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Rutgers brings back its 'Mini-MBA' program on healthcare management

Following the success of last year’s program, the Rutgers Business School Executive Education (RBSEE) will once again offer its mini-MBA in Strategic Healthcare Management for Practices.

Beginning May 10, this program is designed to provide health care providers and administrators with the knowledge needed to effectively practice management in the workplace. The program allows students to master 10 different modules over a five-week program, including topics like “Health Care Reform Cause and Effect,” said Jennie Fine, program manager for Rutgers Business School Executive Education.

Each module or subtopic of the program is taught by a different specialized instructor, either a Rutgers faculty member or an outside, expert industry consultant, Fine said.

“It’s really designed to try to provide a business context for the practice of medicine. A lot of doctors today I hear personally, and as I encounter people professionally, feel they don’t have enough time to practice medicine because they are so busy trying to figure out and trying to understand new compliance issues … and this class is really designed to educate them about everything beyond their clinical responsibilities so they can focus on patient care,” Fine said.

A mini-MBA is a certificate program specializing in a specific area of business relevance, where upon completion students receive a variety of credits from RBSEE and a certificate for their work. For any mini-MBA program, any student with a bachelor’s degree or equivalent work experience is able to apply, Fine said.

Students applying for this specific mini-MBA program vary from physicians who are running their own practices, managers and health administrators, Fine said.

“It’s becoming more difficult for large practices to not be gobbled up by health care systems, and this helps people understand what they need to do to stay independent," Fine said. "We had a couple of nurses the last time we ran it and we had a few managers, so it’s really anyone who is responsible for running and maintaining a healthcare practice, whether they are an actual health care provider or more on the backend."

The program ran for the first time late last spring, and due to the program’s success, it will be implemented once again with minimal changes to the content, Fine said.

The greatest benefit for students seems to be an updated education that focuses on changes in health care policy, especially during such a unique political climate, said Erica Amianda, a former student of the mini-MBA program and current physician assistant at Hackensack University Medical Center in New Jersey.

“I am involved in the quality programs within the surgery department at my hospital, and there was a great deal about the evolution of healthcare (during the program) in terms of the evolving focus to encourage good outcomes. The future dynamics of healthcare and the multifactorial influence on outcomes were quite useful to me,” Amianda said. “We examined techniques from a managerial aspect, practice efficiencies with Six Sigma techniques, and reimbursement changes, which were just a few of the topics that touched on how to develop quality improvement initiatives within healthcare. The things that I learned will be applicable to my everyday practice improving outcomes within our department.”

A typical class size for the program varies from 15 to 20 students, allowing for a lot of one-on-one time between students and the professor, Fine said.

“The professors were very interactive with the class. The conversational and team approach encouraged class participation. They also made themselves available to all the students offline for further questions or information,” Amianda said.

Fine said that implementing the program has highlighted the Rutgers Business School’s commitment to education in various areas that are of relevance to the Rutgers community.

“I think it's strengthening our position as leaders in all areas of business that are really important to New Jersey and healthcare is big business in New Jersey, Fine said. "With all the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) companies here that create kind of a trickle-down effect, and health care is an important regional industry so I think it helps to position us even more strongly as a big player and big resource for the community in that regard."

Marissa Scognamiglio is a School of Arts and Sciences first-year student. She is a contributing writer for The Daily Targum.

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