June 19, 2024

By Dr. Steven G. Ullmann

There certainly is a boom in demand for Health Management and Policy Education at the University of Miami, as well as other institutions. The demand for business school-based health sector education is especially noteworthy.

The University of Miami has a history of business school-based health management going back 45 years with our Health Executive MBA (HEMBA) program. It is interesting how this discipline has evolved as we were one of the very first business school-based programs in the country. To this day, there are only a small number of programs that are business school based nationally. This program holds the distinction of being the only program in the country that is quadrupically accredited. It has the business school accreditation, the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB), the health management accreditation, the Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Management Education (CAHME), as well as two global accreditations, the EFMA Quality Improvement System (EQUIS), and the Association of MBAs (AMBA). The program is a member of a very prestigious group of business school-based MBA programs in health care, the Business Alliance for Health Management, a consortium of approximately 20 programs globally including such schools as Harvard, Yale, University of Pennsylvania-Wharton, John Hopkins, etc. Given the reputation of our program, we draw students with an average of nearly 15 years of professional experience, whether physicians, nurses, other clinicians, individuals in tech, finance, law, architecture, etc. Our students represent the wide spectrum of the health care industry, and given the three-day weekend once a month format, we have students come from as far away as Brazil, Taiwan, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, etc. The program has over 1,000 alums.

In the last few years, we have seen a growing demand for business school-based health management education at other student levels as well. We have responded. A number of years ago, we established the Master’s in Health Administration Program (MHA), a program founded by Dr. Karoline Mortensen, and now directed by Dr. Danielle Ellerbe. This program shares the accreditation designations of the Health Care Executive MBA program. This program draws students generally at an earlier point in their careers or intended careers.

One of our programs which has been growing significantly in recent years is our MD/MBA program, a program which was introduced twelve years ago. This program initially required a one year step out from the MD curriculum. The student would do three years of medical school, would do a one year step out to do their healthcare focused MBA, and then return for the final year of medical school. With the Miller School of Medicine completely revamping its medical curriculum, establishing “Next Generation” medical education, we have been able to incorporate the healthcare focused MBA program within the four-year MD curriculum, thereby not requiring any additional time in school. Most students go into their residency programs upon graduation with a leg up in their knowledge base and an enhanced appeal to residency programs. A number of graduates from the dual degree program have also chosen to enter the healthcare business environment. The interest, reflected in applications and enrollment in the program, has increased significantly.

And then there are our undergraduate programs. When first introduced ten years ago, initial interest and resultant course enrollment in our business school-based Health Management and Policy courses was minimal but now, enrollments have increased more than ten times over. And the interest is not just from undergraduate students studying in the business school, with their anticipation of going into the healthcare business environment, e.g. hospitals, insurance, pharmaceuticals, medical devices, long-term care, etc. No, now many of our students are pre-medical, pre-therapy, pre-dental, and nursing students. Clinical academic program advisors are strongly suggesting that those who are going to enter the clinical world understand healthcare management and policy as the aspect of this field will serve the student well in their applications, entrance examinations, and interviews. But even more importantly, this is oftentimes the only exposure these students have to the elements of healthcare management before they enter the complexity of the real world of healthcare as professional clinicians. These are aspects of the field which are generally not taught in their clinical programs but are very much a reality of the clinical practice. Whether it is with respect to the understanding of the workings of our healthcare system, insurance, managed care, Medicare, Medicaid, integrated delivery systems, value-based purchasing, marketing of their practice, budgeting, finance, staffing, human resource management, or strategy, the opportunity to learn and be prepared with a set of tools puts the graduate in a much better position to be effective and successful. A number of our students have also gone on to enter federal government healthcare policy internships and professional positions.

Our Health Management and Policy department faculty lead by our chair, Dr. Micheal French, have international reputations regarding their research, creating a body of knowledge which impacts the healthcare sector and is in turn brought into the classroom. A number of the faculty engage in healthcare consulting, which, when brought into the classroom environment as examples, allows students to see how concepts are applied directly. Further, with two former Secretaries of Health and Human Resources, Secretaries Donna Shalala and Alex Azar, and the President of the University of Miami, Dr. Julio Frenk, former Ministry Health of Mexico, all on our faculty, students learn and have access to the greatest minds in healthcare policy.

Ultimately, our students, whether they be in our Healthcare Executive MBA, our Master’s in Health Administration program, our MD/MBA program, or our undergraduate programs, attain knowledge and the ability to apply that knowledge, and ultimately access to excellent professional opportunities and graduate education. We at the University of Miami Herbert Business School Health Management and Policy program take great pride in the accomplishments of its faculty, students, and alumni.


Dr. Steven G. Ullmann, Professor and Chair, Department of Health Management and Policy, Director, Center for Health Management and Policy, at Miami Herbert Business School, University of Miami, can be reached at (305) 284-9920 or [email protected].

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