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MPH vs MHA

Discussion in 'Public Health Degrees (Masters and Doctoral)' started by luckyjoe, Feb 23, 2010.

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  1. luckyjoe

    luckyjoe

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    I have been accepted into Columbia for their MPH program with a concentration in health care management as well as for Penn State for their MHA program. I was pretty set on going to Penn State, but when I found out yesterday that I got accepted into Columbia, my plans were thrown out the window. It seems to me that everyone is telling me that Columbia is the better choice for the future. I really love the program at Penn State because it is small and focused on students who are straight out of undergrad with limited or no work experience, whereas Columbia has a larger class with an average age being 28. I have been to Penn State and I also plan on visiting Columbia just to get a better feel for the school.

    People have also been telling me that it will be easier to get a job having a degree from Columbia over Penn State, but I feel that people with an MPH/MHA won't have a hard of a time getting a job. I just don't want to make the mistake of going to Penn State and finding out that I could have had a better career opportunity going to Columbia.

    Pros- PSU
    --small, close-knit class
    --lots of attention from faculty
    --cheaper for living compared to NYC
    --100% job placement after grad

    Cons- PSU
    --less diversity?
    --less reputable

    Pros- Columbia
    --more diverse due to larger class size
    --reputation of ivy league

    Cons- Columbia
    --cost of living in NYC

    I still have to learn about the program at Columbia, but I was wondering what you guys thought.
  2. kauldron26

    kauldron26

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    go with Columbia. An MPH is way more versatile than an MHA.
  3. luckyjoe

    luckyjoe

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    thanks for the quick response, I really want to stay within the hospital and eventually become an executive. so are there any other reasons why an MPH is better other than versatility? It was my understanding that they are both similar when it comes to health administration
  4. classicvendetta

    classicvendetta

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    Both schools' health policy & management programs are accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Management Education (CAHME), so they both have met the same basic standards. However, if you want to be a hospital executive, MHA is more recognizable.


    With that being said, the main difference between Columbia and Penn State's curricula is that Columbia's degree is within a school of public health while Penn State's is not. At Columbia, you'll have to take the core public health courses (epidemiology, biostatistics social/behavioral science, environmental health, health policy). At Penn State, you don't. It's your call on how valuable you think these classes are to your career path.

    Good luck! :)
  5. Stories

    Stories Hockey Scientist Moderator

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    Sounds like a business or management degree would be up your alley.
  6. wiiturtledove

    wiiturtledove

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    I think MPH is what he wants and choosing to specialize in hospital administration and policy is what he is interested in. I am not sure a big name will land you a job in a cushy spot. I think competence counts a lot too. True, a big name will bring you more contacts and private businesses might go for you more. But I dont think government jobs care where you went as much as how good you were. Academia will probably care what school you went as well.
  7. luckyjoe

    luckyjoe

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    Hmm it seems that I still have much to learn about Columbia's program and I have to see how that fits in with my career path. I know that afterwards, I have to apply for a fellowship at the hospital where I learn the ropes from an executive there. It sucks because I don't want to make a bad decision and regret it later on.

    I agree, I did health care management as a concentration to the MPH because I know that I will still be able to go into the administrative field later on. From what I was told by other people, the name might only help me to get my first job, and then later on it mostly depends on experience, academics, extracurricular activities, and references. However, it is a nice touch to have that big name on the resume as well.

    What are some cons of an MPH over an MHA, or other way around?
  8. PHin2010

    PHin2010

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    I have several friends who did MHA. My sense has always been, MHA for healthcare administration, MS or MPH for other stuff. Also, if you want to be an exec in a hospital, perhaps consider an MHA/MBA combo, which I *think* Penn State offers.
  9. Deem23

    Deem23

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    Yea, I have to admit that I thing a MHA is probably a good choice for you. I mean sure an MPH is more flexible and will offer more bredth but if you are sure you want to be a hospital aminstrator I feel like the MHA is made for people like you.

    That being said, I do think you could go for the MPH in Health Managament and still be super qualified to continue on as a hospital adminstrator.

    The whole name brand school thing is something that is very difficult to wrestle with. I know I'm dealing with it right now as well. Granted when when my financial aid come through and I actually visit some of these schools, I'm sure the decisions may become a bit easier but yea..I feel your pain. Although If you do go to Penn state, I be you will get a fine education and shouldn't feel too bad about choosing it over columbia if you feel the fit is really for you.
  10. luckyjoe

    luckyjoe

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    What did your friends think about the MHA program? Were they looking at MPH as well?

