Penn State online MHA students meet in person for intensive training

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Health care is one of the fastest growing employment sectors, thanks to baby boomers and the 32 million who will become eligible for health care coverage under the Affordable Care Act. These groups are driving demand for medical and health services managers, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, which projects 22 percent job growth through 2020. Penn State’s master of health administration (MHA) is helping to fill these jobs. The first group of online MHA students will meet at Penn State’s University Park campus July 7–20 for management intensive training.

“The mission of the online MHA is to improve the health care system by training the people already managing within this industry,” said Chris Calkins, outreach assistant professor and executive director, World Campus MHA program. “Offering the program online makes it easier for working professionals to develop new skill sets and the confidence needed to negotiate change within their organizations.”

Penn State’s Department of Health Policy and Administration in the College of Health and Human Development and School of Public Affairs at Penn State Harrisburg are collaborating with the World Campus to deliver the MHA online.

The inaugural group of 24 online MHA students will meet in person for the first time to complete the first 90 hours of the 120 hours of face-to-face instruction required under Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Management Education accreditation. During their two weeks on the University Park campus, students will complete two, three-credit courses, which will include the unveiling of “Time and Patients,” a Web-based doctor’s office simulation game, medical facility visits and health care panel discussions. A second on-campus session the week before graduation is devoted to students’ capstone projects.

“The residency experiences also will enable students to develop a resource network that can help them with health care management issues in their organizations,” said MHA Program Manager Jennifer Deutsch.

Meredith Mills of Lititz, Pa., is “excited about being with and learning from my fellow students in a live classroom setting.” The regional marketing manager for Country Meadows long-term care communities, Mills and her husband Daniel, executive director of Country Meadows’ Hershey Campus, are both MHA students. “This program offers us the opportunity to continue to grow ourselves and become leaders in our family’s business and the overall health care community,” said Meredith Mills.

For information about Penn State’s online master of health administration, visit the website.