Healthcare certificate

UD, Christiana Care program develops healthcare leaders

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11:41 a.m., Aug. 31, 2012--Success in executive education means stepping outside the box to deliver unique learning opportunities. Faculty in the University of Delaware’s Alfred Lerner College of Business and Economics have done just that in a recent collaboration with Christiana Care Health System and the Learning Institute at the Center for Transforming Leadership (CTL) by offering a new Certificate in Healthcare Leadership.

The program, organized by the Lerner College and UD’s Professional and Continuing Studies (PCS), brought together 17 healthcare professionals ranging from clinical specialists and nurse managers to finance coordinators and administrators.

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For nine weeks, the cohort met to learn about best practices in leadership based in academic research.

Barbara Monegan, director of the CTL, said the program is an important element in the Christiana Care commitment to develop its next generation of top leaders. 

One key part of the program, according to Monegan, was a self-assessment of personality preferences, which evaluated the participants’ leadership styles and ended with an hour of one-on-one coaching from the faculty members who have extensive experience doing leadership and executive coaching.

The faculty included UD experts like Jack Baroudi, lead faculty member and associate dean of graduate and executive programs at the Lerner College; Wendy Smith, assistant professor of business administration; Bethany Hall-Long, professor in UD’s School of Nursing and a Christiana Care trustee; and Barbara Roche, freelance consultant. 

“The importance of determining preference and leadership styles served as an essential part of the growth of these individuals,” said Baroudi. “The participants had to learn which styles were appropriate and the impact different styles can have on the way we lead and manage.”

Added Smith, “Case studies helped teach participants how to become healthcare leaders using strategy to observe the impact incidents had on the health industry.”

Rosa M. Colon-Kolacko, Christiana Care’s chief diversity officer, also spoke on the importance of diversity and cultural understanding, citing specific examples of disparities in the health of limited-English speaking populations.

“Healthcare agencies would benefit by employing cultural experts and fully bilingual providers and staff,” said Monegan.

Hall-Long introduced Bettina Riveros, chair of the Delaware Health Care Commission and adviser to Gov. Jack Markell, who contributed to discussions on healthcare reform from the public policy side.

Robert J. Laskowski, M.D., CEO and president of Christiana Care, spoke to the group on healthcare reform and the changing healthcare laws. 

In addition to in-class work, the cohort of managers worked in teams on capstone projects ranging from accident prevention to understanding why so many patients fail to get follow up medical care once they are released from the emergency department. The projects were designed to give the participants the opportunity to work in cross-functional teams.

“Safety is important for patients, visitors and staff,” said Monegan. “Participants from one group investigated new ways of preventing accidental needle stick injuries.”

Another project focused on employing bilingual social workers to act as patient “navigators” in the Emergency Department. 

Monegan said Christiana Care has interpreters, but this group proposes to have staff dedicated to the follow-up after patients leave, since one measure of a hospital’s effectiveness is measured by the number of people that come back within thirty days.

A ceremony was held on Tuesday, Aug. 7, in the Ammon Center at Christiana Care, where the teams discussed the lessons they learned and presented their findings and recommendations to their directors, vice presidents and other members of Christiana Care senior leadership.

“I learned a good deal from the project presentations and am proud to honor the 17 graduates,” said Laskowski.

Participants were granted 3.6 continuing education units and received certificates provided jointly by UD and Christiana Care.

Baroudi commended the participants for putting so much personal time into the program, while Monegan noted, “People were enthusiastic and feedback about the program was uniformly very positive. I look forward to continuing this program and other partnerships with the University of Delaware.”

Article by Rachel Howard

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