Rocky Mountain University of Health Professions announced recently the hiring of a long-time member of the higher education community in Utah as its new vice president of operations and chief of staff.
Dr. Cameron Martin has spent time working most recently at Utah Valley University, but also for the state of Utah’s higher education system.
A father of three girls, Martin brings with him 25 years of experience in higher education in the public sphere, which he will now transition to the private graduate programs at RMU.
“We are thrilled Dr. Martin is joining our ranks,” said Richard P. Nielsen, the president of RMU, in a press release. “His leadership style and his experience in developing excellence among students and university culture will help propel RMUoHP into its grandest years yet. We are looking forward to working with him and implementing his counsel and ideas into our culture.”
Born in Eugene, Oregon, Martin’s father was a city manager and then a city attorney, an influence that fostered Martin’s desire to be involved in the community.
He later received three degrees from BYU where he met his wife, the daughter of a former vice president at BYU and president at Dixie State University.
With his father-in-law’s guidance, Martin jumped into higher education and was hooked.
“I really loved being about a public good and being a part of my community,” Martin said. “I fell in love with this idea of higher education and my first job out of grad school was at the UCCU Center, then the McKay Events Center, but it was on a college campus. That’s where I got that vibe, it’s just palpable being on a campus. I wanted to be around that energy.”
This love for working on campus and in a college environment grew during his time at UVU. Now, he finds himself transitioning into a new role at a different campus. But RMU is a school with which Martin is no stranger. In 2010, while working at UVU, Martin was in the room when the school celebrated receiving its accreditation from the Northwest Commission on College Universities.
He characterized this accreditation as the stamp of approval on the university, a stamp from the same commission which is in charge of accrediting the likes of BYU, UVU and the University of Utah.
“It is an institution that was established by some really visionary individuals,” Martin said. “They started this institution based upon a business model that would be self-sustaining, but with the core focus of truly impacting and advancing the quality, delivery and efficacy of health care.”
The culture at RMU is what drew Martin to the job opportunity. With the school being smaller than others in the area, he was amazed with the personability shown throughout the faculty and staff, all the way up to the president.
According to Martin, the president goes as far as learning the names of individual students and staff members, even greeting and saying hello to some in the halls.
This environment really stuck out to him.
“That’s one of the things that drew me to Rocky Mountain University, the culture is created by the people,” Martin said. “You have faculty, staff and administrators who care about the one. At Rocky Mountain University it is small enough to where you are known.”
In an area of Utah that is surrounded by larger universities, this is where Martin says that RMU finds its niche.
With growth on the rise and demand exceeding what RMU can handle, according to Martin, he brought up some similarities between the smaller graduate school and his former workplace.
Martin started working at UVU in 1995 and the first four-year class graduated from the university in 1996. He saw a similar growth pattern while at UVU, helping transition the school into a four-year institution and moving away from the name Utah Valley State College.
That move opened his eyes to the tiny details that come along with big changes and transitions, something he plans to bring with him to the smaller RMU.
“It was a growth of that mission, to expand to meet the needs of this region and it was exciting,” Martin said about the transition at UVU. “I see some similarities with Rocky Mountain and UVU. One of those similarities I would say is that both institutions are wet clay. There is critical mass and focus but it is malleable to meet the needs and it is adaptable to expand and add components that this community and region needs.”
A big difference for Martin between the two schools is the aspect of focus. RMU is focused solely on healthcare professionals and their training and education. The small size is where the difference comes in.
Martin said that he loves the outcome-oriented teaching and training at the university, pointing to its development of healthcare professionals who are focused more on treating patients than treating their symptoms.
This is another aspect that hits close to home for Martin, who has dealt with his fair share of health problems, both personally and in his family.
Six years ago, Martin suffered from a spontaneous subarachnoid hemorrhage that put him in the intensive care unit for a month. For his wife, she has a rare condition called spontaneous coronary arterial dissection that she has had her struggles with.
This added to his excitement in entering an institution with a focus on helping to better equip healthcare professionals going forward.
Martin’s involvement in the community does not end on campus, either. He is currently serving on the boards of directors for the Utah Valley Chamber of Commerce, America’s Freedom Festival at Provo, Explore Utah Valley and Envision Utah, according to a press release.
While it is a hectic time to be transitioning into a healthcare-focused university, given the global COVID-19 pandemic, Martin finds peace weeding in his garden. He chuckled when mentioning that he has never seen his garden without weeds, as he does what he calls garden therapy to help recharge his batteries while working from home.
The garden therapy will only help Martin as he hopes to bring RMU to new heights under his leadership.