Published: March 13, 2020
Stephan Davis, DNP, MHSA, FACHE, knows how it feels to want to be a part of making change happen.
The incoming director of the Master of Health Administration (MHA) degree program at The University of North Texas Health Science Center at Fort Worth (HSC) was practicing as a registered nurse and just 21 years old when he entered a graduate program in health administration, after being inspired by the works of great American leaders and a professor who brought to life the vision that progress in the world takes both heart and leadership.
“The MHA degree, like many other avenues for advanced learning, is for people who want to take their experience and career to the next level,” Dr. Davis said. “They might be interested in moving up within their organization, taking on healthcare leadership roles of a local, national or even international scope, influencing health policy or serving others through public health administration. Whether the goal is to move up to the C-suite or advance your career in other significant ways, the MHA can help get you there.”
HSC’s residential MHA program has been recognized for its excellence in healthcare leadership education for several years, as one of the few programs in Texas, and the only program exclusively based in the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex, accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Management Education (CAHME). The program is also active at local and national levels with the American College of Healthcare Executives, an international professional society of more than 48,000 top decision makers who lead hospitals, healthcare systems and other types of health organizations.
Now, with enrollment underway for the fall 2020 semester, HSC is introducing an online MHA, targeted to professionals in the healthcare sector who have a desire to build on their passions and make change in healthcare.
“Our program has demonstrated over the years that we can deliver high quality graduate education for the person who wants to do more and contribute to the healthcare field at an advanced level,” said Arthur Mora, PhD, Chair, Health Behavior and Health Systems at the HSC School of Public Health. “It seems natural that we would now want to leverage our successful MHA program toward an online learning option as well.”
U.S. News & World Report has called healthcare one of the fastest-growing industries in the country, due in part to advances in medical technology, changes in federal regulations affecting patients, hospitals and insurers, and increased healthcare demands of the country’s aging baby boomer population.
Healthcare occupations have been predicted to grow by 19% between 2014 and 2024, adding roughly 2.3 million new jobs across the U.S., with a strong outlook in management.
“While many people have healthcare experience, the industry trends now are calling for more leaders,” Dr. Mora said. “From the clinical nurse who wants to move up in management to physicians leading hospitals, more professionals are finding that a graduate degree like the MHA can build their competencies in new ways and make them more competitive in the workforce.”
HSC’s new online program focuses on building strengths in leadership, finance, project management, process improvement, data analytics and more. Applicants with at least two years of management or clinical experience in a healthcare setting, including hospitals, health plans, health systems and post-acute care, are likely candidates for the program. Classes can be accomplished completely online within three years, and the program works well to accommodate the often-challenging schedules of health professionals.
“Going back to school shouldn’t mean needing to leave your job to get it done,” Dr. Mora said. “That’s one of the real benefits of this new online program.”
Dr. Davis, who joins HSC in May, has found that to be very true in his own career. With a long background in healthcare, which encompasses direct care delivery, leadership for provider organizations, the insurance industry, education, consulting and serving on executive boards and task forces, he is now pursuing a second doctoral degree, primarily online at Johns Hopkins University. Like Hopkins, even with programs that are delivered online, HSC has local faculty who are available to meet with and provide advisement to students whether near or far.
“Graduate studies give you an edge and allow you to take your passions to the next level, whether the path brings you on campus or online,” Dr. Davis said. “Beginning this spring, I am looking forward to working with HSC’s current and future MHA students, along with alumni, as they pursue and continue to advance their passions as well.”