Lesley Clack, ScD, CPH
Associate Professor and Department Chair, Health Sciences
Program Director, BS Health Administration and MS Health Sciences
Marieb College of Health & Human Services
Florida Gulf Coast University
“I think the best way to learn about Health Administration education is being affiliated with CAHME.”
After prior experience with CAHME-accredited programs, Lesley Clack, ScD, CPH, is now working to achieve CAHME accreditation for the Masters of Science in Health Science program at the Marieb College of Health & Human Services at Florida Gulf Coast University (FGCU).
Dr. Clack became chair of the department and director of the program in 2021, but her in-depth experience with CAHME began in 2018, when she became a CAHME Fellow. Since then, Dr. Clack has been involved in almost a dozen site visits to review programs as they prepare for their first, or seek to renew, CAHME accreditation. CAHME Fellows provide essential coordination and guidance during the accreditation process. This includes site visit logistics, document review, interviews with key constituents, drafting site visit reports, and participating in the presentation of results to the Accreditation Council. The goal is to ensure an overall positive experience for the program being accredited as well as for the site visit team.
CAHME Engagement Drives Program Improvement
The experience has been valuable in Dr. Clack’s own professional development. “I think the best way to learn about Health Administration education is being affiliated with CAHME. The knowledge that you gain from other programs is essential. It helps me as much as it helps the other program because you’re able to dig deep and really understand the content a little bit deeper so that you can apply it to your own program.”
Dr. Clack’s experience with CAHM — which has also included serving on task forces—has “benefited me as an administrator. The overall in-depth knowledge of an accreditation process has been tremendous because I have programs with other accreditations in my department. It really has a lot of transferability that you can then apply to other accreditations.”
At Florida Gulf Coast University, Dr. Clack is leveraging her CAHME experience to lead the program toward applying for CAHME accreditation. The Masters of Science in Health Science program at FGCU is fully online. “CAHME now accredits fully online programs. It is wonderful to be able to have the ability to still seek accreditation for an online program so that we can make sure that we have the best quality program for students.”
Dr. Clack notes that CAHME accreditation provides a common thread of program quality, even as each program maintains its unique structure or curriculum.
A Community of Caring Professionals
Dr. Clack cites another benefit from her association with CAHME: the strong network of professional and personal support. In the wake of Hurricane Ian, which devastated the area in 2022, “it was just outstanding to me how many people reached out to me from CAHME, from the president of CAHME to site team members and program directors that I had only met one time.” With CAHME “you just feel like you’re part of a community of people who are after the same thing: to help each other and to support each other.”
And even when dealing with daily professional responsibilities, “if you’re needing help with your program, you can reach out to anyone who is part of CAHME and they are happy to be able to provide you with assistance for making your program better. The overwhelming sense of support has just been amazing and something that I am proud to be a part of.”