While highly skilled health care providers, public health professionals and health system administrators have always been vital to the quality of life of patients and communities, the COVID-19 pandemic has underscored the need for these individuals to be able to adapt nimbly to changes and challenges.
Physicians are being asked to join their health organization’s administrative team. Public health professionals may need to engage more frequently with public safety staff, local government and community organizations. Health care administrators may take on additional responsibilities or seek promotion within their organization. Employees without formal management and leadership training are being asked to lead in new and challenging ways.
In these and other cases, additional education and training can be invaluable. And when an individual wants that education and training quickly or without committing to a full degree program, DMU’s new graduate certificates in public health practice and in executive healthcare leadership can be a great solution.
“These certificate programs are designed to equip health professionals to master skills in which they haven’t had much experience, but who are being asked to perform in their current role,” says Associate Professor Rachel Reimer, Ph.D., chair of DMU’s department of public health and director of the master’s programs in health care administration (M.H.A.) and public health (M.P.H.). “We hope these offerings will provide important workforce development opportunities to our health care and public health employees.
“The certificates will provide essential knowledge of various aspects of health care and public health more quickly and affordably than a degree program,” she adds. “They are great options for individuals who want to immediately apply that knowledge and advance in their careers.”
Because courses required for the graduate certificates are offered fully online, they’re convenient for working professionals anywhere in the country. In addition to supporting professional advancement, the certificate programs offer highly useful tools for individuals who don’t directly work in health care delivery or public health but who frequently interact with those who do.
“For example, there may be architects, city planners or other non-health professionals who interface with health care and public health a lot, and who want to know more and be able to speak the language of those fields,” Dr. Reimer says. “We hope these certificates will help students become more qualified for advanced positions within their fields.”
A bonus of the graduate certificates: Individuals who complete them and then choose to pursue a master’s degree in public health or health care administration at DMU may be able to apply their certificate credits toward their degree. This is an helpful option for individuals who may be unsure of whether graduate school is the right option for them.
Each graduate certificate option entails completing five courses for a total of 15 credit hours. Students can take just one course at a time or take more for quicker completion. Course topics for the graduate certificate in public health practice include an overview of the U.S. health care system; basis statistics and research; environmental and occupational health; public health leadership, administration and finance; and epidemiology.
The graduate certificate in executive healthcare leadership includes courses on the U.S. health care and public health systems; health care human relations management; healthcare financial management; organizational behavior and leadership theory; and organizational development/systems improvement.
Individuals must apply for a DMU graduate certificate program at least 30 days prior to beginning their first course. Required application materials include a completed online application, $60 application fee, official transcripts or proof of completion of a bachelor’s degree, and a personal statement describing why the applicant wants to pursue non-degree course work at DMU.