September 25, 2009

VUMC, Owen program graduates first class

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Recent graduates of the Master of Management in Health Care program include, from left, Mark Kelley, M.D., Daniel Bonn, Jeanie Moll, Shellian Elliott and Suzette Laws. (photo by Peyton Hoge)

VUMC, Owen program graduates first class

A year ago, a number of physicians, nurse-managers and administrators at Vanderbilt University Medical Center formed the first class of a new joint program of the Owen Graduate School of Management and VUMC, the Master of Management in Health Care (MMHC).

Members of the VUMC leadership team and Owen faculty serve as teachers for the one-year, part-time, 30-credit-hour degree program.
The inaugural class of 25 students gathered one last time for a Sept. 3 graduation ceremony.

Wright Pinson, M.D., M.B.A., gave the commencement speech. Pinson, deputy vice chancellor for Health Affairs and senior associate dean for Clinical Affairs at VUMC, helped conceive and develop the MMHC, together with Owen Associate Professor R. Lawrence Van Horn, who had previously offered a similar program at the University of Rochester.

“The program is off to an excellent start and I was very pleased for our first group of graduates,” Pinson said. “I'm keenly looking forward to the future contributions that our MMHC graduates will be making here at the Medical Center.”

According to Jon Lehman, M.B.A., associate dean for Health Care Management at Owen, among the school's six degree programs, in its first year the MMHC became the highest-rated program over the last five years in terms of student satisfaction.

The program is organized into three main components: core general business classes, health care-focused business classes and a yearlong team strategy project. Specific courses include managerial economics, services marketing, managerial accounting, finance, operations and health care leadership. Classes meet one night per week and one weekend per month, with group assignments making up about half the work.

One student in the first class, Ann McGauran, was well prepared by the MMHC program for her new job — a senior operations engineer with Vanderbilt Medical Group’s Performance Improvement Office. In her new role, McGauran focuses on work processes in outpatient areas.

“The MMHC program helped me develop many of the core skills one would need to succeed with this kind of work transition,” McGauran said.

MMHC graduate Pete Powell, M.D., is medical director for Vanderbilt Medical Group's Williamson County practices.

“I grew up in the doctor ranks, so my exposure to the administrative and business side wasn't heavy. I heartily endorse the MMHC for physicians and nurse managers who are looking for a role in the administrative side of health care. It does require some ambition — it's a commitment, but it has taught me leadership and administrative skills,” Powell said.

While the first class was composed entirely of Vanderbilt employees, this year's class is 60 percent VUMC employees and 40 percent from outside health care institutions.