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New Healthcare Leadership Program to support experienced managers and emerging leaders

by Melanie Moyer,

At the beginning of the year, The Oregonian reported that despite the projected slowdown in job growth in the state of Oregon, jobs in healthcare are expected to rise exponentially, with 44,500 added by 2032. To help meet the significant need for healthcare professionals in the region, Willamette’s Atkinson Graduate School of Management is launching a Healthcare Leadership Program through its Executive Development Center.

The program is being developed by a Healthcare Task Force made up of faculty from AGSM and the College of Law as well as industry experts associated with Willamette from the healthcare field. The credential is designed for those already working in healthcare management or those looking to enter the field, but could also serve as a first step for those curious about continuing their education to get a taste of an MBA.

“Careers in healthcare are in demand, with many having very high levels of job satisfaction,” shares Kennedy Hawkins JD/MBA’91, who is spearheading the new program’s development as the leader of the Executive Development Center. “However, individuals with medical training don’t necessarily learn how to lead people, run a department, or advance a hospital system or an outpatient organization. This program will be a crash course on how to accelerate your career with lessons in legal, human resources, business, and financial skills.”

Hawkins, who has three decades of experience working in healthcare, received a dual JD and MBA in 1991 from Willamette. “I’ve worked at the local, state, and national level, and the education I got from Willamette really set me up to succeed in my career.” Like many alumni, Hawkins valued the small-community learning opportunity that made way for close relationships with the school’s faculty and fellow students.

“Something that excites me is that we get to help develop leaders,” Hawkins shares. “If we can help accelerate and make better health care leaders through this certificate program, it improves the individual, it improves the organization, and overall, it improves our communities.”

The development of the program is expected to be completed in June and available in the fall of 2024, adding to the Executive Development Center’s certificate offerings in Utility Management, Public Management, Leadership for Attorneys in Business, and Leadership for Managers.

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