Dec 15, 2018  
2017-2018 University Catalog 
2017-2018 University Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Health Systems Management, Full-Time, MS

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The health systems management master’s program, which started in 1979, educates students for highly successful careers in the rapidly growing field of health care management. Graduates become hospital and health systems administrators and health care consultants, manage physician practices, work in international health care development, and manage professional associations. The hallmark of the program is its practitioner-teacher model, where graduate students learn from practitioners and practice what they learn . The program has an outstanding faculty to student ratio, which provides many opportunities for mentoring and professional growth. The program, which is ranked by U .S . News and World Report among the elite top five in the nation and accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Management Education (CAHME), links practitio­ner-focused course work with real-world management experi­ence. Students study a comprehensive health management curriculum taught by experienced educators who are also top health care administrators.


Our mission is to prepare individuals for leadership roles in the field of health care management. Our practitioner-teacher model integrates lifelong learning, scholarship and service to ensure our diverse students, faculty and alumni are leaders in trans­forming health care.

Our curriculum is designed to provide the knowledge, skills, abilities and values required to succeed in the field of health care management. An emphasis on competency and profes­sional skills development - and an orientation toward lifelong learning - ensures that new graduates are well prepared for early careerist positions and that our alumni hold positions of increasing responsibility during their careers.

Our practitioner-teacher model provides leadership development opportunities for the faculty, ensuring that they stay abreast of the most recent conceptual frameworks and best practices in the field. Their roles as practitioner faculty provide them with opportunities to teach and mentor the next generation of health care leaders.


We will be recognized as the premier graduate health care man­agement program for developing leaders to transform health care.

Our practitioner-teacher model will be recognized as an ideal way to educate and train health administration graduate students. Through participation in the program’s practitioner-teacher model, our faculty will be known for innovation and excellence in health care management practice, education and scholarship. 


Our program embraces the values of Rush University Medical Center, Rush University and the College of Health Sciences. These values include: innovation, collaboration, accountability, respect, excellence, diversity, inclusion and accommodation.

Health Systems Management: Admission Requirements

Each applicant must have a bachelor’s degree from an accred­ited college or university or anticipate completion of that degree prior to the start of the HSM degree program . The two prerequisite courses, which consist of an undergraduate course in accounting and an undergraduate course in statistics, also must be completed prior to enrollment. An undergraduate course in microeconomics is highly recommended. An applicant fills out an online application, a personal statement, provides three letters of recommendation and submits official cop­ies of their college or university transcripts from every college or university previously attended. In addition, each applicant needs to submit scores from either the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) or the Graduate Management Aptitude Test (GMAT) . Applications are submitted through the Healthcare Administration, Management and Policy Centralized Application Service (HAMPCAS).  An international student also must submit a credentialing evaluation of his or her international educa­tion, as well as the results from the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL).

Each qualified applicant is invited to Rush for an admissions visit. The visit typically includes four faculty interviews, lunch with a current student and an appointment with the Office of Student Financial Aid.

Health Systems Management Technical Standards

Rush University is committed to diversity and to attracting and educating students who will make the population of health care professionals representative of the national population.

Our core values - ICARE - Innovation, Collaboration, Accountability, Respect and Excellence translate into our work with all students, including those with disabilities. Rush actively collaborates with students to develop innovative ways to ensure accessibility and creates a respectful accountable culture through our confidential and specialized disability support. Rush is committed to excellence in accessibility; we encourage students with disabilities to disclose and seek accommodations.

The following technical functions are required of all students enrolled in the Health Systems Management program:

Acquire information

  • Acquire information from demonstrations and experiences in courses such as lecture, group, and physical demonstrations.
  • Acquire information from written documents and computer systems (e.g., literature searches & data retrieval).
  • Identify information presented in accessible images from paper, slides, videos with audio description, and transparencies.

Use and Interpret

  • Use and interpret information from assessment techniques/maneuvers/procedures. Use and interpret information generated from diagnostic tools.


  • Possess psychomotor skills necessary to perform or assist with day-to-day responsibilities commensurate with the student’s discipline.
  • Practice in a safe manner and perform universal precautions against contamination.


