The Master of Health Management Program is offered through a partnership with the DeGroote School of Business and the School of Rehabilitation Science, with oversight provided by the MHM Executive Committee. I have been a member of the Executive Committee for 6 years. The MHM Executive Committee, composed of two representatives from each of the DeGroote School of Business and the School of Rehabilitation Science, meets on a regular basis and has several functions, including curriculum, finance, admissions, academic review and awards. I am also the Course Coordinator for HM730, the Scholarly Paper course. This is a 2 term course offered in Year 3.
The MHM Program began in 2010 with an enrollment of 17 students. Since then, enrollment increased year over year, achieving the current steady state of 48 enrolled students in 2014 and 2015. Currently there are 127 students in the program, with 76 alumni. The Program has also grown in the annual number of applicants. Furthermore, the Program has increased the number of courses it offers; now there are 5 MHM required courses during Year 1 and 2 of the Program and 5 MHM course options available for students to select in their final year. Through our alumni, the program is growing in reputation and interest among co-workers and employers, with several of them being recognized for their accomplishments. Some students and alumni have been successful in publishing, presenting or receiving funding for initiatives initially developed through assignments for MHM courses. The Program has also grown with respect to the involvement of faculty at McMaster and other universities.
Designed for health care professionals, this part-time distance education program is delivered online, with two short, intensive, onsite residency periods. This means that students can continue to work while completing their degree. It doesn’t require a disruption in their professional career. In addition, the online format means that location isn’t a barrier to study. We have had students in the program from coast to coast to coast in Canada and this year we enrolled our first international student from the United Arab Emirates. Different work experiences in different locations result in richness and diversity among the students, enhancing their learning.
Because students continue to work during the program, they can apply their learning to their work context and vice versa. We often have students comment that they feel more able to engage in discussions and projects in the work setting because of the skills and knowledge they are gaining through the Program. In the weekly online discussion and in assignments, students can incorporate work experiences or explore learning gaps. Several students also earn the Certified Health Executive designation, while working on their degree, through an alliance between the MHM Program and the Canadian College of Health Leaders. This designation is highly respected by employers.
One student’s feedback:
“The courses consistently drew on my experience in clinical practice, and my work in health research. The Schools of Rehabilitation Science and Business at McMaster have designed an excellent learning opportunity in the MHM program, and the relationships with classmates in the program were an integral part of the experience. My ability to manage projects, finances, and relationships were all enhanced, and the learning about leadership practice was the single most valuable feature of the program for me. I would recommend Mac’s MHM program to health professionals interested in developing more sophisticated thinking about health management issues, and a more robust suite of skills with which to respond to the wide variety of questions we encounter in today’s environment and economy.”
The MHM Program is, I think, unique in the diversity of our students - in profession, worksite and role, location, age, and culture. The program is primarily designed for regulated health professionals, and we’ve had a wide range, including MD, OT, PT, SLP, midwife, medical laboratory or medical radiation technologists, and chiropractor. We have also had non-regulated professionals such as Paramedic, Epidemiologist, and Health Information Manager. Our students range in age from 24 to 62 years, and include those in public and private sectors, those in the military, people early in their career with limited management experience to those who are business owners. This variety fosters learning about other people’s perspectives, about different health systems and policy, and about leadership styles.
One year after convocation, a survey is sent to MHM graduates to provide their feedback on the program. Sixty percent of the Class of 2014 stated that they had a change in job title, position, or level while enrolled in the MHM Program, and from the time of graduation [i.e. one year], thirty-three percent had changed job title, position, or level. One graduate stated, “I wouldn’t be in the position I have today had it not been for the MHM program.” The opportunities available to MHM students and alumni are wide ranging and the program reinforces the value and relevance of the MHM Program to healthcare professionals and employers.
This is a unique, dynamic and forward looking program that meets the needs of health professionals in the challenging and changing face of health care. Our students and alumni are enthusiastic about the program, with word of mouth being our strongest recruitment tool.