May 8, 2009

Masters program focuses on health care management

Featured Image

Larry Goldberg, CEO of VUH, speaks at a Master of Management in Health Care class. (photo by Daniel Dubois)

Masters program focuses on health care management

Members of the leadership team at Vanderbilt Medical Center enthusiastically back the new Master of Management in Health Care program at Vanderbilt's Owen Graduate School of Management.

“Having reviewed the curriculum and talked with participants, I think anyone seeking to advance his or her health care management and leadership skills can benefit from this innovative program,” said Jeff Balser, M.D., Ph.D., dean of the School of Medicine and associate vice chancellor for Health Affairs.

The one-year, part-time, 30-credit-hour degree program is seeking applicants for its 2010 class.

“As someone with a hand in developing the program at Owen, I can vouch for its relevance and usefulness to physician-managers, nurse-managers and other leaders across our clinical enterprise,” said C. Wright Pinson, M.D., M.B.A., associate vice chancellor for Clinical Affairs and chief medical officer.

An information session for prospective applicants will be held at 6 p.m., Thursday, May 14, at Owen. The application deadline is May 30; classes begin Aug. 27.
VMC will provide tuition support for a limited number of Medical Center staff and faculty. All applicants from the Medical Center will automatically be placed in consideration for tuition support.

The program seeks to enroll people with at least five years of management experience in health care, whether as clinical managers, physician-administrators or managers in other health-related administrative areas. The current class is approximately one-third physicians, one-third clinical managers and one-third non-clinical administrators. The same mix is being sought for the 2010 class.

“Like other professionals, physicians generally aren't trained to be managers and they end up picking up leadership skills on the fly,” said Jack Starmer, M.D., assistant professor of Biomedical Informatics and a member of the 2009 class.

“As someone involved in clinical quality improvement at Vanderbilt, the Owen program is giving me new leadership and managerial skills, new ways to approach problems and tools for better decision-making. Each class is proving valuable and relevant. Looking back on my choice, I would do it all over again.”

“I can definitely recommend the program,” said Mary Duvanich, R.N., M.S.N., administrative director of the Outpatient Surgery Patient Care Center. “I was looking at my next steps professionally and decided I needed to broaden my skill set to include more background in finance and economics, among other things. In class, we're learning with people who have roles different from our own, and that's helping to engage everyone's critical thinking skills all the more,” Duvanich said.

After 28 years in strategic planning for banks and health care organizations, Sandy Cherry, director of planning, wanted to extend her administrative role.

“The program is helping me look beyond Vanderbilt's Strategic Development department to a broader picture of the institution, to examine how each role contributes to our institutional goals and decision-making,” Cherry said.

Classes run one night per week and one weekend per month. Modules include managerial economics, services marketing, managerial accounting, finance, operations and health care leadership.

Owen's Health Care M.B.A. is more geared toward people starting their careers, and, at 60 credit hours, is twice as long as the Master of Management in Health Care.

For more information visit Owen's Web site (, or call Sarah Fairbank, program coordinator, at 322-0745.