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Course content, discussions and assignments embody recommendations from two professional groups: the Association of University Programs in Healthcare Administration (AUPHA) and the National Center for Healthcare Leadership (NCHL). The M.H.A. curriculum covers these professional recommendations through an industry standard, competency-based model developed by the NCHL.

DMU’s M.H.A. degree is designed for early to mid-career professionals who seek a graduate degree to progress in their profession. The program’s year-round calendar is based on three 12-week terms. Students earn 48 total credit hours in 20 courses – 45 academic course credit hours and three credit hour Field Based Learning project.

The M.H.A. program offers flexible enrollment, allowing students the freedom to complete their degree requirements in as little as two years and up to seven years (view sample degree plans).  Students complete their coursework during three on campus executive residencies that include online course work, and a series of online courses that incorporate contemporary technology and teaching strategies. The executive residencies are conducted on Des Moines University’s campus and scheduled over 5 days (Wednesday-Sunday).  Credit earned for the three on-campus executive residencies total 13 semester credit hours. The balance of 35 semester credits is earned online.

The M.H.A. faculty created the program’s on-campus executive residencies to satisfy accreditation requirements of the Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Management Education (CAHME), which already has granted the program candidate status. Candidate status is an indication that a program in healthcare management has voluntarily committed to participate in a  plan of self-improvement and is actively progressing toward the status of accreditation. Candidate status is not accredited status and does not guarantee eventual accredited status.They created the residencies also in response to feedback from students, who wanted to feel more connected to the program and to the University.

Read more about our inaugural M.H.A. executive residency workshop here.

Block I – 19 credit hours

  • Orientation (no credit)
  • Executive Residency I (2 courses/5 credits):
    • Professional Development Seminar I: Blending Theory with Practice (2 credits)
    • Health Care Human Relations Management (3 credits)
  • Overview of the US Health System (3 credits)
  • Health Care Financial Management I (3 credits)
  • Health Care Statistics & Research (3 credits)
  • Organizational Behavior & Leadership Theory  (3 credits)
  • Legal and Ethics I: Clinical Decision Making (2 credits)

Block II – 16 credit hours

  • Legal and Ethics II:  The Business of Health Care (2 credits)
  • Organization Development(3 credits)
  • Health Care Finance II (3 credits)
  • Health Information Management (3 credits)
  • Population Health & Managerial Epidemiology (2 credits)
  • Executive Residency II (2 courses/3 credits):
    • Professional Development Seminar I: Blending Theory with Practice (1 credit)
    • Strategy Formulation & Implementation (2 credits)

Block III – 13 credit hours

  • Health Care Economics & Policy (3 credits)
  • Health Care Operations (2 credits)
  • Strategic Marketing & Communications (3 credits)
  • Executive Residency III (2 courses/2 credits):
    • Professional Development Seminar III: Blending Theory with Practice (1 credit)
    • Quality Tools – Application Lab (1 credits)
  • Field Based Learning (3 credits)

Total semester hours for M.H.A. degree: 48

Course sequence

Core courses are grouped into blocks that suggest a sequence for course enrollment. Pre/co-requisites are provided in the course description and must be met prior to  enrolling in a particular course.  A prerequisite requires a student to have a course or series of courses completed before enrolling in a course.  A co-requisite allows the student to be enrolled in a course at the same time as taking the next level of course.  Required course must be taken (in the same term) with other courses.

It is required that you begin your M.H.A. degree by enrolling in MHA Executive Residency I first, then progress through courses in block order.  Your faculty advisor (assigned upon acceptance) can assist you in determining an order of coursework appropriate for you.

Block I - Course descriptions

MHA 620:  Orientation

The M.H.A. program orientation is an online experience. The orientation includes an overview of: M.H.A. curricula; computer expectations, library resources, professional behavior, support services, outcomes assessment, activities and effective oral and written communication skills. This experience provides you with an introduction to the program(s) and the M.H.A. student handbook. Students complete a test verifying their successful completion of the online orientation. This course is required and must be completed before taking any courses in the M.H.A. program.

