Christopher E. Johnson, PhD
Director, Institute of Health Administration
J. Mack Robinson College of Business
Georgia State University
Atlanta, Georgia USA
“Involvement with CAHME has “been very beneficial in my career in terms of being able to develop the best program that I can for my students.”
When his career in the Marines came to an end after the Persian Gulf War, Christopher E. Johnson’s family members encouraged him to think about healthcare as a new arena to apply his interests in leadership and service. He shadowed a healthcare administrator in California, while his father suggested he pursue a PhD in healthcare administration. Doing so at the University of Minnesota included extensive research studying healthcare organizations. It was a fruitful decision since “I was more interested in studying how these organizations function as opposed to leading within those organizations.”
With his advanced degree in hand, Dr. Johnson’s academic path has included leadership of healthcare administration programs at Texas A&M, the University of Washington, and the University of Louisville. Today, he is the Director of the Institute of Health Administration of the J. Mack Robinson College of Business at Georgia State University.
Building a Network with CAHME
Early in his career in healthcare management education, Dr. Johnson also got involved in CAHME. “I first got involved in CAHME many years ago because of my desire to see how other health administration programs function,” Dr. Johnson explains. In addition to leading numerous program site visits, Dr. Johnson serves on CAHME’s Candidacy Committee, Standards Committee, and the Accreditation Council. Engagement with CAHME provides “the opportunity to see and talk to faculty all over the country about how they’re dealing with issues or how they’re recruiting students or what their curriculum looks like. Those kinds of things have been very beneficial in my career in terms of being able to develop the best program that I can for my students.”
Dr. Johnson often recommends engagement with CAHME to colleagues. “I talk to my junior faculty about this all the time. One of the things that CAHME does do is put you in a community of scholars. And… you get to develop strong relationships” which Dr. Johnson cites as benefiting his ca-reer path. “I’ve paid it back by writing letters of recommendation for (individuals) involved in CAHME when they have come up for promotion or tenure.”
The Importance of CAHME Accreditation
With his long career in healthcare management education, Dr. Johnson notes how opportunities for students have expanded in recent years. In addition to traditional hospital and health system roles, graduate students today are finding careers in start-ups, private equity, and entrepreneurship.
“Now students are thinking about starting their own businesses and developing their own solutions to some of the problems that healthcare is dealing with.”
CAHME accreditation remains important in this shifting environment because of its emphasis on program quality. “CAHME’s main focus is, if you’re going to produce somebody who’s going to work in healthcare, what are the things that person needs to be successful…If you are a member of CAHME and of a CAHME-accredited program, it opens up a door to a whole lot of opportunities that your students will have.”