URI offers MBA with health care management focus

KINGSTON, R.I. — October 29, 2014 — The sweeping changes in the health care industry nationwide have placed new demands on professionals working within the business and health care arenas.

Responding to requests from leaders in these areas, the University of Rhode Island’s College of Business Administration has designed new health care-focused courses within its master of business administration evening program. Registration is now open for classes that begin Jan. 21, 2015.

“Health care is a significant part of the economy in Rhode Island and surrounding areas. We recognized the need to prepare professionals for the unprecedented changes that are affecting the business of medicine,” said Kathryn Jervis, URI focus area coordinator and associate professor of accounting and information science. “We’ve developed these courses in response to the growing need to adapt to changes in business systems in the health care arena.”

The classes were organized around findings from a survey of educational needs among health care professionals. Most respondents preferred courses that applied traditional business skills to health care management practices. Students may elect one or more of the MBA health care management courses in lieu of more traditional MBA offerings. The MBA will now offer six graduate business evening courses with a health care focus, including organizational behavior, supply chain management and operations, financial management, accounting and information technology. Three courses in Human Development and Family studies in health care are also offered as electives.

The first class to be offered in January is “Organizational Behavior for Healthcare Professionals.” This course examines organizational behavior in health care settings, focusing on individual differences, group dynamics, motivation and leadership. A new class will be added for each of the following five semesters. This succession weaves the health-care-focused courses into the normal progression of classes needed to earn the MBA.

“We anticipate a continued demand for these business courses and more, as Rhode Island employs well over 20,000 health care professionals. Health care systems and providers must efficiently and effectively manage their practices to provide high quality care to patients,” said Jervis.

According to Lisa Lancellotta who coordinates URI’s MBA programs, some physicians have enrolled in the program. “For example, Dr. Jonathan Martin, who received his undergraduate degree from URI in 2004, says he enrolled in the part-time MBA program to be better prepared to manage his own, small hometown practice.”

In fact, at a conference last spring exploring the intersection of business and health studies careers, leaders and practitioners discussed the needs and new opportunities presented by continuing changes in health care. Students enrolled in several programs at URI are interested in these courses, including the College of Nursing, specifically for the doctor of nursing practice, the master of public administration and the gerontology program. URI’s undergraduate health studies majors now may continue their education with a health care management-focused MBA.

A committee of faculty and staff from the College of Business Administration, the College of Pharmacy and the College of Arts and Sciences’ Department of Sociology developed the courses. The committee selected a group of prominent health care professionals from around Rhode Island as an advisory group to offer advice about the proposed program. Click here for more information about the URI Evening MBA.

The URI College of Business Administration, with more than 1,500 undergraduate students and 250 graduate students, has served as the leader in business education, research, and outreach in the State of Rhode Island and beyond since it was founded in 1923. It is the first accredited business school in Rhode Island (1969) and has the first accredited accounting program at both the undergraduate and graduate levels in the Northeast (1993).