MHA 801: Professional Development Seminars I: Blending Theory with Practice

Required Prerequisite: MHA 620; Required Corequisite: MHA 619

The MHA Executive Residencies are designed to help students build interpersonal skills, assemble key knowledge and bridge theory with practice in an intense learning community environment. Drawing on the benefits of a cohort based curriculum, while providing the flexibility of an on-line degree needed by working professionals, the residency experience lets learners demonstrate their learning with faculty, support the growth and understanding of peers, and integrate the NCHL competencies into their scholarly and practical work.

Students will be welcomed to the campus by key officials and receive a comprehensive orientation to the MHA program and graduate level education. Select topics that will be addressed include: Personal leadership, understanding differences in other, evidence based scholarship, graduate writing, and competency-based education. Students with review their academic portfolio with their academic advisor and discuss their leadership develop plans for the first phase of their academic program.

Students meet with their peers in learning communities, led by their academic advisor and peers who are further in the program to support, mentor and grow as scholars and leaders.

Pre residency work includes self-assessment, reading, self-reflection, and setting up their electronic portfolio accounts. Work during the residency includes participation in learning community activities, seminar based learning, and, one-on-one and group reviews and critiques.

Post residency work includes submission of assignments, participation in on-line discussion, and application, analysis and synthesis of residency content.  Students will update their learning portfolios with required documents and added portfolio assignments and, when complete, submit to their academic advisor for review.

This seminar begins during the Executive Residency and continues online through the end of the term.  A residency fee is charged to those that enroll.  This fee provides most meals, snacks, and beverages, as well as the cost of required workbooks, educational materials and supplies, and a 5 year subscription to the program’s electronic portfolio tool.  The student is reqponsible to purchase required textbooks.

MHA 619:  Health Care Human Relations Management

Required Prerequisite: MHA 620; Required Corequisite: MHA 801

This course provides an overview of the nature, organization, and function of human resources in health care organizations.  Emphasis is placed on applications to real-world problems, rather than viewing human resources as an isolated function.

This course begins with Professional Development Seminar I (MHA 801) and together make up Executive Residency I.  Though the course begins during the Executive Residency it will continue online through the end of the term.

MHA 621:  Overview of US Health Care System

Required Prerequisite: MHA 620

This course is a comprehensive analysis of the health care delivery system including the interface with the public health system and public health services. Components studied include: Members of the health care team and their roles; the solo practitioner; group practice; multi-specialty; HMOs; remote-site hospital clinics; tax-supported ambulatory health care facilities; home health care; mobile health care; mental health care; other inpatient and domiciliary care facilities; long-term care facilities; local, state and federal direct care and regulatory agencies; nonprofit organization promoting health and/or providing services; health planning and coordinating bodies at various levels; accrediting agencies for health care facilities and personnel; organizations representing health care personnel and facilities; and organizations representing health care consumers; and, health care services financing and reimbursement in public and private systems. Formal, informal, financial, and political relationships between and among these components are discussed. Additional topics include: Problems and potential solutions related to health services delivery and health care reform; consideration of differences between U.S. system and the systems in other regions of the world; and, trends in issues, policy, financing, regulation, and technology in U.S. health care.

MHA 625:  Health Care Financial Management I

Required Prerequisite: MHA 620

This course provides a basic understanding of health services financial management with emphasis on the not-for-profit entity. We will begin with elementary accounting concepts and then focus on discounted cash flow analysis, risk, financial statements, capital investments, debt and equity financing, capital budgeting, and health care reimbursement models. The course blends accounting and finance concepts to enhance the health care manager’s decision-making skills using accounting and finance theories, principles, concepts and techniques most important to managers in the health care industry.

