The UAB School of Health Professions had seven undergraduate students - all in the B.S. in Biomedical Sciences program - earn honors at the 2019 UAB EXPO. Every semester the EXPO celebrates excellence in research, creative activity and scholarship by showcasing the academic endeavors of undergraduate students in nine categories for oral and poster presentations.

When students in the top-ranked health administration program in the United States look to apply their training in the real world, they don’t have to go far. One of the nation’s top academic medical centers is just across the street.

Jessica H. Williams, Ph.D., a researcher and associate professor in the UAB School of Health Professions’ Department of Health Services Administration, has been named the department’s Director of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion.

The Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Management Education (CAHME) approved certification of the University of Alabama at Birmingham Graduate Program in Healthcare Quality & Safety. The UAB HQS program, housed in the School of Health Professions, is one of only four programs nationally to earn the initial certification.

“CAHME certification demonstrates our program’s commitment to excellence in educating healthcare quality and safety professionals,” said Allyson Hall, Ph.D., director of UAB’s HQS program and professor in Health Services Administration.

The certification of UAB HQS and the other three programs, represents an important milestone in an almost three-year process. In 2016, David Nash, MD, MBA, founding dean of the Jefferson College of Population Health approached CAHME about the idea of offering certification—and ultimately accreditation—for healthcare quality and safety education. Nash then joined with Christy Harris Lemak, Ph.D., chair of the UAB Department of Health Services Administration to accelerate the process.

CAHME CertifiedA 2017 summit with 20 attendees, plus a survey of programs, demonstrated strong interest that led to a task force of academics from Healthcare Quality & Safety programs across North America designated as Founding Members. Of those 10 programs, only four applied for and passed the initial certification vote.

“We recognized the need for national standards, a defined set of competencies, and a collaborative effort to lead this emerging and important new part of the health care field,” said Lemak who also teaches and conducts research in the areas of health care management and leadership development. “Being a part of this initial group of programs is what UAB is all about – leading for better care for patients and communities around the world.”

For programs to earn certification, they must follow the Board approved standards and pass an independent application review by leading academics, practitioners in quality and safety, CAHME Board members, and staff from the National Association for Healthcare Quality.

CAHME is the only organization recognized by the Council on Higher Education Accreditation to grant accreditation to individual academic programs offering a professional master’s degree in healthcare management education.

“CAHME certification and (eventual) accreditation of HQS instruction broadens our ability to fulfill our mission of improving the quality of healthcare management education, both in North America and globally,” said Anthony Stanowski, DHA, FACHE, president and CEO of CAHME. “We are grateful to the many academic and industry leaders who have worked so hard to achieve this important milestone.”