Liz Hoffman: bike riding, kayaking, boating, and “playing in the dirt” lead retirement plans

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Portrait of Liz Hoffman.

When she was in high school, Liz Hoffman accompanied a friend to an interview for an opening at a doctor’s office.

This doctor – the late George Skyers, an internist – asked Hoffman to return after her friend’s interview ended. He ended up hiring her rather than her friend.

“Dr. Skyers told me, ‘I saw something in you. I saw your potential.’ He showed me how to set up IVs, check blood pressure, draw blood, handle the books, do medical coding, and everything in between. He paid for my education. What he couldn’t teach me, he sent me to school to learn. I worked for him for 12 years. He was a great mentor to me,” recalled Hoffman, who is retiring from HFC at the end of the Winter 2024 semester.

Traveling to 49 states and 20 countries

The eldest of two daughters, Hoffman was born in Tokyo, Japan. Her father was in the United States Army. Her family moved to California before her first birthday and to Michigan when she was 9. She has been to 49 states and 20 countries.

“The only state I haven’t been to is Alaska. I plan to see it when I retire,” said Hoffman, who lives in St. Clair County with Joe, her husband of more than 40 years. They have three children and three grandchildren.

Hoffman earned her certification and associate degree in medical assistant – clinical practice from Macomb Community College. She transferred to Central Michigan University, where she earned her bachelor’s degree in marketing and community development and her master’s degree in adult education.

Hoffman has several certifications. Through the American Association of Medical Assistants, Hoffman is a clinical medical assistant and holds CMA certification. She is a certified phlebotomist through the American Society of Phlebotomy Technicians, Inc.. She also carries Current Procedural Terminology certification through the American Medical Association.

For 15 years, Hoffman has been the president of the Macomb County Chapter of the Michigan Society of Medical Assistants. She is also a member of the Medical Affairs Professional Society.

After serving as a dean at Baker, Hoffman missed the classroom

After working for Skyers, Hoffman eventually switched to higher education, a field she’s worked in for 25 years. At Baker College in Clinton Township, she served as the program director for the Medical Assistant program. Hoffman was also the Associate Dean of Health Sciences. She worked at Baker for 12 years before coming to HFC in 2014, where she became the director of the Medical Assistant/Medical Insurance Specialist program.

Then-associate dean and the founding dean of the HFC School of Health and Human Services Dr. Susan Shunkwiler hired Hoffman.

“A friend called me about the opening at Baker. Another friend called me about the opening at HFC. At that point, I wanted to go back to the classroom because I missed it,” recalled Hoffman.

Taking the MA/MIS program from dormancy to CAAHEP certification in less than 2 months

Hoffman recalled her first day at HFC vividly. It was August 16, 2014, the day of a historic rainstorm that left hundreds without power and caused a flash flood in the tri-county area.

“I drove home in that monsoon,” recalled Hoffman with a shudder. “That was a fun commute. I was white-knuckled the entire time.”

When Hoffman took over the directorship of the MA/MIS program at the College, it was dormant. By Halloween of that year, she revitalized it. As a result of her efforts, the MA/MIS program received a glowing review from the Commission of Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs.

“I was proud of being able to turn that around so quickly. I’m proud of the work I did here at HFC,” said Hoffman. “I enjoyed being on committees to make changes at the College. I have enjoyed meeting someone new on nearly a daily basis.”

“That feeling of pride I get when I see a student’s face light up never gets old”

For Hoffman, the best part of being at HFC was working with the students.

“I love to teach. It’s so cool to be able to share what I know from a field I’ve been in for so long. That feeling of pride I get when I see a student’s face light up after connecting the dots never gets old. They have even shared what they learned in my class with their family. Students have told family members to get their cholesterol and blood pressure checked. It’s great to know that I made a difference in someone’s life.”

Hoffman has plans for retirement. She is a master gardener and an avid cyclist who bikes 15 miles per day.

“I want to play in the dirt. I want to ride my bike again. I want to play on my kayak. I want to drive my boat,” she said. “I’m also looking forward to getting caught up on my reading and traveling. Of course, I can’t wait to spend more time with my friends and family.”

Shunkwiler expressed her admiration for Hoffman.

“Liz has brought her enthusiasm for teaching and passion for the medical assisting profession to her classroom every day,” said Shunkwiler. “She shepherded the College through two successful accreditations of the MA/MIS program at HFC. Her students were so lucky to have Liz as an instructor.”