    It seems that the general opinion and vibe from everyone is that MHA seems to be more suited for me. I was wondering though, how does the MPH in Healthcare mgmt stack up to the MHA in terms of competency and competition later on for that first job? Do hospitals really care what school you went to as long as you had the right credentials?

    I agree it'd be much better when the financial aid comes through... but until then the wait is killing me. At Penn State, it's important to get the apartment early say March-ish because since it's rural, most of the good/cheap apts are already leased out to those that are already attending. It's also tough trying to convince my parents that Penn State is a better choice than Columbia. Granted, I will take care of my own funding, but it is still nice to get an approval you know?
  11. kauldron26

    kauldron26

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    dude my goal is to be a hospital administrator as well and i stand by what i said earlier. go for the MPH in management. I was in the exact same position u were in last year and i went with the MPH in management over the MHA. The current job i have right now is in hospital administration and i got it solely because im in an MPH program and the fieldwork i had done. im currently the hospital training and development coordinator. My job requires that i utilize skills from mph curriculum's Health Education and Epi, ( i train the staff in infection control and pain and fall management) and the courses in information management and finance help me with the training budget and tracking data for performance improvement and quality assurance. MPH in management is by far more versatile than and MHA, you get the advantage of being able to maneuver through different departments in the hospital. More importantly you need to get experience especially while your in school. Specifically if you want to work in healthcare admin. no one will make u a manager or supervisor right out of school. i have one yr left in my program and i work full time. Everthing i learn in school i apply to my job and vice versa. Going to school full time and working full time is not impossible. Its hard, but its fufilling as hell because you get to build up that resume. By the time ur done with ur program u'll have 2/3 yrs admin experience AND the MPH.

    my $0.02
    Last edited: Feb 24, 2010
    kyrae04 likes this.
  12. PHin2010

    PHin2010

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    My friends liked the program; one went on to be an asst. director at a hospital in Chicago, another works in a large dr's office. Neither of them were looking at an MPH, only MHA programs, and the others I knew just sort of stumbled into the field w/o thinking that hard on it. With all due respect to kauldron, I poked around a bit to see what some hospital leaders around the nation did. YMMV of course, as this is definitely not a comprehensive list (full disclosure: it's just what I was able to dig up in about 5 minutes or so before the siren call of dinner became too tempting ;)

    ///

    Vanderbilt
    http://www.mc.vanderbilt.edu/about/factbook_2009.pdf
    page 9

    Lots and lots of MDs and MBAs. Some of the executive leadership have MHAs. The only MPHs I see are for admin in strategic development & community relations.

    Scripps
    http://www.scripps.org/about-us__executive-team__chris-van-gorder

    I only looked at the first 5 people on their executive team list. It was quite varied. I didn't see any MPH or MHA, but their President did public admin/health services admin, plus a CEO certification at U of Penn's Wharton.

    Maimonides
    http://www.maimonidesmed.org/clinical.cfm?id=1430

    Their prez did both MHA and MPH.

    Hershey Medical Center (now part of Penn State)
    http://www.pennstatehershey.org/web/guest/home/aboutus/leadership

    Again, lots of MDs, MBAs, and a couple of MHAs

    ///

    Are you a member of ACHE? Perhaps someone there might be able point you a good direction for your goals? No matter which you choose in the end, btw, good luck on your path :)
  13. kauldron26

    kauldron26

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    i belong to ACHE which is an incredible organization and resource. If you become a member u can network and search through their resume database and see the experiences and education of members.

    Good luck with your decision man!
  14. FeedMeSushi

    FeedMeSushi

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    I agree, you need experience. I interned as an undergrad at MOBs and hospitals and when I graduated in search of a job, I was immediately offered a higher level position (the job actually required a Master's but I was able to bypass that) due to the strength of my internship-- the job wasn't even the company I did my internship at (salary at original company was too low :p) ..and this was an UNDERGRADUATE internship.

    I have 2 years of full-time experience under my belt now (2 years out of undergrad) and I also struggled with the decision MPH vs MHA vs MBA. I ultimately went with a MPH after talking with several of my mentors. A huge plus for Columbia MPH.HPM is the fact that it is also available part-time. I was recently officially appointed to be the successor for my supervisor (director-level which will lead to an executive level) so my company was ecstatic to know that I will only be attending part-time and will continue in my current position. Oh, and one of the medical directors I work with went to Columbia Med, so he was very excited for me.

