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The Masters of Healthcare Administration program at the David Eccles School of Business became the first school in Utah, and one of only 10 in the western United States, to earn accreditation from the Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Management Education (better known as CAHME).
The announcement of the program’s CAHME accreditation reached MHA Program Director Debra Scammon in mid-November, and while accreditation represents the end of a lengthy process, she said it’s really the beginning of a whole new phase in the program’s life.
“This is our first CAHME accreditation, and it’s the beginning of a process to ensure that we are always offering students the best education possible,” Scammon said. “In the healthcare field, continuous quality improvement is the rule of the land. If you’re not getting better at what you do all the time, you’re lost. Adopting that idea for healthcare education seems like a natural progression in what we do.”
Many universities with MBA programs have healthcare-related tracks, but not many have specialized program in healthcare management. Even fewer earn the CAHME endorsement, and accreditation doesn’t come easy. Schools must do an intense internal study of its students, curriculum and job placement, and to remain accredited they must continually evolve as the healthcare field changes. A CAHME accreditation is recognition that a program has the flexibility and innovative spirit needed to serve both students and the field of healthcare administration.
“CAHME is an organization dedicated to the improvement of healthcare management education,” Scammon said. “They know what the industry needs. They know what the schools need to be teaching. And their standards reflect the real world of healthcare management issues.”
While the work to achieve and retain CAHME accreditation is intense, the pay-off for students and for the business school’s MHA program makes it well worth the effort.
“A program’s accreditation is probably one of the first things a prospective students looks at when trying to decide what MHA program is best for them,” Scammon said. “And when students are asking about accreditation, they are asking about CAHME. All the most prestigious schools that offer an MHA program have CAHME accreditation.”
Now the David Eccles School of Business at the University of Utah is among the roughly 70 universities that have earned CAHME accreditation for degree programs ranging from the Master of Public Health to Master of Business Administration to Master of Public Administration. The U’s Master of Healthcare Administration program is one of just 43 MHA programs in the entire country to earn the CAHME distinction.
That makes the future bright for the program, Scammon said. “It will increase the number of applicants we get. It will make the quality of the applicants we get that much more competitive. And it will enhance the ability of our graduates to find great jobs, because CAHME accreditation is just as important to employers as it is for the schools.”