Innovation is Health Care Management Education Key

The University of Texas at Dallas uses a cross-disciplinary approach to make its healthcare management degrees more valuable

health care


Health care is an industry that lives and breathes innovation. At every turn, medical professionals and administrators are working smarter, faster, better.

Directors of the bachelor’s and master’s health-care management degrees, offered at The University of Texas at Dallas Naveen Jindal School of Management, have been on the front lines of health care delivery and now are teaching the next generation of hospital executives how to look for these innovation opportunities. (Other health-care management degrees are available at the Jindal School for physicians wanting to improve their business skills or move into the business side of health care.)

“We are building on UT Dallas’ strengths in cross-over disciplines, such as information technology and supply chain, to make this degree even more valuable.” 

Britt Berrett

“We are building on UT Dallas’ strengths in cross-over disciplines, such as information technology and supply chain, to make this degree even more valuable,” said undergraduate director Britt Berrett. “Health care is a $3 trillion business in America, and due in part to an aging population, it’s only going to continue to grow.”

Berrett previously was president of Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Dallas and author of the bestselling book, Patients Come Second: Leading Change by Changing the Way You Lead, which urges health-care executives to create exceptional teams to foster a successful medical environment.

Forney Fleming III, who pioneered the Jindal School’s master’s program in health-care management, spent more than 30 years as a surgeon and director of physician training. Since the program’s beginning, health-care leaders have committed their help to its students because of Fleming’s efforts to make healthcare management an engaging, interesting, and responsive field.

The result is health-care management education at UT Dallas at both the undergraduate and graduate level that is unique in the North Texas market:

  • Graduate students may earn a certificate of proficiency in IT, which includes a laboratory class using an electronic medical records platform. This opportunity is unique to the Jindal School degree program.
  • Graduate students also may earn Six Sigma yellow belt and green belt certificates in quality improvement.
  • Master’s students have nine hours of electives to customize their degrees, depending on their needs and interests.
  • Undergraduate and graduate students tour local health care facilities and meet executives. Recently, students toured Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Dallas and talked to practitioners about lessons learned from the 2014 Ebola cases.
  • Undergraduates do group projects that deal with the realities of health care costs. One group project was to call hospitals throughout the United States and ask for the price of a hip replacement. “Many hospitals refused to answer,” Berrett said. Even more astounding, he said, were the results. “When they did get a quote, the cost ranged from $18,000 to $72,000. Some of the students even requested quotes from outside the United States.”
  • Undergraduates hear from health care leaders such as retired hospital CEO Harvey Fishero, who talked about leadership and the importance of personal integrity and values, and Jim Walton, who is CEO of Genesis Physician Group. He spoke about population health and revealed new technologies being used to manage the health and wellness of patients.

In addition, both programs include broad training in leadership, management, marketing, IT, and organizational behavior. These topics aim to prepare students for careers in the health care field, including hospitals, nursing homes, medical practices, insurance, human resources positions, and even with medical manufacturers. 

Fleming started and serves as the adviser to the university-wide Healthcare Management Association, open to all UT Dallas students with an interest in the health care field. As its website states, internships, networking, and staying abreast of industry news are important to getting a great job after graduation. The club aims to keep its members up to speed in all three areas. The MS degree program, now with about 400 graduates, also has an active alumni association, which offers internships, networking, and mentoring opportunities for Jindal School students.

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