A couple of weeks ago, I visited the MHA program at the University of Scranton, where many of the students were in the beginning stages of applying for administrative fellowships. I was impressed that the students saw the advantage of fellowships: six to 12 months of structured experiential education that allow students to learn directly from senior healthcare executives. While fellowships vary, high quality ones commonly include project work, rotation through departments, access to executive level discussions such as Board Meetings, and also provide an academic preceptor who oversees the experience.
While not all programs require fellowships for their students, in the 2017 – 2018 academic year 71 percent of all CAHME-accredited programs participated with at least one student applying for a fellowship. Also in 2017 – 2018, 15 percent of graduating students in CAHME-accredited programs chose a the fellowship experience – an increase of about 4 points over the prior year.
CAHME and AUPHA worked with National Center for Healthcare Leadership (NCHL) to create a centralized application process for fellowships. Creating a site that brings together healthcare organizations seeking fellows with students seeking fellowships has greatly simplified the application process and helped the fellowship experience for students to flourish in the past several years. We are grateful for the support and leadership of Andy Garman, PhD, president of NCHL.
The ACHE also maintains a section on its website with comprehensive information about fellowships. A majority of fellowships slots require that students come from a CAHME-accredited program. For programs that do not, many give preference to students from CAHME-accredited programs.
My belief in fellowships comes from my own professional story. At the beginning of my career, as a student at Widener University, I completed an administrative fellowship (then called a residency) with the former Graduate Health System in Philadelphia. That lead to my first post-graduate job with Graduate, where I formed life-long professional friendships that shaped my career and from which I still benefit.
I am a strong supporter of administrative fellowships and see them as a solid foundation on which to build a career. I would strongly encourage any student who has made the investment to study at a CAHME-accredited program to seek out an administrative fellowship. The benefits can last a lifetime.
Anthony Stanowski, DHA, FACHE
President & CEO