The facts speak for themselves. Baby boomers are retiring at the rate of about 10,000 per day, which makes healthcare a smart career choice for today’s graduates. Back in 2018, Derek Thompson, staff writer for The Atlantic, reported that “growth in healthcare employment is stemming more from administrative jobs rather than physician jobs.”
This fact is not lost on the powers that be at FGCU. Thanks to a collaboration between Ann Cary, dean of the Marieb College of Health & Human Services; and Christopher Westley, dean of the Lutgert College of Business, FGCU’s Master of Science degree is undergoing a refresh with the future of the healthcare industry in mind.
Both educators are relatively new in their positions as FGCU deans. “The wonderful thing about newness,” Cary said, “is you come in with new eyes, see things with new partners. It’s very exciting to join a younger institution.”
While it is sometimes difficult for individual colleges to identify areas in which to collaborate, health and business make perfect sense, and the two are committed to finding ways to best prepare FGCU students for future employment in the growing industry.
Prior to assuming the role of interim dean in April 2019 (and the permanent position in January), Westley was director of FGCU’s Regional Economic Research Institute. This gave him a unique overview of the employment landscape. “A recent national study predicts that by 2028, upwards of two million jobs will be in the healthcare industry,” he said. “We must assume that in markets like Southwest Florida, with our demographics, many jobs will come our way. We have to prepare for that eventuality.”
Cary is immersed in the needs of the healthcare industry. “There’s not only data to support the gap in today’s healthcare industry, but we’re hearing the same thing out in the field.”
“The advantage we have in creating this degree,” Westley said, “is FGCU’s connections in the healthcare industry. Educational resources are limited, and we want to use them to maximize the benefit we bring to the public.”
Currently, Marieb College offers a Master of Science in Health Services. Step one on the journey to develop a Master of Health Administration is curriculum adjustments to this existing degree program. “
We are adding three courses from the College of Business,” said Cary, “with the remaining courses stemming from Marieb’s healthcare curriculum.”
The joint planning between the two disciplines – business and health – offers a unique opportunity to craft a program that will be most beneficial to FGCU’s students now and in the future. “The strength in both schools will take us someplace we’re not even thinking about today,” Westley said. Quite simply, Cary said, “We are creating our future together.”