When navigating daunting health diagnoses and care, Tina Roth is the type of person you want on your side. A Transitions of Care manager for two palliative care clinics in Orange County, California, Roth was one of the first COVID-era volunteers of the No One Dies Alone program, ensuring that patients got to hear the voices of their loved ones via a tablet one final time. And last year, while enrolled in the CSU Global Master’s of Healthcare Administration program, she completed her assignments while receiving chemotherapy treatments. For all this and more, we are thrilled to introduce CSU Global’s 2023 commencement speaker, Tina Roth. 

A Career in Serving Others

Before enrolling in the CSU Global Master’s of Healthcare Administration program, Roth had already earned an M.S. in Gerontology – the study of physical, mental, and social changes in people as they age. Gerontology is focused on the clinical side of the healthcare industry, yet Roth wanted to “be the link” in the system, so she set her sights on pursuing another master’s degree focused on the operational side, as well. 

Roth honed her career to focus primarily on seniors and those in the later phases of their life. She utilizes her 25 years of social work experience to help patients across two post-hospital discharge clinics, helping them navigate the healthcare system, securing resources, and guiding families through end-of-life goals and care. Roth is pivotal in providing advice and compassion during “conversations that many people don’t want to have, but need to.” 

Returning to the Classroom

When Roth began searching for a Master’s of Healthcare Administration program, she encountered many universities that “just didn’t click with me.” After speaking with a Student Success counselor at CSU Global, Roth knew that she had found the right fit. 

“I was apprehensive about returning to school, but the benefits such as the help desk and writing center were so robust,” said Roth. “Every university boasts that they’re easy to navigate and that their instructors are readily available, but CSU Global actually meant it.” 

Roth credits her instructors with helping her see a broader view of the healthcare system. “The faculty all have such incredible backgrounds, and their credentials are phenomenal,” she shared. “CSU Global helped me gain access to meetings with my system’s leadership team, have more confidence, and bring things to the table.”

Tina Roth Graduate

From Provider to Patient

On May 9, 2022, in the midst of completing her degree, Roth was diagnosed with ovarian cancer. Overnight, Roth went from being a provider to a patient. She immediately began chemotherapy treatments, even bringing her laptop to appointments to work on assignments. Roth even credits her coursework with helping her persevere through chemo. 

While incredibly difficult to be on the other side of the healthcare industry, Roth found a silver lining: she started identifying gaps in her care, inspiring her to drive change and support the underserved in her profession. Every day, Roth uses her learned skills and personal experiences to elevate her patient care.

A “Connection That Made All the Difference”

Senior Faculty Associate Dr. Eric Williams is known for his dedication to giving his students personalized attention. Even in an online environment,” he says, “there is that ‘a ha’ or lightbulb moment for students. I see it happen all the time, and it’s incredibly rewarding.” 

Dr. Williams had Roth as a student for two of her core healthcare courses. “He’s no nonsense,” Roth fondly recalled, but he “encouraged me during the darkest time of my life, and I thank him from the bottom of my heart.”

Roth was determined not to reveal her cancer diagnosis to her instructors because she didn’t want that to impact her education. However, at one point, Roth reached out to Dr. Williams to make sure it was acceptable to turn in a few assignments early, as she needed to undergo a surgical procedure. Williams encouraged Roth to share her hardship with him – a “human connection that made all the difference” for her. 

When all of the final grades were submitted, Williams again reached out to Roth, sharing, “I hope you’re attending the in-person commencement ceremony.” Roth wasn’t planning to travel to Colorado, but after hearing from Williams, she recognized how important it was for her 11-year-old daughter to see her walk across the stage and to “impress upon her the importance of education.” 

Roth shared, “Dr. Williams said to me, ‘I need to see you at commencement because I want to shake your hand.’ He didn’t need to say any of that – grades were submitted, his job was complete.” 


On May 9, 2023, Roth marked an important date: the one-year anniversary of her cancer diagnosis. Less than a month later, on June 3, 2023, Roth will share her story in front of thousands of CSU Global graduates, family members, and supporters attending the commencement ceremonies in-person and virtually. Her daughter and aunt will be in the audience while her husband cheers her on from home. And Dr. Williams will be there to shake her hand.