Education in health administration at the university began in 1949 with the establishment of a graduate curriculum in hospital administration. Early graduates received a certificate; the master’s degree was awarded beginning in 1955.
These early efforts grew and developed into the Department of Health Administration, which was established in 1972. The department now includes three major programs: (1) Master of Health Administration, (2) Doctor of Philosophy in Health Services Organization and Research, and (3) Professional Master of Science in Health Administration – Online. The department also cooperates with the schools of law of the University of Richmond and Washington and Lee University in offering dual degree programs in health administration and law. In 2001, the dual degree M.D./M.H.A. program was established with the VCU School of Medicine. Both master’s programs are fully accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Management Education (CAHME). In addition to these educational programs, the Department of Health Administration has a major research program and is involved in a wide range of public service activities, including continuing studies for health services administrators and other health professionals.
The overall purpose of the Department of Health Administration is to provide educational programs and services related to the organization and administration of health services. In achieving that purpose, the department’s principal functions are to provide high-quality education leading to careers in the administration of health care institutions, agencies and systems and to provide advanced training and education for persons who will teach, plan, evaluate and investigate health care policies and medical care systems. Corollary functions are to provide assistance and other services for community organizations and to conduct health services and health policy research.