Local colleges joining forces to offer MD/MBA degree program

Wednesday, March 27, 2013
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— Albany Medical College and Union Graduate College are offering a new joint degree combining medicine and business administration.

This is the first time either school has offered a joint MD/MBA degree. Students are currently being recruited for the fall of 2014 and will be accepted at both Albany Medical College and Union Graduate College. The program allows them to complete both degrees in five years.

“Today, a traditional ‘doctor’s bag’ must carry a wider range of skills and equipment,” Dr. Vince Verdile, dean of Albany Medical College and a Union Graduate College trustee, said in a news release. “From managing teams to analyzing data and financials, the evolving health care environment demands business acumen. By partnering with Union Graduate College’s School of Management, we are uniquely qualified to offer students the full range of tools they need to succeed in medicine.”

While 50 joint programs are currently offered across the country, the Albany Medical College and Union Graduate College program is one of just five MD/MBA degrees that have “gold-standard” accreditations in medicine, business and health care management, according to college officials. The new program is accredited in medicine by the Liaison Committee on Medical Education, in business by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business, and in health care management by the Commission on Accreditation Healthcare Management Education.

Union Graduate College President Laura Schweitzer said the college first offered a master’s degree in health systems management in the late 1970s. Today, it offers an MBA in health care management and continues to attract physicians as well as top health care executives.

Alumni include Dr. James Mandell, class of 1999, a former dean of Albany Medical College and current chief executive officer of Children’s Hospital Boston, and Dr. Linda Weiss, class of 1987, director of the Stratton VA Medical Center in Albany.

“Union Graduate College has a rich tradition of providing management expertise to health care professionals,” Schweitzer said. “For future doctors, the MBA is a unique and valuable credential as they launch their careers. And armed with an understanding of the complexities of health care, they can be leaders and innovators in improving our system.”

A total of 571 students are pursuing medical degrees at Albany Medical College and 300 students are enrolled in Union Graduate College’s MBA and MBA in health care management programs.

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