Effective work in all health leadership positions requires successful development of competencies and thoughtful use of technical, managerial and leadership skills. Employers often assume that current health administration graduates have acquired the appropriate competencies and skills to better prepare them for their employment responsibilities. The Master of Health Administration program’s accreditation body, the Commission on Accreditation Healthcare Management Education (CAHME), calls for demonstrated abilities among students in a variety of competency and skill areas. The competencies and skills approved by the MHA program have been identified as those that will enable our students to gain the essential competencies and skills that will increase their professional capabilities upon graduation and continue their professional growth using these competencies long after earning the MHA degree.
The MHA program’s competencies and skills are based upon the competencies and skills identified by the Association of Schools of Public Health (ASPH) and National Center for Healthcare Leadership (NCHL). The ASPH competencies and skills are important because the MHA program is housed in the School of Public Health and the MHA program recognizes the vital role that public health plays in the education and training of its health care leaders. Further, the research and education focus of the faculty in the Department of Health Policy and Management represents a rigorous, multidisciplinary inquiry into the cost, access and quality of care for both individuals and populations.
The core competencies for the MHA program are:
- Identify the main components and issues of the organization, financing and delivery of health services and public health systems in the United States.
- Describe the legal and ethical bases for public health and health services.
- Explain methods of ensuring community health safety and preparedness.
- Discuss the policy process for improving the health status of populations.
- Apply the principles of program planning, development, budgeting, management and evaluation in organizational and community initiatives.
- Apply principles of strategic planning and marketing to public health.
- Apply quality and performance improvement concepts to address organizational performance issues.
- Apply systems thinking for resolving organizational problems.
- Communicate health policy and management issues using appropriate channels and technologies.
- Demonstrate leadership skills for building partnerships.
The NCHL competencies and skills are equally important because the MHA program was one of the original 10 demonstration sites to vet these nationally-adopted competencies and skills. After serving as a demonstration site, the MHA program amended the NCHL competencies and skills into three broad areas:
- Technical skills: those skills required for the accomplishment of a specific task
- Management skills: those skills related to the control and organization of health services delivery
- Leadership skills: those skills necessary to motivate and empower organizational resources to achieve a shared vision
As students progress through the MHA program, their self-evaluation of each competency and skill will demonstrate their increasing proficiency with each. The student advising process will be employed to support and track student progress toward attainment of these competencies and skills.