MHA 650:  Health Care Statistics & Research

Required Prerequisite or Corequisite: MHA 801 & MHA 619

This is an introductory course that exposes the student to the use of statistical techniques for healthcare data analysis. Topics covered include research design, data acquisition, types of data, univariate and bivariate data summarization techniques, tabular and graphical data presentation, inferential techniques using different theoretical distributions and introduction to the use of multivariate statistical techniques. Students will learn to apply statistical techniques for decision-making and/or research data analysis.

MHA 626:  Organizational Behavior & Leadership Theory

Required Prerequisite or Corequisite: MHA 801 & MHA 619

This course will provide a broad introduction to the theory, structure, and function of organizations, and the behavior of working in people in them. The primary purpose of the course will be to equip students with an understanding of organizational theory and related practical techniques for managing effectively in complex health care environments.

MHA 627:  Legal & Ethics I: Clinical Decision Making

Required Prerequisite or Corequisite: MHA 801 & MHA 619

Health law and bioethics are broad, dynamic and interrelated fields.  This course will address major legal, ethical, and policy aspects of controversies in clinical health care delivery.  Students will gain a working knowledge about how law and ethics can be applied to real-world health care issues.

Block II - Course descriptions

MHA 628:  Legal & Ethics II:  The Business of Health Care

Required Prerequisite: MHA 627; Required Prerequisite or Corequisite: MHA 801 & MHA 619

This course provides an overview of legal and ethical issues facing the health care industry.  Students will gain a working knowledge about the influence that laws, policies and ethics have on the regulation, structure, and financing of the American health care system.  Select topics include:  Scope of practice, licensure and regulation of health care providers; common forms and structures of health care enterprises; the function of licensure, accreditation and inspection in quality assurance for health facilities.

MHA 629:  Organizational Development I (Former: Organizational Development)

Required Prerequisite or Corequisite: MHA 801 & MHA 619

This course will incorporate a survey of contemporary organizational theory focusing on concepts relevant to health service organizations and systems.  Emphasizing organizational environment, goals, strategy, structure and processes.  The course provides a comprehensive overview of the key factors affecting an organization, and exposes the student to theories that suggest effective organizational responses to such influences and changes.

MHA 630:  Health Care Financial Management II

Required Prerequisite: MHA 625; Required Prerequisite & Corequisite: MHA 801 & MHA 619

This course builds on the foundational learning from MHA 625 and goes into greater depth on discounted cash flow analysis, risk, financial performance evaluation, capital investments, debt  and equity financing, and capital budgeting. It also examines the role of private equity as a source of capital and studies the use of merger and acquisition as a growth strategy for health care enterprises.

MHA 631:  Health Information Management

Required Prerequisite or Corequisite: MHA 801 & MHA 619

This course prepares students practicing in the health care industry to: effectively identify, use and manage health information technologies.  Specific topics include:  an introduction to technologies and information systems supporting health care organizations; technology security; regulatory and compliance issues; system acquisition, implementation and support; health information exchange; alignment of technology initiatives; strategic planning; and assessing value in health information technology.

MHA 633:  Population Health & Managerial Epidemiology

Required Prerequisite or Corequisite: MHA 801 & MHA 619

This course is a demonstrated application of principles and tools of epidemiology to the health care management decision making process. It requires the student to apply skills learned in Block 1 and 2 courses with an application of statistics testing and financial models. The course will challenge the students to combine traditional public health models with contemporary theories of management. The students will demonstrate how health care leaders can incorporate the practice of epidemiology into complex management functions.  The course structure includes an initial, reading-intense introduction to epidemiological principles, followed by a 4 week, self-guided research, and concludes with a 6 week structured case analysis based on the student derived research.  This course is preparatory for block 3 courses and sets the stage for case study analysis and builds a potential model for the student’s use in the Field Based Learning experience.

