OREGON STATE UNIVERSITY

New certificate program begun in health care administration

10/30/2003

BEND - Oregon State University and St. Charles Medical Center are teaming up to offer a new certificate program in health care administration, in an effort to improve access to continuing education for the working professionals charged with managing the region's health care services.

The program, which will combine on-site coursework in Bend with customized on-line classes, is aimed at working professionals in the health care field. It's tailored to accommodate their job and schedule demands, and the on-site classes are held on just two weekends per term.

A pair of informational sessions on the new program will be offered on Nov. 6 at St. Charles Medical Center - Bend, Center for Health and Learning, Conference Room A. The first session runs from 3-4 p.m., and it will be repeated from 5-6 p.m.

Registration for the first course in the program will begin in December. Classes will start in January, 2004.

This innovative program is a response to the need of many physicians, nurses, administrators and other health care professionals for more advanced and focused education in the complexities of health care administration and management, educators say.

"Health care is one of the fastest growing services in Central Oregon and elsewhere, and an increasingly important part of our economy," said Leonard Friedman, an associate professor in the OSU College of Health and Human Sciences. "It's a field of great complexity, extensive regulation and continuous change, and it's become clear that many people working in the field have a need for more training in the business, insurance and management aspects of it."

The certificate will require 18 credits of study in six courses, officials say, and can be taken for either undergraduate or graduate credit. A formal graduate certificate in health care management will be available later, if approved by the Oregon State System of Higher Education. The coursework is designed so it could be used at OSU for the bachelor's degree in health care administration, the master of public health, or similar degrees elsewhere.

"This is the first certificate program we've developed that we hope to have approved at the graduate level," said Bill McCaughan, dean of OSU Extended Campus, the university's award winning program of distance education. "Clearly this is an area we plan to do more with, particularly to serve working professionals who need advanced education in specific areas while they continue their careers."

Officials at St. Charles Medical Center feel the demand is sufficiently strong for such a program that they are providing space for some of the on-site classes and plan to subsidize participation for some of their employees.

More details about the program can be obtained on the web at ecampus.oregonstate.edu.