A Master of Business Administration degree helps graduates gain a broad, powerful understanding of the modern economy. With the variety of specializations offered through the University of Alabama at Birmingham’s MBA online degree program, students can focus on four areas of particular importance in the modern economy: finance, management information systems, marketing, and health services.
Students who want to address a specific need in their industry of choice, such as ensuring a high level of care is provided to veterans and addressing that population’s top healthcare issues, can gain invaluable knowledge and experience by including a specialization in their MBA degree. Let’s review the most common healthcare difficulties for veterans, and then look at how an MBA degree with a health services concentration allows graduates to capably address such concerns.
The top healthcare issues facing veterans today
With a population as large and diverse as the country’s veterans — more than 20 million live across the country — there are a wide variety of healthcare concerns to consider. However, certain problems are more common in this population.
Top-level VA leadership stability and change
The Department of Veterans Affairs administers the many healthcare programs and options offered to retired service members. While the organization itself is in no risk of going away, leadership at its upper levels has been fragmented for a variety of reasons. The VA has seen five different acting or confirmed leaders pass through its highest office since early 2017.
The VA continues to prioritize providing care to veterans, but a lack of stability in the top echelons of its executive structure can make it difficult for the department to define long-term goals and develop new initiatives. With a variety of other concerns facing the VA and veterans, this period of significant change may have set the department back in efforts to modernize and explore a variety of options for improvement.
Mental health services and outreach
The VA currently offers veterans mental health treatment, and has for some time. However, a congressionally mandated study of such care options found an unmet need for more services centered around mental wellness and stability. The report cited a need for the VA to make its mental health care structure more readily accessible, as well as provide effective outreach to veterans.
Chronic illnesses and delayed reactions
The sheer number of potentially dangerous situations encountered by service members makes it difficult to assess all potential incidents and resultant health effects, especially when an injury or illness takes many months or years to become noticeable. Risk of exposure to everything from heat stroke to radiation and excessively loud noises can lead to short- and long-term issues that must be carefully diagnosed by healthcare professionals on the individual level and closely observed by the VA on the population health level.
How MBAs can help advance veterans’ health issues
Although the MBA degree may not be obviously associated with the healthcare world, there are many opportunities for graduates to use advanced business management and analysis skills in that industry. Healthcare is still a business. The industry as a whole and the issue of veterans’ healthcare in particular can benefit significantly from the MBA-specific skills students learn at UAB.
Consider how the health services-specific courses students complete during their time at UAB relate to improving outcomes for veterans’ healthcare:
Understanding marketing is vital for any organization, even for situations where customers like veterans have a substantial incentive to use the subsidized systems offered by the VA. With research showing the VA needs to emphasize mental health outreach, a strong grasp of how marketing works in the healthcare sector can be especially valuable for MBA graduates who want to focus on this issue. The Healthcare Marketing course provides a strong basis in the fundamentals of using marketing techniques and strategies in this highly regulated field.
The Health Economics class pairs economics — the systematic process of considering the use of specific resources and their effects — with the world of healthcare. Students develop a better understanding of both the financial and delivery aspects of healthcare in the U.S., allowing for more educated and thoughtful analysis of health management strategies and associated policy options. A firm base in this topic can help MBA graduates understand how to effect solid team and organizational leadership.
This directed study course gives students the chance to delve into specific health services business topics of their choosing, homing in on areas they have particular interest in. This course could be an opportunity to find an appropriate topic that addresses, for example, the economics of how to effectively provide care for slow-developing conditions faced by some veterans.
Focusing on a health services career with a UAB MBA
MBA degrees are valuable in a wide variety of economic contexts — from finance to nonprofits, heavy industry to health services. To learn more about how UAB can help you specialize your MBA online degree with a concentration in Health Services, and do so while learning at your own pace in a completely remote environment, get in touch with an advisor today.