The Commonwealth Times

VCU introduces six new graduate programs – The Commonwealth Times

Illustration by Killian Goodale-Porter

Selna Shi, Contributing author

VCU is offering six new graduate programs starting this fall.

Sydney Belt, a Masters in Health Administration student, is taking part in one of the university’s new programs, the Certificate in Health Equity.

“Knowing that VCU has a strong commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion, I entered my masters program determined to discover how I could advocate for social justice in my future career,” Belt said.

Paula Song, Director of the Department of Health Administration at VCU, currently oversees the certificate program in Health Equity and Health Care Financial Management. Song primarily teaches courses in healthcare financial management.

Health equity and health care financing are increasingly becoming an important issue, according to Song.

“These programs will help better equip students to use specialized tools and knowledge to address health issues. We are excited about this tremendous opportunity for students to enhance skills that will be relevant to healthcare organizations in the future,” Song said.

The health equity certificate offers courses in the foundations of health equity, disparity, health policy and applied application, according to Song.

“Students work in a wide variety of places to use their skills, such as hospitals or community organizations and nonprofits,” Song said.

The various graduate programs include certificates in Culturally Responsive Leadership, Decision Analytics, Health Care Financial Management, Health Equity, Supply Chain Management, and a Master of Education in curricula and teaching.

The School of Business also offers two new programs: the Certificate in Supply Chain Management and the Certificate in Decision Making. While other programs require no prerequisites, the Certificate in Decision Making requires a prerequisite course before admitting students to the program.

To be eligible for graduate programs, students must have a bachelor’s degree, three letters of recommendation, and a statement of purpose, according to each of the program websites. The programs require students to take between 12 and 15 credits.

The Health Professions College offers the Certificate in Health Equity and the Certificate in Health Care Financial Management.

Currently, health equity and health care financial management courses are delivered asynchronously online to provide students with more flexibility in their schedules, Song said.

The Certificate in Culturally Responsive Leadership and the Master of Education in Curriculum and Instruction are two new programs in the School of Education. VCU targets both of these programs toward teachers and administrators, workers in education-related fields, and higher education employeesaccording to its website.

Luciana Oliveira, Associate Dean for Academic Affairs and Graduate Studies and Professor in the Department of Teaching and Learning, is currently working with the School of Education to design the new programs.

“The growing diversity of the local Richmond and Virginia community has created a demand for leaders to better understand and relate to diverse stakeholders and communities,” Oliveira said.

Due to new state law for K-12 classrooms, the creation of the program was a response to the Virginia Department of Education’s requirement for training “in leadership and instruction culturally relevant,” according to Oliveira.

Lisa Webb, a professor at the College of Health Professions, is teaching a course on health equity this semester entitled “Reducing Health Disparities: Issues and Strategies”.

“Any student who lives, works and goes to school in Richmond would benefit from a deeper understanding of our history and how that history impacts the city today,” Webb said.

The course explores the historical and current context of health care delivery in Richmond and strategies to reduce health disparities, according to Webb.

Lauren Mulholland is pursuing a Masters in Health Administration and a Certificate in Health Equity.

“I would definitely recommend this program. Especially to anyone interested in learning more about providing equitable access to healthcare and what we can do as providers, administrators and even patients to improve healthcare for all individuals,” said said Mulholland.

To apply for the different programs, visit each of their websites.

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