April 24, 2015

MHA Program Engages all Students in National Case Competitions

C O P H Students at Master of Health Administration ( M H A ) case competition

Left to right: Melissa Yandell, Aaron Pilkington, Stewart Clark, Kevin Keen, Jeanne Rabalais, and Jenny Rable

Students in the Master of Health Administration program at the UAMS Fay W. Boozman College of Public Health faced exciting new challenges this semester with the launch of the inaugural “MHA Case Week.” During the week of Feb. 19-26, all students in the MHA program participated in one of two national level case competitions – the nation’s premiere event hosted by the University of Alabama-Birmingham (UAB), now in its ninth year, or the second annual Cleveland Clinic Case Competition. Health administration Case competitions challenge student teams to solve real-world problems facing health care organizations.

“Our second year students have competed in Birmingham for several years now, but the Cleveland Clinic competition is the first time that we have had the opportunity for our first-year students to be involved in a national competition applying what they have learned to a real-world challenge facing a major national healthcare organization,” said Michael Morris, Ph.D., Assistant Professor for the MHA program.

This year’s UAB competition case focused on the strategic challenge of how best to develop a comprehensive respiratory care center at the University of Colorado Hospital. Teams from 39 universities accredited by the Commission for Accreditation of Healthcare Management Education (CAHME) were tested by the complexity of the case, but UAMS was well represented by second-year students Stewart Clark, Melissa Yandell and Aaron Pillkington. Accompanying them to Birmingham were their faculty advisors, Dr. Morris and Steven Bowman, Ph.D., Director of the MHA program, as well as first-year students Kevin Keen, Jeanne Rabalais and Jenny Rable, who attended as observers.

Unlike the UAB competition, the format of the Cleveland Clinic competition does not limit programs to a single team. All first-year students in the MHA program competed as teams in the three-day event. Students were challenged to develop a strategic business plan for the Florida campus of the Cleveland Clinic. The business plan document and slide presentation of the plan were then submitted online to the Cleveland Clinic for judging. From among the submissions, four teams were selected from around the country to compete in the national finals that took place this month in Cleveland.

Although UAMS teams did not place nationally in either competition, participation was a valuable and enjoyable educational experience for the students.