Winona State University will address the growing demand for competent and innovative leaders in allied health fields with a new Bachelor of Applied Science degree in Healthcare Leadership and Administration (HLA) that will begin in August. The program is the first online healthcare leadership degree offered through the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities system.

HLA is an academic pathway for allied health professionals who possess associate’s degrees and wish to earn their bachelor’s. The interdisciplinary HLA curriculum was developed in collaboration with Bemidji State University, HealthForce Minnesota, Rochester Community and Technical College (RCTC), and other regional two-year technical colleges. Major healthcare providers including Mayo Clinic Health System, Winona Health, and Gundersen Health System played an integral role in the program’s development, identifying essential skills, competencies and student learning outcomes.

The degree launch comes at a pivotal time—the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projects a faster-than-average 22 percent increase in hires of medical and health services managers between 2010 and 2020.

“Our local healthcare providers are recognized worldwide for providing outstanding and innovative health services,” said Jane Foote, Executive Director of HealthForce Minnesota, a Minnesota Center of Excellence chartered in part to build capacity for education to enhance patient care. “To maintain a leadership edge, healthcare organizations are increasingly requiring their health professionals to possess bachelor’s or more advanced degrees. Winona State’s new online Healthcare Leadership and Administration program is unique in that it allows allied health professionals the ability to achieve their educational goals while maintaining their employment.”

The HLA degree allows students to expand their knowledge in five domains identified by the Healthcare Leadership Alliance, a national consortium representing more than 140,000 healthcare management professionals: communication and relationship management, leadership, professionalism, knowledge of the healthcare environment, and business skills and knowledge. Coursework is peer reviewed to meet national Quality Matters Rubric standards for online education.

“Winona State is committed to being a partner of choice to meet our state’s workforce and community needs,” said HLA Program Director Shellie Nelson. “The HLA degree was designed to fill a very specific and urgent need, and we are pleased to be able to offer this online completion program as an academic pathway for working healthcare professionals.”

Prospective students can learn more about the program at www.winona.edu/hla, email hla@winona.edu or call Winona State University-Rochester Student Support Services at 507.285.7100.

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Maire McMahon

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