  • Communicate effectively and sensitively with patients and families.
  • Communicate effectively with faculty, preceptors, employees, other professionals and all members of the healthcare team during practicum, internship and/or other learning experiences.

Intellectual ability

  • Measure, calculate, reason, analyze, and synthesize data related to diagnosis and treatment of patients and populations.
  • Exercise proper judgment and complete responsibilities in a timely and accurate manner according to the Health Systems Management role.
  • Synthesize information, problem solve, and think critically to judge the most appropriate theory, assessment, management or treatment strategy.


  • Maintain mature, sensitive, effective relationships with clients/patients, families, students, faculty, staff, preceptors and other professionals under all circumstances.
  • Exercise skills of diplomacy to advocate for patients in need.
  • Possess emotional stability to function under stress and adapt to rapidly changing environments inherent to the classroom and practice settings.


  • Demonstrate concern for others.
  • Integrity, accountability, interest, and motivation are necessary personal qualities.
  • Demonstrate intent and desire to follow the Rush University and Health Systems Management Code of Ethics.

The technical standards delineated above must be met with or without accommodation. Students who, after review of the technical standards, determine that they require reasonable accommodation to fully engage in the program, should contact the Office of Student Disability Services to confidentially discuss their accommodations needs. Given the clinical nature of our programs, time may be needed to create and implement the accommodations. Accommodations are never retroactive; therefore, timely requests are essential and encouraged. To learn more about accommodations at Rush University please contact:

Marie Ferro-Lusk, MBA, MSW, LSW
Manager, Office of Student Disability Services
Rush University
600 S. Paulina St. AAC 440
Chicago, IL 60612     
(312) 942-5237

Health Systems Management: Academic Policies


While the program is primarily designed for full-time study, students can enroll in the program either on a full- or part-time basis. Full-time students typically attend the program for six quarters over two academic years, with a summer break . Part-time students typically take two courses per quarter . The pro­gram must be completed within  five years unless the student is granted a waiver by program officials.

Academic Progress

All students in the Department of Health Systems Management must achieve a grade point average of 3.0 (A = 4.0) each quarter to maintain satisfactory academic status. A student is placed on academic probation when his or her grades fall below a quarterly or cumulative GPA average of 3.0 or when a student receives a grade of “F” in any course. A student on academic probation remains on probation until he or she has met the requirements established by the program for removal from academic probation.

Academic Advising

All students are assigned an academic advisor from among the core faculty during orientation week. By the end of the first semester, students are also assigned a career advisor from among Rush practitioner-teacher faculty.

College of Health Sciences/Rush University Academic Policies

Academic policies specific to the College of Health Sciences are located earlier in this catalog. In addition, the Academic Resources and Policies section of this catalog contains Rush University academic policies.

Health Systems Management: Graduation Requirements

To be eligible to graduate, a student must successfully complete all the Department of Health Systems Management’s academic requirements, which include earning a minimum of 87 quarter hours of credit and achieving a minimum cumulative grade point average of 3.0.

In addition, students must complete a minimum of 440 hours of work in a health care management internship. Most students will complete this by working in a part-time student job during the academic program and registering for HSM-550A, B and C.

Students need to have at least 16 documented contact hours of professional or community service.

Health Systems Management: Faculty Work/Service Activities

Members of the faculty of the Department of Health Systems Management are actively involved in the operation of Rush University Medical Center as hospital administrators and health care planners, university administrators, financial managers, clinicians, attorneys, researchers, and information services man­agers. They serve as consultants to hospitals, planning bodies and other organizations.

Faculty members hold leadership positions, participate in seminars and engage in other professional activities sponsored by the American College of Healthcare Executives, the American Hospital Association, the Chicago Health Executives Forum, the Healthcare Financial Management Association, the Association of University Programs in Health Administration, the Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Management Education, the Healthcare Information Management Systems Society and the Illinois Hospital and Health Systems Association.

