Something New Has Been Added

My monthly column generally promotes the perspective of “good” communication, but also the study of business communication at the University of St. Thomas.

Even a soft-sell narrative stream can afford to make a harder sell pitch now and again, and this is the month for me.

Over the past few months, we have been developing the Master of Science in Health Care Communication in the Opus College of Business at the University of St. Thomas, a 30-credit, cohort program launching in fall 2015. The experience will combine on-campus classes with online learning to help busy part-time students earn a graduate business degree in one year.

I have long known that breaking into the health care space can be especially difficult for communication practitioners. After a lengthy focus group with communication professionals in the trenches at a major device manufacturer, a tentative structure for a degree that would significantly lower that hurdle emerged.

At that point it became my mission to test the concept with health care and communication experts – including providers, insurers, device, pharma and communication firms with health care practices.

After dozens of conversations with communication leaders at the director level or higher, a number of things became clear. A degree of the type being suggested was attractive to these managers as a definitive means of overcoming a lack of health care experience among prospective employees. Because the content represents an umbrella of industry and practical knowledge (such as anatomy and physiology), it delivers value across all health care oriented firms. And, at a time of need for disruptive innovation in the health care space, no one needs to be better prepared than the communication team to understand the grander scheme of policy, trends and culture of the evolving industry.

By leveraging the years of experience in delivering the Health Care MBA, St. Thomas will be offering the industry a new standard in expectations regarding professional communication knowledge and expertise. Combine this with the high standard of communication for which this market is already known in general, and we have the makings of great opportunities in advancing the quality and impact communication people bring to this important industry.

I encourage you to visit our website to learn more, or forward to others you know with an interest in this space.

Dr. Michael C. Porter, APR is also director of the Master of Business Communication Program.