    I may still go for an executive MBA in the future but so far I am pleased and the higher-ups are pleased with my decision to go for a MPH.

    I work with several VPs and directors who have MPH, MHA, MPP, MBAs, MDs and RNs, even some JDs.

    I apologize for the long-winded post, to summarize, from what I see, you can get an executive-level job with a MPH or MHA, so good luck with whatever decision you make.

    I also want to point out that I do NOT work for a hospital, I'm in a more corporate setting.
    Last edited: Feb 24, 2010
  15. luckyjoe

    luckyjoe

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    hmm I see where you are coming from kauldron with the versatility, but i do have to say that from what I learned about the psu program, the graduates felt quite prepared in the real world and the director of the program actually has a jd/mph. I know that no one will make me a manager/supervisor right out of grad school, which is why I would apply for a fellowship so that I can get to that spot. I know that at psu, the school schedule is tues,wed,thurs (wed being a half day) because they encourage students to get a job. So it seems as if the same can be done with an MHA. Of course, I don't know anything about Columbia as of yet, I plan to visit and meet the staff next Wed. I'm sure that you understand that I am simply just trying to learn what is a better fit for me and I appreciate the advice.

    I am not a member of ACHE, but I do know that every year, the students at the penn state program go to the conference to meet the other members of the organization. It seems that an overwhelmingly large amounts of the administrative people have an MBA over MPH/MHA. I have also heard that if I wanted to work in NYC then Columbia is better, whereas if I wanted to work in Pennsylvania, PSU would be the choice.
  16. Gatorej

    Gatorej

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    You won't have a hard time finding a job with an MHA from Penn State. Their MHA placement rate is virtually 100%. A CAHME accredited degree from Columbia will certainly take you further I think, the Alumni Connections from Columbia are RIDICULOUS, I'm certain you'll be introduced to people who have direct lines to the President, former President's and CEO's nation wide.

    I'm in the same bind as you are; I applied to both the MPH and MHA at my program and am thinking about just doing both of them. I want to be a consultant, and both degrees will give me the flexibility to navigate from private to public sectors.

    I'd say go with the Health Care Management MPH from Columbia. You'll be able to do whatever you want; it's not What you know, it's Who you know...and Columbia knows a lot of ppl in high places.
  17. mha2010

    mha2010

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    Now I am confused. ...
    - Do all the MHA's join hospitals ?
    - Can we join an insurance company after doing an MHA ?
    - Where can i find profiles/ jobs of people with MBA/ MHA ?
    Please help....I am really confused
  18. lebo

    lebo

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    How is the MHA from USC (University of Southern California) ranked as compared to other schools?How about the placements for USC MHA graduates ?
    Can someone also please tell me how can one get into health care consulting? does an MHA usually qualify you to become a health care consultant?
    Last edited: Mar 7, 2010
  19. tritonhopeful

    tritonhopeful

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    Hi lebo. I can help answer your first couple of questions. I would recommend contacting particular schools with respect to the others.

    I am currently in the process of applying for MHA programs and have recently visited USC on site and was able to meet with a student ambassador; this gives you an idea of where I am coming from and you can assess the credibility as you wish.

    You can find rankings for Healthcare Management programs here: http://grad-schools.usnews.rankings...ls/top-healthcare-management-schools/rankings. This was in 2007 and it can be assumed that many things have changed since then. Also note that this list contains both MPH and MHA degree programs. From my research, it seems more important to find a program that you like for academics, location and reputation rather than worrying about a ranking.

    During my visit to USC, it was made relatively clear that many of their graduates end up working for the company or hospital they do their residency with. I believe it to be the case that they have a very successful placement of graduates into the fields of their interest.
  20. Gatorej

    Gatorej

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    lebo,

    An MHA degree alone doesn't qualify you to be a Health Care consultant. If that is the degree you want, and that is the profession you want to pursue; I suggest attending an MHA program that has a track record of sending a good amount of it's graduates to consulting firms. Since virtually all health care consulting firms do not hire their consultants right out of grad school (usually requiring YEARS, decades even, of consulting experience) it will be advantageous to perhaps intern with a consultant who is an alumni of your program through the connections your program has...that's pretty much how all consultants today get in the field and get their feet wet.

    mha2010,

    No. All MHAs do not work in hospitals. While it is a degree designed primarily for hospital administrators, the degree itself (MHA) has evolved to respond to the changing health care environment. You can work in nursing homes, rehab centers, insurance companies, consulting firms, home health agencies, public health departments etc. Any thing health related. Insurance companies do not require you to have an MHA degree, i'd suggest doing an MBA if that is your choice of work as it would give you more flexibility outside of the arena of health care.

