick said. “Nothing went the way I thought it would, but that doesn’t mean giving up.”

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