Graduation CeremonyEMSHA Graduation Ceremony in Saudi ArabiaA joint partnership between the University of Alabama at BirminghamDepartment of Health Services Administration and the King Fahad Specialist Hospital-Dammam graduated its first class of Saudi Arabian hospital administrators on Saturday, December 21, 2013.

Participating in the Executive Master of Science in Health Administration graduation ceremony, held in Dammam, were Saudi physicians and administrators. The event was attended by UAB School of Health Professions Dean Harold P. Jones, Ph.D., S. Robert Hernandez, DrPH, interim-chair of the HSA department; Leandra Celaya, MSc, assistant director, Executive Doctoral Program in Administration – Health Services; and Daniel K. Mueller, Ph.D., associate professor, HSA department.

SEE MORE: the SHP Flickr page has all the photos from this historical day

“To face the major challenges in the health sector we must build health management systems to keep up with the global systems,” said His Excellency, Dr. Mansour Al Hawasi, Deputy Minister for Health Affairs, Ministry of Health, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. “We have prepared and qualified a generation of creative leaders who are able to change the concept of health management and push it towards progress and advancement in the field of health service and hospital administration.”

EMSHA GraduatesEMSHA Saudi Arabia GraduatesJones told the graduation participants, “We believe the tools, skills and knowledge you have mastered will allow you to more fully contribute to our joint task of improving lives by providing the most effective, efficient and highest quality health care available. We are excited to have you as colleagues who will, with us, seek better ways to deliver patient care and operate the business of healthcare.”

“One of the special characteristics of this program is that the knowledge and exposure to different expertise of colleagues in their fields, influenced our scientific, cognitive and overall experience very much,” said Bader Nasser Al Nasser, Saudi EMSHA Class 1 graduate.

In November 2011, UAB and hospital officials signed an agreement for the nationally ranked HSA department to train hospital administrators of the new 1,500-bed King Fahad Specialist Hospital-Dammam. Since January 2012, three UAB faculty have taught in Saudi Arabia once each semester for a week with 12 faculty making the trip to teach during the two-year period.

EMSHA Saudi LogoThe new hospital, with nearly quadruple the number of beds as before, is more of an academic center rather than a tertiary hospital so the need for strong management is great. Because the education UAB provided was so strong, there will be continued collaboration in training between the two entities.

“The UAB EMSHA program is one of our most promising programs aimed at qualifying leaders of a specialized national staff to work within hospitals and medical centers on our home ground,” said Dr. Khalid M. Al Shaibani, Chief Executive Officer, King Fahad Specialist Hospital-Dammam. “We are so proud for the graduation of this elite class of executive leaders in the field of health management.”

“Those of us at UAB have learned much from you in this process and for that we are truly grateful,” said Jones in closing. “It is my sincere honor to welcome you to the family of more than 125,000 UAB alumni around the world.”

The UAB Master of Science in Health Administration program, ranked 5th nationally by U.S. News & World Report, has trained healthcare executives for nearly 50 years. One of its first international efforts was clinical laboratory education in Saudi Arabia almost 20 years ago.