HCN News & Notes

Westfield State Launches New Public Healthcare Administration Programs

WESTFIELD — Westfield State University’s College of Graduate and Continuing Education (CGCE) launched a new graduate degree concentration and certificate program that focuses on public healthcare administration. The master of public administration (MPA) in public healthcare administration concentration and the public healthcare administration certificate were approved recently by the Massachusetts Board of Higher Education.

“Public healthcare is a priority, now more than ever, and we are excited about Westfield State’s new MPA in public healthcare administration concentration and certificate program because their curriculum provides an opportunity to better support our public healthcare system with high-quality, skilled workers,” said CGCE interim Dean Stefanie Sanchez. “The degree concentration — or the standalone certificate — addresses an ongoing need for healthcare leaders and administrators in several different capacities. With a focus on management and leadership, both options provide a clear path for advancement in the workforce.”

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the employment outlook for healthcare managers is strong and projected to grow 32% through 2029 — much faster than the average for all occupations. As the large Baby Boomer population ages, and more people remain active later in life, an increase in the demand for healthcare services is expected.

Graduates of the degree and certificate programs will be prepared to take on public healthcare challenges as government and nonprofit leaders, where they will lead the charge to create healthier communities. Students in both interdisciplinary programs benefit from an inclusive, supportive environment in which faculty are committed to their success and where they build relationships with their classmates that will continue long after they graduate. They will learn from full-time faculty and practitioners whose expertise is in nursing, biology, communications, healthcare economics, and policy.

MPA Program Director Charles DiStefano explained that, for many years, public-service leaders in Western Mass. have developed leadership and management skills in public management, nonprofit management, and criminal justice administration through Westfield State’s MPA program. Now, future leaders seeking to make their mark in public healthcare administration can benefit from the same specialized opportunity. Additionally, he added, successful public healthcare administrators are leaders within their agencies who effectively gain and foster political allies, nurture relationships within their communities, and build public trust.

“We have seen during the COVID-19 pandemic amazing examples of strong, effective leaders at the federal, state, and local levels, and we have felt the effects of failures by public healthcare officials,” DiStefano said. “By offering this concentration and certificate now, we demonstrate Westfield State’s commitment to nurturing leaders in the public healthcare community who will not succumb to fear or pressure from special interests, and who instead act in our collective best interest to keep us safe and healthy.”