Friday, May 20, 2022

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The School of Health Care Administration at Oklahoma State University Center for Health
Sciences is the largest graduate program at OSU with about 500 people enrolled in
the school.

And it will keep growing with the addition of a doctorate in Health Care Administration
degree program.

“It was student demand; they begged us for years to offer a doctorate program,” said
Interim Chair of the School of Health Care Administration Bavette Miller, Ph.D. “We’ve
had so many alumni who want that degree. We’ve been talking about it for 10 years.”

Miller, former HCA Chair Jim Hess, and others in the HCA program started working toward
adding the doctorate degree in late 2019.

“It was very frustrating because COVID halted everything,” she said, but last fall
they finally received approval from the State Regents of Higher Education. “We had
to show the demand was there and the benefits of offering the program.”

Miller said offering a doctorate in Health Care Administration helps rural and underserved
health systems in Oklahoma and across the country, which is the mission of OSU-CHS.

“We have physicians who may be in administrative positions at their clinics and hospitals.
Pharmacists, dentists and nurses in similar situations and this degree gives them
more education and training on the leadership and administration side of health care,”
she said.

Coursework for the DHA program begins in the fall 2022 semester and 60 students have
already been admitted.

“Our goal was 50 for the fall semester,” she said. “We just had so much demand and
so many people asking for it — everywhere you can think of in Oklahoma. If that doesn’t
fulfill our mission, I don’t know what does.”

Those who have graduated from the HCA master’s degree program at OSU-CHS in the 10
years will have 30 credit hours automatically put toward the 62-hour DHA program,
if admitted.

If it’s been more than 10 years since earning the master’s degree, a pilot program
is being developed allowing prospective DHA students to take and pass two refresher
courses, enabling them to earn 30 credit hours toward their doctorate degree.

The OSU-CHS DHA program doesn’t require a dissertation or research, but it’s still
a doctoral degree program, Miller said.

“We don’t take it lightly. It’s rigorous curriculum, but we go back to our mission
to support health care in rural Oklahoma. People who have been in the field for years
but don’t have that degree, they come with so much experience,” she said. “This program
is getting them what they need to be successful. Getting them the tools they need
to do what they want to do.”

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