SRU broadens health care management major
Oct. 22, 2015
SLIPPERY ROCK, Pa. - Slippery Rock University has restructured its health care administration and management major by adding 12 new classes, five specialty tracks and expanded internship opportunities. The program prepares graduates for traditional and emerging employment opportunities in the $3 trillion health care industry.
"Health care is the largest industry in the United States, second to government," said David Jordan, SRU associate professor in the School of Business, who spearheaded the program revision.
"Within the health care industry, you have all the providers of care, but you also have all these peripheral pieces - information systems, all the insurers, inclusive of underwriting the actuarial piece, claims and so much more," Jordan said. "There are a million different pieces. It's not just physicians and the many providers of care. It's everything."
The new program offers a general track and tracks in long-term care management, management information systems, marketing and finance. Areas of employment include hospitals, urgent care, pharmaceutical organizations, the insurance sectors, technology vendors, skilled nursing facilities, nursing homes, retirement communities, senior centers, rehabilitation organizations and more.
"People don't understand how big the industry is, we're talking tens of billions of dollars a year in our regional health care systems alone," Jordan said. "If you look at a hospital, it is a large business entity. It has thousands of vendors and suppliers and support businesses to help them operate successfully. Internally, you have accounting, finance, information systems, human resources, quality assurance and marketing to name a few."
SRU asked Jordan to restructure the major, in part, because of his background in corporate health care management and connections to the industry. Jordan worked as vice president of regional sales for Healthcare Solutions, Inc., and senior account executive/supervisor for CorVel Corp.
"We've revised and rebranded our program," he said. "I wanted it to be perceived as a new degree because in essence it was. I wanted it to represent how expansive and inclusive the opportunities are in the field."
The changes appear to be working; the program now has more 100 majors enrolled.
Another new element for the major with more than 100 undergraduates is the expansion the Business Advisory Council to include many stakeholders in the regional health care community. The council has 64 advisers from the local health care management industry to provide curriculum input and job-shadowing opportunities. Jordan said he routinely invites guest speakers to campus and connects students for workplace visits and mock interviews.
The Bachelor of Science in health care administration and management is 51 credits, including 25 credits at the 300 level or above. Classes include "Strategic Leadership in Health Care," "Data Base Systems," "Sales Management," "Challenges of Computer Technology," "Managerial Finance" and "Aging and the Older Person."
Students in the program said they are making valuable employment connections.
"My education here at Slippery Rock University has helped to lay a strong foundation for me to enter the industry in the spring," said Jon Stonebraker, a senior in the management information systems track.
Stonebraker is currently an information systems intern at Heritage Valley Health System working under the director of information technology, Daniel Albano.
"The majority of my work revolves around assisting in moving our current systems to a cloud environment as opposed to on premise IT," he said. "It is still rare to see people that have specific training in both computing and health care working in the industry. This is something that will change over time as the need for IT in health care is currently exploding."
From his vantage point, Stonebraker said he sees a multitude of job opportunities.
"What I currently do is one very small piece of a specific concentration in the health care industry," he said. "If someone chooses to go into Healthcare administration they are really opening a Pandora's box of opportunities with available career paths that few even know exist."
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