Graduate program ranked ninth in nation

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Brittany Hively | Online Editor

Guaranteed job placement with an average earning of $70,000 is expected for graduates of Marshall University’s new graduate program in the College of Business, the director for the Center of Stakeholder Engagement said.

Ranked ninth in the nation by College Rank, the new interdisciplinary program combines information technology and healthcare to address the rising need of management in the technological systems involved in patient care, director Glen Midkiff said.

“Our Health Informatics program deals with the optimization of healthcare,” Midkiff said. “It is using STEM, data science, computer programing and looking at the organizational dynamics.”

The aim of the program is to better serve patients, healthcare workers and the administration while filling the need of a rapidly expanding field, Midkiff said. 

The field of healthcare information technology predicts a job growth of 22% by 2022, twice as fast as employment overall, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Another aspect of the program is its affordability; tuition for the program costs about $9,000, which is significantly lower compared to universities such as Stanford and Duke offering similar programs, Midkiff said. 

Courses in the program include Healthcare Quality and Safety, Database Management and a practicum to gain real world experience, Midkiff said.

“Students do a practicum in a healthcare facility or hospital,” he said. “That is one of the things that is different in our program; a lot of programs at Marshall don’t require an internship.”

The creation of this program and others came after a transformative donation by Brad and Alys Smith that geared the college toward the future, said Avi Mukherjee, dean of the College of Business. 

“What we are doing as a result of the donation is to focus on high demand program initiatives,” Mukherjee said. “We are reevaluating our current curriculum and programs and accessing whether these have kept up with the changing demands of the industry.”

The Health Informatics program is the first STEM graduate program from the College of Business, and it is in response to the need for data analytics and big data in the field of healthcare, Mukherjee said.  

“We feel extremely positive that this program, which existed in the College of Health Professions and has recently moved to the College of Business, is now becoming even more stronger as an interdisciplinary program,” Mukherjee said. 

Ralph May can be contacted at [email protected]