Did You Major in
Health Care Quality?

August 12, 2022 · Andy Reynolds

Much of NCQA’s work to bring better health care, better choices and better health to everyone in the US focuses on two things:

  1. Making health care more equitable.
  2. Using digital technology to modernize quality measurement.

Shaping the future of health care includes training our field’s future leaders.

NCQA has a close and growing relationship with faculty, staff and students at the George Mason University Department of Health Administration and Policy. Their seriousness and dedication to quality makes us optimistic about the future of health care quality.

Redesigning the Graduate Curriculum

NCQA Associate General Counsel, Brian Santo, and NCQA Director of Strategy Implementation for Digital Solutions, Keri Christensen, recently helped GMU refresh the Masters of Health Administration curriculum to bring new emphasis on health care quality:

  1. A new MHA Concentration in Healthcare Quality (HTLQ).
  2. A new Healthcare Quality Certificate program.
  3. Three new MHA courses: Healthcare Quality Measurement & Evaluation (required of all MHA candidates); The Healthcare Quality Environment; and Liability in Health Care Quality and Patient Safety.

The core textbook for another new course about the health care quality environment includes a chapter co-written by NCQA Vice President of Public Policy and External Relations, Frank Micciche, and NCQA alum Dr. Michael Barr. Guest speakers for this course include NCQA Assistant Vice President for Federal Affairs, Eric Musser, and NCQA alumni Torshira Moffett, Eric Fennel and Brett Kay.

The Professor is a Practitioner

Brian Santo has been adjunct professor in George Mason’s MHA program for the 7 years he’s been at NCQA. He teaches Legal Aspects of Healthcare Administration, a core course on legal principles, statutes, regulations and case law affecting health care.

A highlight for Brian is seeing clinicians in his class use the legal concepts he teaches to think about their jobs in new ways. Students are often surprised how many legal issues affect health care. More than one has joked, “Who knew studying health care meant going to law school?”

Engaging Students

GMU students help NCQA staff on special projects. MHA candidate, Chandan BK, has helped us use the “jobs to be done” framework, a practical way of thinking that helps NCQA product designers focus on solving customers’ real-world problems.

Chandan helped us explore how modular products can help our customers. Making NCQA Accreditation and Recognition programs “matchable and stackable”—like building blocks—can improve their usefulness.

The Bottom Line

  1. If you want to earn a degree in health care quality, we recommend you give the GMU programs a serious look.
  2. If you’re looking for less of a commitment and want to stay current in our field, the NCQA Education Department offers online, in-person, live and on-demand courses on dozens of quality improvement topics.
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