How the COE Forum helped UMBC launch a Master’s in Health IT

How the COE Forum helped UMBC launch a Master’s in Health IT


UMBC is an honors institution in Maryland that cares deeply about undergraduate
education and about research. We lean on the notion that success is never final. So I went to the COE executive roundtable
presentation on opportunities in the health care fields. I was really excited to see that Baltimore was listed as one of the top ten potential
cities for a program in health IT. We were aware of this increasing need for professionals
in this area, but we didn’t have real numbers. We went back to Education Advisory Board
and asked for a more focused study. So we had a custom study done with
the labor insight tool from Burning Glass that went a long way in helping us to think
about how a professional master’s program would align between the research interests of our
faculty, the regional interests of health care providers, and the requirements of something
like the Affordable Care Act. The most valuable part of the custom report was understanding in detail the
size of the market in Baltimore. Most of us were surprised by that. Encouraging, I suppose, because it shows
a depth and breadth to the field that would make for a more sturdy
student demand pipeline. They expressed a need to start a Master of
Professional Studies program in health IT. I gave some feedback about the creation of
courses, the curriculum that we can come up with. I think it was quickly approved because we
were able to present some kind of evidence in addition to what we were thinking or suggesting. Once the program was actually
signed off on, we already had a plan, so as soon as the program was announced, you know, within a month we were
able to put that information out there. And working professional students,
they’re really concerned with value added. What is this degree going to do for me? How
is it going to support my career development? This program will enable students, really, to transition
into leadership and management opportunities within their current organization,
and possibly even other organizations. I think one of the important
things that EAB provides to us is an external, credible, objective viewpoint. To have the sort of agenda-less research
firm tell us, “Yes, this is a good idea,” or, “No, it’s not such a great idea,” really helps
focus our attention on high-probability programs. Without them, I don’t know how far
we would have been able to go.

Danny Hutson

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