MHA 802: Professional Development Seminars II: Blending Theory with Practice

Required Prerequisites: MHA 801 & 619; Required Corequisite: MHA 742

The MHA Executive Residencies are designed to help students build interpersonal skills, assemble key knowledge and bridge theory with practice in an intense learning community environment. Drawing on the benefits of a cohort based curriculum, while providing the flexibility of an on-line degree needed by working professionals, the residency experience lets learners demonstrate their learning with faculty, support the growth and understanding of peers, and integrate the NCHL competencies into their scholarly and practical work.

Students will be welcomed back to the campus by key officials and will be challenged to build-on and integrate their prior learning with new content to include: Personal and organizational wellness, change leadership, working with a governing board, advocacy, conflict management, work life balance and ethical decision making simulations. Students with review their academic portfolio with their academic advisor and discuss their leadership develop plans for the final block of courses.

Students meet with their own peers in learning communities; and, will assume the role as a mentor or guide to the new students enrolled in MHA 801.

Pre residency work includes self-assessment, reading, and self-reflection. Work during the residency includes participation in learning community activities, seminar based learning and one-on-one and group reviews and critiques.

Post residency work includes submission of assignments, participation in on-line discussion, and application, analysis and synthesis of residency content. Students will update their learning portfolios with required documents and added portfolio assignments and, when complete, submit to their academic advisor for review.

This seminar begins during the Executive Residency and continues online through the end of the term.  A residency fee is charged to those that enroll.  This fee provides most meals, snacks, and beverages, as well as the cost of required workbooks, educational materials and supplies.  The student is reqponsible to purchase required textbooks.

MHA 742:  Strategy Formulation & Implementation

Required Prerequisites: MHA 801 & 619; Required Corequisite: MHA 802

Having an effective strategy is widely seen as essential for organizational success. However, in practice, defining exactly what constitutes a “strategy” can prove surprisingly difficult. Indeed, the academic literature on strategy creation and implementation might be characterized as complex, confusing, and often directly contradictory.  This course attempts to clarify and cut through these contradictions. We will examine the nature of strategy, what it is (and isn’t) and how one actually comes to develop an effective business strategy. You will be exposed to 10 leading “schools” or ways of thinking about strategy, and we will review the evidence for and against each methodology.  You will also learn the distinction between strategic analysis and the act of strategy formulation.  In the later part of the course, we will turn our attention to the equally important task of implementation. We will see that quite often, creating strategy has little to do with notions of traditional “strategic planning or strategy models.”

This course begins with Professional Development Seminar II (MHA 802) and together make up Executive Residency II.  Though the course begins during the Executive Residency it will continue online through the end of the term.

Block III - Course descriptions

MHA 644:  Health Care Economics & Policy

Required Prerequisite or Corequisite: MHA 801 & MHA 619

An introduction to the theoretical foundations of health care economics and its application to the health care industry. Understand how economic trends can impact a wide range of health care issues such as markets, payment systems, and policy.

MHA 646:  Strategic Marketing & Communications

Required Prerequisite or Corequisite: MHA 801 & MHA 619

This course is designed to build innovative, customer-centered, thinking within the future leaders of the health care industry. This is accomplished with an introduction to the role of strategic decision-making through the core principles of marketing (the4’Ps).  Students will also experience basic data base management, conducting an internal and external environmental analysis, primary and secondary data gathering and interpretation and the creation of a marketing plan to meet an unsatisfied market need or build volume for a health care product or service.  Finally, the role of corporate communication will be interwoven throughout the course as it supports marketing success.

MHA 648:  Organizational Development II: Process Development (Former: Health Care Operations)

Required Prerequisite: MHA 629, MHA 801 & MHA 619

This course is about operations management and the strategic implementation of programs, techniques and tools for reducing cost and improving quality in health organizations.  It covers the basics of operations management and explains how operation and process improvement relates to healthcare trends.   In addition, this course introduces the theories and tools related to organizational and process improvement.

