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Launching Christ-centered Leaders into the Field of Healthcare


By Linda LaFrombois on Monday, December 6, 2021

Hannah Ried in the Stud

Healthcare surged to the forefront of hearts and headlines as essential workers provided medical support to those battling the effects of a new pandemic disease. Leaders of hospitals, clinics, senior care homes, and mental health facilities—already adapting to shifting demographics and patient needs amid staffing shortages—stood on the frontlines as they directed care to those suffering.

The world watched as medical administrators quickly repurposed hospital floors—and in some cases entire buildings—to accommodate the influx of COVID-infected patients. In nearly every organization across our country, staffing policies and practices shifted seemingly overnight to brace for and slow the spread of the disease.

Adept management in unprecedented circumstances made the difference for many. And in many cases, wise leadership proved to be the difference between life and death.

Even prior to the pandemic—as our nation ages and mental health struggles soar—the need for skillful, Christ-centered leaders in the burgeoning field of healthcare has become more critical than ever.

The University of Northwestern – St. Paul stands ready to help fill the gap.

This fall, the Northwestern School of Business launched Healthcare Management programs. Created by industry experts and offered fully online, the Healthcare Management programs will train graduates with the precise skills needed to step into key positions of leadership throughout the healthcare industry.

Students in Northwestern’s Healthcare Management programs receive instruction in finance, policy, ethics, management, and legal issues specific to healthcare in the United States. Graduates of the programs will be equipped for positions of leadership in organizations such as residential care facilities, clinical and hospital care organizations, medical device and equipment businesses, and insurance companies.

“Our aim in offering Healthcare Management programs is to prepare every graduate entering or advancing in the healthcare field to serve individuals and families in need of care through wise, compassionate, God-honoring management and leadership,” said Jessa Nelson, chair and assistant dean of the UNW School of Business.

In addition to concentrations for traditional and adult undergraduate business majors, MBA students can pursue a concentration in Healthcare Management without adding to their cost or length of study. A stand-alone certificate, which can be completed in only one year, is also available for those that have already earned an MBA, require a shorter course of study, or intend to complete of a Master of Business Administration degree in the future.

“Healthcare Management gives you a unique opportunity to impact delivery care from an organizational standpoint,” says Hannah Ried ’20, resident supervisor at ACR Homes. “Being a student at Northwestern places you at such an advantage. The university has an amazing business department, and the School of Business chair has extensive Healthcare Management experience. And at Northwestern, you learn from the Christian viewpoint, which emphasizes that we’re called to serve and love.”

Graduate-level courses for Healthcare Management include Healthcare Financial Systems, Healthcare Policy & Management, Law & Ethics in Healthcare, and Leadership in Healthcare. “Having enough exposure to healthcare to know how the health care system works—and how people move in and through it—is critical to succeeding in the field of Healthcare Management,” said Nelson. “That is what Northwestern’s Healthcare Management concentrations provide.” 

Healthcare is an exponentially growing market projected to experience continued rapid and extensive growth. Graduates of Northwestern’s Healthcare Management concentrations will receive increased marketability and immediate recognition in this field, where management positions are high level of entry not only in terms of income, but also responsibility.

This is a pivotal and crucial time in our nation’s collective health, with a quickly rising need for grace-filled end-oflife care, sound and godly resources for addressing mental health issues, and ongoing pandemic policy and research.

“We want to put Christ-centered people into these high-level positions,” explained Nelson, “because Christian values create an excellent platform for delivering exceptional care.”

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