uOttawa's new master's program targets health execs

New offering targeted at senior administrators in hospitals, long-term care facilities
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According to Statistics Canada, there were 9,000 job openings for healthcare leaders across the country last year, and the need for such managers is projected to grow by 20 per cent before the end of the decade.

The University of Ottawa is launching Canada’s first master’s program aimed at senior healthcare executives as it seeks to tap into rising global demand for experienced leaders in the growing sector. 

The Telfer School of Management’s two-year Executive Master of Health Administration program will begin in January, featuring six semesters of mostly online course material. Applicants are required to have a bachelor’s degree and a minimum of seven years of management experience.

While the curriculum includes a week of on-campus networking and coursework at the end of the program, the rest of the content will be delivered remotely. Students will complete the modules on their own and have the chance to consult with professors during virtual office hours.

The new offering is targeted at senior administrators in hospitals, long-term care facilities, other healthcare settings and government health officials. 

In addition to traditional areas of focus such as human resources and finance, the program will also feature a heavy emphasis on how big-data analytics and emerging AI technologies can be used to help improve healthcare systems and deliver services more efficiently.   

Telfer professor Mirou Jaana says the program is catering to more experienced leaders than the school’s traditional Master of Health Administration degree as it attempts to address a gap in the Canadian healthcare system.

According to Statistics Canada, there were 9,000 job openings for healthcare leaders across the country last year, and the need for such managers is projected to grow by 20 per cent before the end of the decade.

“There has always been a need to cater to middle- to high-level management who have more constrained work schedules,” Jaana said. “This is a growing sector, and there is definitely a need to provide quality education for leaders in this area.”

About 20-30 people are expected to take part in the first cohort, a number the school hopes will eventually hit more than 50. 

International students are also eligible to apply for the program, which costs $51,000 plus some additional fees. Jaana said she hopes the program’s unique curriculum will be another way for Telfer to stand out in the increasingly competitive post-secondary education space.

“We would like to reach a larger audience in Canada and internationally, and we would like to contribute to improvements in the healthcare sector and also help managers address the complexities that they’re facing,” she said. “If we can do that, then I’m sure we would be differentiating ourselves because this is something that’s needed in today’s healthcare environment.” 

Keypath Education, which manages online learning platforms for dozens of universities worldwide, is working with Telfer to help market the program and screen potential students. The company previously partnered with uOttawa on the university’s Master of Engineering Management program in 2020.

Jaana said the new program’s hybrid format is an ideal fit for time-strapped executives.

“Our students in in-person programs who were moved to online delivery in the pandemic have welcomed the level of flexibility of online offerings, given that they are busy healthcare professionals who are dealing with a pandemic situation,” she said.