VCU introduces six new graduate programs

Illustration by Killian Goodale-Porter

Selna Shi, Contributing Writer

VCU is offering six new graduate programs starting this fall.

Health administration master’s student Sydney Belt is in one of the new programs the university implemented, the Certificate in Health Equity. 

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

Paula Song, department chair of Health Administration at VCU, is currently overseeing the curriculum for the certificates in Health Equity and Health Care Financial Management. Song primarily teaches courses for health care financial management.

Health equity and health care finances is becoming more of a prominent issue, according to Song.

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

The Certificate in Health Equity offers classes on foundation of health equity, disparity, healthcare policy and applied application, according to Song. 

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

The different 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 Curriculum and Instruction.

The School of Business is also offering two new programs: the Certificate in Supply Chain Management and Certificate in Decision Making. While the other programs do not require any prerequisites, the Certificate in Decision Making requires a prerequisite course before admitting students into the program. 

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

The College of Health Professions is offering the Certificate in Health Equity and Certificate in Health Care Financial Management. 

Currently, Health Equity and Health Care Financial Management classes are taught online asynchronously to offer students more flexibility in their schedules, Song said.

The Certificate in Culturally Responsive Leadership and Master of Education in Curriculum and Instruction are two new programs for the School of Education. VCU is targeting these two programs toward teachers and administrators, workers in education related fields, and higher education employees, according to its website. 

Luciana Oliveira, the associate dean for Academic Affairs and Graduate Studies and professor in the Department of Teaching and Learning, currently works with the School of Education to design the new programs.

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

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

Lisa Webb, professor in the College of Health Professions, teaches a health equity course this semester called “Reducing Health Disparities: Issues and Strategies.”  

“Any student who is living and working and going to school in Richmond would benefit from a deeper understanding of our history, and the impact of that history on the city currently,” Webb said. 

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

Lauren Mulholland is pursuing a master’s of Health Administration and Certificate in Health Equity. 

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

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

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