Health Systems Management: Career Services

Health systems management students receive ongoing career mentoring, counseling and related services throughout their aca­demic career. During the first academic year, full-time students are placed in part-time jobs throughout Rush University Medical Center. The job sites include Perioperative Services, Nursing Administration Revenue Management, Human Resources, Finance, Medical Affairs, Enterprise Resource Planning, Capital Projects, Long Term Care, Quality and Accreditation, Women and Children’s Services, Patient Relations, Emergency Management, Rush Health, Emergency Department, Health and Aging, Strategic Outreach, and Rush University Medical Group . The jobs provide practical experience, reinforce the course work, produce a more dynamic classroom experience and offer students a multifaceted perspective on the field of health care manage­ment. The student’s manager also functions as a preceptor for the work experience.

Program faculty and staff provide assistance identifying oppor­tunities for summer internships and part-time work during the second academic year and counseling or assistance to secure postgraduate fellowships or jobs.

While students receive individualized input regarding their career goals, the program’s Professional Seminar series provides systematic training, guidance and feedback in professional skills development and career planning.

Health Systems Management: Rush Center for the Advancement of Healthcare Value

The vision of the Rush Center for the Advancement of Healthcare Value is to be recognized globally as an innovator in conducting research that prepares leaders for the future of health care.

Our center is housed within the Department of Health Systems Management at Rush University.

Our center’s work is grounded in interdisciplinary research and focuses on translating research into practice and uses practice as a foundation for research. Our research is differentiated by the following:

•  Academically based center with close ties to the practice community

•  Strong focus on leadership development in health care research and practice

•  Pursuit of objective knowledge

•  Experts in advanced analytic methods

•  Proficiency in large multisource database analyses

Our research focuses on evaluating ways to improve the value of care provided by health care organizations. This work addresses important challenges that relate to the following:

Organizational excellence and leadership

The OEL program focuses on improving health care value by understanding the critical roles of leadership, governance, lead­ership development and other high-performance work practices to organizational outcomes, such as patient experience and financial performance.

The patient experience

Rush University Medical Center has a long history of provid­ing and researching best practices in patient care . The Patient Experience Research Initiative, within the health systems man­agement program, works to further develop the understanding of the patient experience and promote scholarship to provide empirically-based knowledge on the experience of patients.

Health care value, quality and safety

The health care value, quality and safety program focuses on the following topics:

•  Lean operations

•  Throughput improvements

•  Education in variation and standardization

•  Just culture

•  Informed decision-making and problem-solving

•  Change management

•  Sustainability strategies in health care organizations

Population health

Population health research focuses on identifying the patterns of health determinants and their relationships with health out­comes among populations. The design is to implement evidence-based practice or interventions at an individual or societal level to reduce health disparities among vulnerable populations, such as racial and ethnic minorities, the uninsured, low-income children and women, and the elderly.

International health

The department’s international health care research program focuses on improving value by strengthening the evidence base for improving the value of health care through global exchange. Our research includes macro- and micro-level drivers of health care exports and international medical travel.

Workforce of the future

Our research on the workforce of the future focuses on improv­ing health care value by strengthening the pipeline of talented professionals into critical health care positions, with a special emphasis on understanding and addressing the challenges faced by early careerists from disadvantaged and underrepre­sented groups.


Interprofessionalism in health care delivery and health care education is becoming increasingly recognized as a cornerstone of improved service delivery. Research in this area focuses on the differential outcomes associated with a coordinated, team-based approach to service delivery.

For more information about our center, contact Tricia Johnson, PhD, Associate Chair of Research and Education, professor and director, at (312) 942-7107 or    

Health Systems Management: Curriculum

The curriculum is designed to instruct students in the current theory and practice of health services management, including the study of organizational behavior, quantitative and analytical techniques, planning, finance, and human resources manage­ment. The curriculum structure gives students the opportunity to apply managerial principles in real-world learning environments and to design and conduct applied health services research projects.

The curriculum content focuses on the following core content areas: professional development, operations and information systems, human resources and organizational design, health care business, finance, analytics, and emerging content.

HSM Full-Time Program of Study

(Students Entering Fall 2017)

Hours Required for MS Degree: 58

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