    Hope this has been somewhat helpful.
  21. UCSDpt

    UCSDpt

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    Hello SDNers,

    I'm a recent grad looking to enter the MHA/MPH world. My undergrad is in economics from a darn good school (not sure if that helps me on admissions), and I was hoping to get some guidance from anyone with experience here.

    1) What sort of job within a hospital/health care setting would I need to get me good experience for this masters program? Would I have to intern without pay in the beginning?

    2)As a new grad with limited experience, it seems as if there aren't any jobs out there for someone fresh out of school with no experience. Where do you think the best place for me to start is? Would any sort of job within a health care admin office work? i.e. secretarial, billing, etc.?

    3) Is healthcare admin a recession sensitive field? i.e. if I enter this world will I be unemployed/layed off during econ downturns?

    Thank you guys!!
  22. beebee0

    beebee0

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    By a darn good school, you don't mean UCSD right (sorry if not, just got it from your sn), because UCSD is not that good. I graduated from UCSD and really think that most schools don't care much about the name. :scared:
  23. UCSDpt

    UCSDpt

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    beebee0 - Well yeah I did mean UCSD:). We're the 7th best public university in the nation. I also believe the economics and science programs are pretty high up there as well. I guess I just assumed that other schools would recognize UCSD as a teir 1 school (well at least West Coast schools). Maybe I was a little naive. I guess if you're UC isn't followed by LA or Berkeley then ur S.O.L.
  24. beebee0

    beebee0

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    I know what you mean =) I guess I compared UCSD too much with Ivy League schools, ... etc. haha. But for sure UCSD, compared to most other UCs, is much better and our people are much cooler and better educated!
  25. lonemavericks

    lonemavericks

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    Columbia i would say
  26. Inception8888

    Inception8888

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    Hey everyone,

    I would say that it all depends on numerous factors when someone wants to become a hospital CEO or executive. I am currently doing my MPH focusing on health policy & law. I had to take a bunch of healthcare business electives such as healthcare managements and healthcare business & finance. I also had to take all the core courses (i.e. epidemiology, human behavior, biostats etc.) I am planning on applying for my PhD in health polocy & administration. I definately see myself heading up organizations (for-profit and non-for-profit), hospitals, long-term care centers and so forth down the line.

    I have talked to hospital executives who have stated that there is not one single degree that makes the best route to become a healthcare executive. I think it is very important to become a life long student and become immersed in a lot of understanding of healthcare laws, policies, and different modalities in business in order to have a shot as a CEO or executive.

    It will take a lot drive and sacrifices to become the head of any organization. It also takes a ton of passion. That is something that a college degree or job cannot give you. I have been into healthcare since I was a mid-teenager. My first shadowing experience was a pediatric cardiologist. Then I worked for a hospital for almost 4 years working as a medical assistant. I was more interested in the business & policy aspect of healthcare rather than the clinical side of things.

    Just like the way a medical doctor (MD) diagnoses, treats and prevents diseases of the body, healthcare executives are the doctors of the healthcare industry. They diagnose industry issues, treat or fix the problem and set up preventions just in case it could potentially happen again. We make sure the system runs smoothly.
    Last edited: Apr 19, 2011
  27. RAMPA

    RAMPA Pimpiro

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    This is perhaps true for a small shop/boutique consulting focusing entirely on health care, however many of the large nationwide consulting firms with large healthcare/life science divisions take new grads from some of the best graduate health care management programs.

    I noticed when doing my search for a program that most MHA programs have strict course requirements with no room for electives, while 99% of MPH programs (that are CAHME accredited) have room for elective courses. Ultimately this is what drove me to choose a MPH program over a MHA program. I'll ultimately have the same "CAHME mandated" competencies of a MHA degree holder, however I will have a personalized "specialization" by taking elective courses such as children's health policy, pharmaceutical economics, healthcare decision analysis, etc.
  28. XORD

    XORD

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    Hi,what concentration u did in MPH,EPI or Health policy management.From you experiance what do u think is a best concentration to land a good administrative position in hospitals?..i also plan to do MD.so which will be more beneficial to me MHA or MPH(whith what conc)?

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