Huff Hall

E-News Spring 2019

MSHA Will Have First Grads in May

Alma Mater wearing cap and gown

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment of medical and health services administrators is projected to grow 20 percent from 2016 to 2026, much faster than the average for all occupations. Healthcare administrators can be found in clinics, hospitals, and long-term care facilities, as well as in health insurance and pharmaceutical companies, government agencies, rehabilitation units, and consulting firms.
 
To respond to the growing need for top-notch professionals who are skilled in data analytics and management, the Department of Kinesiology and Community Health created a master’s degree program focused on healthcare management. The Master of Science in Healthcare Administration (MSHA) immerses students in topics that are critical to the optimal functioning of health systems, including strategic planning, program evaluation, health policy, finance, and biostatistics. To round out their career preparation, students complete internships with high-level administrators at Carle Hospital.
 
Dr. Amy Woods, head of the Department of Kinesiology and Community Health, says the main goal of the new degree program is to graduate future leaders in healthcare who will improve health systems through effective management. “We achieve that goal with the help of an outstanding faculty that includes the COO of Carle Hospital and the CEO of insurance company Health Alliance,” she said. “Our students gain practical experience not only from their internships, but also through consulting projects with local institutions such as Kirby Medical Center in Monticello and networking luncheons that introduce them to current leaders in the field.”

Emily Wells knew she wanted to pursue a master’s degree in Health Administration during her undergraduate studies in Community Health, and was happy to be able to do so at Illinois. “It was a tremendous experience for me to apply what I was learning in class to projects in real healthcare organizations,” she said. “The MSHA has prepared me to be a successful healthcare administrator.”
 
Emily will join the Carle Hospital administrative team after graduating. Others in her cohort will go on to positions in healthcare insurance administration and healthcare consulting. Sarah Lyons will join EPSi, provider of budgeting and financial decision support to healthcare systems, as a consultant with the clinical decisions and insight team. She says it became clear during the interview process that her experiences in the MSHA program set her apart from other candidates.
 
“The leadership of Carle Hospital and Kirby Medical Center took a great interest in the program’s educational quality as well as our personal success,” she said. “Developing a personal and professional relationship with a hospital COO [Lynn Barnes, who is an adjunct faculty member in the program] is an experience unique to the Illinois MSHA.”
 
Soon-to-be MSHA graduate Jonville Chenoweth has been working for Health Alliance for six years and will continue there after completing her degree, which she sees as a stepping stone to advancement within the company. “Working for Health Alliance/Carle is a rewarding experience in itself and the opportunity for growth is limitless,” she said. “With the MSHA I am hoping to easily transition into a bigger role where I can further impact the health of our community, neighbors, and partners.”

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