The Texas City explosion that killed at least 581 people in 1947 has ripple effects…
The word is out and interest is growing in the revamped online, asynchronous program
The Texas A&M University School of Public Health is accepting applications for its revamped Executive Master of Health Administration (EMHA) degree that launches in August 2024, and interest is growing among the mid-career health care professionals it targets.
That’s according to Jack Buckley, who interviews prospective students as part of his leadership role with the EMHA program. Buckley, who has served more than 40 years in health care leadership in Catholic and not-for-profit hospitals and health systems in nine states—culminating as president and CEO of CHI St. Joseph Health (Bryan, Texas)—says the program will start with about 10 students in the first cohort, then grow to about 25.
“We’re starting small, but I have already had calls from more than 100 people who are excited about possibly enrolling, and the calls keep coming,” he said.
He attributes the tremendous interest to the success of the nearly 70 students who graduated during the first iteration of the EMHA, which was offered beginning in 2015. When several marketing studies and national trends suggested that a few operational changes would benefit students, however, the program was paused while the Master of Health Administration team determined the best path forward.
The EMHA program focuses on mid-level careerists who seek the additional skills and credentials to move up their chosen career ladder or to move into leadership roles in new areas, such as from the clinical side to insurance or management.
Buckley added that the Texas A&M program is special in part because it is rooted in the university’s Core Values of Excellence, Integrity, Leadership, Loyalty, Respect and Selfless Service.
“We encourage students to carry these values throughout their careers to become better professionals,” he said. “That will never change.”
But now, these students also will benefit from a new online, asynchronous instructional format and a compressed schedule that requires 45 semester credit hours over 21 months (instead of 48 semester credit hours over 24 months).
This compressed schedule offers one 15-week course and two seven-week courses each semester so that students take only two courses at a time and earn nine hours of credit each semester.
“That is the biggest change,” Buckley said. “Another is that most instruction will be online and asynchronous, so that students can plan their access to class sessions around their professional obligations. We learned that we could teach effectively online during the COVID-19 years. The students appreciated that flexibility, and they and our faculty adapted to that format.”
Buckley noted that the new online, asynchronous approach means that students can enroll from nearly anywhere, and recruitment efforts extend beyond the previous focus on Texas.
Students will connect in person during a two-day orientation and for a seminar course offered half-way through the program. Seminars will be held in a different city every year to give students first-hand knowledge of that community’s health care delivery system: public and private systems, the private insurance and Medicaid programs. Planning is under way for the first seminar to be held in Phoenix in June 2025.
“Phoenix has several very strong private systems and a very strong public system, as well as the Indian Health Service, the Veterans Administration, and a phenomenal model for the Medicaid program,” he said. “By being there and hearing from their colleagues in person, students will be able to compare and contrast this system with their own experiences in other states.”
For the program’s politics and policy course, Buckley hopes to have a similar, multi-day session in Washington, D.C. so students can learn directly from members of the congressional delegation and their staffs and from representatives of the agencies that administer federal health care programs. Buckley hopes this can be held at the D.C. location of the Texas A&M Bush School of Government and Public Service, which he noted is becoming known as “Aggieland East.”
“Our faculty and staff are doing a great job of redesigning these courses and producing material that is engaging and relevant as the health care profession constantly changes and evolves,” Buckley said. “We are committed to keeping our students at the forefront of this change—while also providing a culture that reflects the steadfast Aggie Core Values.”
Media contact: Dee Dee Grays, firstname.lastname@example.org, 979.436.0611