Master of health administration degree receives full accreditation from CAHME

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The USF College of Public Health Department of Health Policy and Management (HPM) received the full seven-year accreditation from the Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Management Education (CAHME) for the master of health administration (MHA) degree program.

“We are pleased to receive the maximum seven-year accreditation as it is evidence of our commitment to the high standards established by CAHME for graduate health management education, including our pursuit of continuous quality improvement,” said Dr. Barbara Orban, associate professor and MHA program director.

CAHME accredits graduate programs that meet designated criteria for health care management education.


MHA graduate students celebrate the full seven-year accreditation by CAHME. (Photo by Kathryn Houck)

According to Orban, HPM conducts a comprehensive annual review of the MHA program, evaluating performance relative to defined metrics and integrates student and stakeholder input. They have also created an MHA advisory board, comprised of health care executives.

“They assist us in identifying and addressing opportunities for improvement from the practitioner perspective,” Orban said. “CAHME identified our advisory board as a program strength during their site visit and we greatly value the board’s contributions to our program.”

Seven years is the maximum accreditation period given to programs by CAHME.

“Achieving full seven-year accreditation is a tremendous milestone for HPM,” said Dr. John Petrila, chair of the Department of Health Policy and Management. “Faculty and staff were fully committed to achieving this and Dr. Orban’s leadership was the critical ingredient. It’s wonderful to be accredited for the full term, but, more importantly, CAHME standards have helped us significantly improve the experience for all students in our department.”

The program has many features that attract students, according to Orban.

“We are likely the last CAHME accredited program that is still accredited under CEPH. Many applicants choose our program due to our continued focus on population health,” she said. “Also, we offer a dual MHA and MPH in health policies and programs, which is unique and further attracts students interested in health administration with a focus on population health.”

According to CAHME, students who graduate from an accredited program have higher job placement rates than those who do not.

“The best measure of a program is the professional positions attained by its graduates. We typically have 100 percent placement with progressive experience leading to executive positions over time, known as the C-suite,” Orban said.

Kathryn Houck, a student currently enrolled in the MHA program, said that after spending three years working full-time she realized pursuing a graduate degree would give her an competitive edge.

“In a time of complete health care overhaul in the United States, a career in health care administration is both fascinating and in high demand,” she said. “I needed a program that enhanced my management skills, that guided my career path in a concrete direction, and that possessed network connections throughout the health care industry in the Tampa Bay area.”

She said she found all of that, and more, in the COPH’s MHA program.

“The MHA program at USF produces an emotionally intelligent professional that is prepared to enter a challenging career field,” she said. “Throughout my time with the USF MHA program, I interned under the chief of staff at a local hospital, developed a complete external consulting project, gained employment in project coordination for a local private practice, networked with many powerful executives in the area and developed finance and business skills I did not learn throughout my undergraduate education.”

To learn more about the MHA program or how to apply, visit the Department of Health Policy and Management.


“CAHME accreditation creates distinct professional opportunities for our graduates,” Orban said. “The Department of Health Policy and Management faculty and staff express appreciation to our MHA students and MHA Advisory Board for helping to achieve this outcome, as well as for the administrative support from Dean Donna Petersen and others in the College.”


Story by Anna Mayor, USF College of Public Health.