MHA 803: Professional Development Seminars III: Blending Theory with Practice

Required Prerequisite: MHA 802 & MHA 742, Required Corequisite: MHA 748

The MHA Executive Residencies are designed to help students build interpersonal skills, assemble key knowledge and bridge theory with practice in an intense learning community environment. Drawing on the benefits of a cohort based curriculum, while providing the flexibility of an on-line degree needed by working professionals, the residency experience lets learners demonstrate their learning with faculty, support the growth and understanding of peers, and integrate the NCHL competencies into their scholarly and practical work.

Students will be welcomed back to the campus by key officials and will be challenged to build-on and integrate their prior learning with new content to include: Project management, team leadership, the role of gender in health care leadership, storytelling, and the preparation and presentation of their Field Based Learning project proposal. Students with review their academic portfolio with their academic advisor and discuss their leadership develop plans for the final phase of their academic program

Students teach their peers how to guide others in learning communities, to, mentor and grow as scholars and leaders.

Pre residency work includes self-assessment, reading, and self-reflection. Students must come to the residency with a preceptor and project identified for their Field-Based Learning project in MHA 749. Work during the residency includes participation in learning community activities, seminar based learning, and one-on-one and group reviews and critiques.

Post-residency work includes submission of assignments, participation in on-line discussion, and application, analysis and synthesis of residency content. Students will update their learning portfolios with required documents and added portfolio assignments and, when complete, submit to their academic advisor for a final review and grade.

This seminar begins during the Executive Residency and continues online through the end of the term.  A residency fee is charged to those that enroll.  This fee provides most meals, snacks, and beverages, as well as the cost of required workbooks, educational materials and supplies.  The student is reqponsible to purchase required textbooks.

MHA 748: Organizational Development III: Tools Application (Former: Quality Tools – Application Lab)

Required Prerequisite: MHA 802 & MHA 742, Required Corequisite: MHA 803

This course will provide hands on learning opportunities for students to discover and practice quality improvement theories and tools through practical application. Lessons will incorporate a series of the MHA curriculum including personal experiences, discovering how to improve organizational systems and processes.   At the outcome of the class, the student will be able to apply basic quality and continuous improvement tools in a work or personal setting.

This course begins with Professional Development Seminar III (MHA 803) and together make up Executive Residency III. Though the course begins during the Executive Residency it will continue online through the end of the term.

MHA 749: Field Based Learning

Prerequisite/Corequisite:

Students beginning their degree prior to Fall 2012:  36 credit hours of core MHA courses.  It is recommended MHA 749 be the last course the student completes.

Students beginning their degree Fall 2012 or later:  Completion of all MHA courses and Executive Residencies.  MHA 803 is a suggested co-requisite to MHA 749.  Enrollment in MHA 749 must be in your final term.

This course serves a culminating experience in which students are expected to apply knowledge gained from their graduate experience.  The course is designed to provide a field based experience in which students demonstrate mastery of the programs curriculum and allow an opportunity for closure and connection between courses.  The purpose of this field-based experience is to facilitate the integration and synthesis of program content through critical thinking; it is also a turning point for the student from education to professional practice.

Students may choose from the following optional tracts within the Field Based Learning experience:

  • Long Term Care (requires additional 400 hour LTC practicum)
  • Research (requires sponsoring faculty approval)

Please review the MHA Field-Based Learning “Pre·cur·sor”—available within the Field Based Learning Sample Syllabus.  

MHA 649: Capstone

Prerequisites:

Students beginning their degree prior to Fall 2012:  36 credit hours of core MHA courses.  It is recommended MHA 649 be the last course the student completes.

This course serves a culminating experience in which students are expected to apply knowledge gained from their graduate experience.  The course is designed to provide a final experience in which students demonstrate mastery of content and allow an opportunity for closure and connection between courses.  The purpose of this capstone course is to facilitate the integration and synthesis of content through critical thinking; it is also a turning point for the student from education to professional practice.

Please review the MHA Capstone “Pre·cur·sor”—available within the Capstone Sample Syllabus.