GVSU Master of Health Administration becomes the second graduate program in Michigan to earn national health care management accreditation

Grand Valley's Master of Health Administration, offered through the College of Community and Public Service, has received accreditation from the Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Management Education (CAHME). 

Grand Valley's MHA is only the second graduate program in the state to achieve the coveted CAHME accreditation, joining the University of Michigan.

For a graduate program in health care management to become accredited, it must offer a rigorous curriculum and high-quality student experience, while demonstrating graduate success in the job market.

Programs with CAHME accreditation take part in a quality improvement process with participation from leading academics and practitioners. CAHME provides students access to materials such as Modern Healthcare and American Hospital Association's Personal Membership groups.

Raymond J. Higbea, director of GVSU's School of Public, Nonprofit, and Health Administration, said strong placement statistics is one reason for growing interest in Grand Valley's program.  

"More than 90 percent of graduates from CAHME-accredited programs are placed in a health care management job within three months of graduation," Higbea said.

More than 200 health care professionals already have MHA degrees from Grand Valley; about 70 students will be pursuing their MHA degree this fall. 

Photo of alumna Nicolette Keller
Nicolette Keller, '20, is a revenue cycle analyst in capacity management for Spectrum Health in Grand Rapids.
Image credit - Kendra Stanley-Mills

Nicolette Keller earned an MHA from Grand Valley in April and works as a revenue cycle analyst in capacity management for Spectrum Health in Grand Rapids.

"It's a brand new department and it is our goal to increase patient access on a provider or resource schedule," Keller explained. "Sometimes, a patient may need to wait two months to get a new patient appointment, so we try to work with providers and offices to find creative ways to increase their patient access." 

When COVID-19 hit hard in March, Keller and four of her colleagues took over "Spectrum Health Now," which offers direct, real-time access to a Spectrum Health Medical Group provider.

"We offered 24/7 telephonic and virtual services from our contact center to help schedule COVID screenings," she said. "We've managed more than 450 providers who administered screenings for people in more than 30 states and more than 83 percent of Michigan counties."

Keller, who earned a bachelor's degree in sports management from the University of Michigan, said she chose Grand Valley's MHA program because of its flexibility and GVSU's connection to health care executives and local hospitals in West Michigan.

"I was able to go at my own pace, secure an internship and shadow a health care executive," she said. "The program also gave me the opportunity to connect with local associations." 

Keller is a part of the Health Care Financial Management Association, the American College of Health Care Executives, and the Michigan Medical Group Management Association.

Photo of alumnus Spencer Gillis.
Spencer Gillis works in the Office of Research and Education at Spectrum Health.
Image credit - Kendra Stanley-Mills

Spencer Gillis will earn an MHA from Grand Valley in December. He works in the Office of Research and Education at Spectrum Health, working with a team to handle institutional compliance for all 31 residency and fellowship programs at Spectrum.

Gillis earned a bachelor's degree in biomedical sciences from Grand Valley in 2017 and realized he preferred administrative work and project management.

"I enjoy examining survey data, determining strengths and opportunities of a program and writing reports," said Gillis. "I like the idea of continuous improvement and having the opportunity to put together applications for new residency and fellowship programs."

Gillis, who serves as president of the Health Professional Graduate Student Alliance, said he chose Grand Valley's program because of its reputation for excellence and the collaboration it offers.

"My ultimate goal is system leadership, whether that is president of a hospital or chief executive of a health system. I love the high-level operations of health care and the master's degree has helped prepare me for that," he said. "Health care is an industry that changes a lot and instead of teaching you what to think, Grand Valley teaches you how to think. I have learned how to critically analyze complex problems, like health care." 

MHA classes at GVSU are offered in hybrid format, mixing online and in-person instruction to provide meaningful student-faculty interaction without jeopardizing the working students' professional and personal commitments, which have increased during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

For more information, visit https://www.gvsu.edu/grad/mha


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