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U. pilots executive education program

The program was designed to help professionals be leaders in evolving health care fields

The University launched its first executive education program last month with the new Executive Master of Health Care Leadership, a course of study focused on innovations and changes in health care.

As Brown’s first executive education program, the EMHL comes amid administrators’ plans to consider implementing more such academic initiatives tailored to working professionals who are leaders in their fields.

The program is a three-way partnership between the Office of the Provost, the Office of Continuing Education and the School of Public Health, Associate Provost Rod Beresford said, adding that administrators have been working on the program since 2011.

“Historically, Brown has not been active in executive education … for adult learners who are learning in their professional sphere,” Beresford said. “There was a new idea a couple years back that (the University) would address that audience.”

The EMHL program will prepare students to be “visionary leaders” in the health care sector by teaching them about the interconnected nature of the industry, according to a 2012 University press release.

“Health care is a rapidly changing, rapidly growing sector which is on track to account for one-fifth of our entire GDP by 2021,” said EMHL Executive Director and Adjunct Professor of Health Services, Policy and Practice Judith Bentkover. “Here we have a chance to contribute to real transformations, not only of leaders but also … the new health care system.”

Before receiving their degrees, students must complete a 16-month program, which is taught both online and on campus. Since the program is geared toward professionals and executives who are currently employed, administrators designed the course of study so participants can continue to work while studying, according to the press release.

The first group of 28 EMHL students includes a variety of professional backgrounds, including health care, law, government, public policy and insurance, with an average of 18.5 years of experience in their respective fields.

“The program is gaining traction,” Bentkover said, adding that 96 people have already begun the process of applying for next year’s round of spots in the course of study.

Courses in the program include “Health Care Policy: Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow,” “Management and Marketing for Health Care Transformation” and “Navigating the Regulatory Maze.” Students will complete a capstone project along with their coursework.

The program emphasizes group discussions and projects to stress peer-to-peer learning, said faculty member Mark Schneider. “A significant part of the program, in addition to having a great faculty, is having an excellent perspective from the executives who are enrolled.”

Faculty members will use a common set of case studies in every course, Schneider said. This “case-oriented way of teaching” will ensure all types of students — including health care providers, patients and regulators — will find value in the program, Bentkover said.

The program will focus on imparting leadership skills such as team development, ethical decision-making and the appropriate use of technology, Bentkover said.

Administrators will continue to pursue and expand executive education initiatives with other departments and the Office of Continuing Education, Beresford said.

In the meantime, the EMHL program will continue to grow, Bentkover said, with the next cohort of students admitted into the program likely encompassing an even wider range of geographical and professional backgrounds.


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