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Danbury's WestConn Redesigns Master of Health Administration Degree

WestConn Professor of Management Gene Buccini
WestConn Professor of Management Gene Buccini Photo Credit: Contributed

DANBURY, Conn. — With the health field in a state of continuous change, Western Connecticut State University has reopened admissions to its Master of Health Administration, a program designed to create leaders who will find opportunity in upheaval.

Western has offered an MHA for 36 years, but the university suspended admissions for 18 months to examine courses and ensure the program offers an up-to-date outcome that applies to today’s multifaceted health care system.

“Health care is the fastest growing sector of the economy,” said Professor of Management Dr. Gene Buccini, who worked with Professor of Management Dr. Fred Tesch to rework the program. “The people managing in this environment need the skills to be successful.”

Together with Professor of Management Dr. Stan Bazan, they worked with health care executives, MHA alumni and current students to insure the curriculum provided those skills.

In addition to an option to earn credit for residencies, MHA students will take courses focused on the rapidly changing health care environment and health care infomatics, which will teach them how to understand the latest technological advances driving the health care market and incorporate the findings into their practice.

A course on negotiation has been offered for several years and will continue. “The skill to work with a range of people and institutions at one time, and to seek situations that benefit all sides, has become even more indispensable in all health care fields,” Buccini said. “With the current merger activity, this skill has become essential.”

The university is also continuing its strong collaboration with the Western Connecticut Health Network, the organization that oversees hospitals in Danbury, Norwalk and New Milford.

Dr. David Martin, dean of the Ancell School of Business, in which the MHA is administered, said the new program will give health care managers the tools to deal effectively with changes caused by Obamacare, the merger of hospitals into large systems, the evolution of the role of primary care physicians, managed care and other insurance company involvement, and the creation of new roles for nurses, physician assistants and other professionals.

“There is a major change in health care every 10 years,” Martin said. “Our MHA offers skills and knowledge to all the change leaders in the profession, from doctors to office managers.”

For more information, contact the Office of Graduate Studies at (203) 837-8243 or the Office of University Relations at (203) 837-8486.

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