American Sentinel University MBA Healthcare Program Puts Military Doctor on Path to Become Healthcare Administrator

– MBA Healthcare Helps Physicians Gain a Deeper, More Comprehensive Understanding of Healthcare Industry –

AURORA, Colo. – June 16, 2015 – The demand for healthcare management professionals is on the rise as more healthcare organizations prioritize managing costs and keeping up with legislation changes. In response to these growing needs, American Sentinel University designed one of the industry’s first online MBA Healthcare degree programs to develop capable strategic healthcare leaders ready to assume management roles and lead the healthcare revolution.

“Physicians are smart, capable professionals with strong clinical backgrounds and knowledge that is useful on the operating table or in the exam room, but this knowledge doesn’t translate well to the boardroom for those who aspire to be on the administrative side of healthcare,” says Blair Smith, Ph.D., dean, informatics-management-technology (IMT) at American Sentinel University.

So when John Podraza, a medical school graduate under the U.S. Armed Forces Health Professions Scholarship Program completed his residency and a fellowship in neonatal-perinatal medicine at the National Naval Medical Center in Bethesda, Md., decided he wanted to become the CEO of a major healthcare system, he knew an MBA Healthcare was the key.

“In the military, I noticed that a lot of the service chiefs and executive officers didn’t have much business training. Many worked their way up through the chain of command. For me, I started thinking early in my career about the importance of pursuing more training than just on-the-job training,” says Dr. Podraza.

Management Skills Key for Healthcare Administrators
An MBA Healthcare is ideal for physicians, like Dr. Podraza, who aspire to become future leaders in healthcare to ensure that a medical institution is run properly and profitably, while continuing to focus on improved patient outcomes.

“The MBA Healthcare graduate will be able to understand and apply the current business principles and technologies to the business of running healthcare organizations,” says Dr. Smith. “This approach is much different from the viewpoint that everything begins with bedside and clinical knowledge and applies the business foundation principles in managing healthcare with a more holistic view toward all parts of the organization.”

He points out that it’s rare physicians have any business, operational or economic backgrounds. “Yet, in the changing landscape of healthcare, if they are running their practice or hospital, they’re confronted with making decisions that are best informed by having fundamental business skills.”

Finding the Right MBA Program

The time commitment is the single, biggest challenge physicians face when deciding to pursue their MBA. Dr. Podraza says an online program that offers a healthcare focus was key to integrating into his fast-paced work schedule.

“I knew that as a busy physician who works 80 hours a week that I could never get an MBA in person. I spent a lot of time researching healthcare-focused master’s programs and discovered that American Sentinel was the only MBA Healthcare out there.”

American Sentinel’s support of military students was a bonus.

“They accepted TA benefits and offered discounted tuition and book scholarships, so it was a total win, and I knew it was the school for me.”

Making it All Work
Dr. Podraza is an attending staff of pediatrics and neonatology at the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center where he did his fellowship. He also works several nights a month at Johns Hopkins Hospital as an associate staff. The 14-hour work days are not unusual for his work schedule, but he still manages to make earning his MBA a priority.

“I try to stay very organized and my work schedule means I do a lot of schoolwork at night and on the weekends. But American Sentinel’s setup worked for me because it is 100 percent self-paced. You set your schedule, and I couldn’t have made this work without that flexibility.”

New Business Skills to Reach Career Goal
As a doctor, he says his business coursework has been challenging for him, but worthwhile. “The program pushed me a lot,” he says. “I appreciate the texts and the way they raise business management problems and others issues that I might confront in the future.”

His professors, too, have exceeded his expectations. “All of them have been very good and are impressive individuals. It’s great to read their bios and see that I’m learning from people who have run businesses and earned Ph.D.s.”

After a long road filled with multiple deployments, Dr. Podraza completed his MBA Healthcare in November 2014 and now plans to achieve his long-term goal of becoming the CEO of a major healthcare system.

“In the U.S., many hospital administrators do not have a business education, and we see more and more that major systems are being run by MBAs without medical experience,” he says. “I believe strongly that the best person for the job, however, is a nurse or a doctor who brings ground-level insight. That whole picture perspective is so important, and it’s what motivated me to get my MBA Healthcare.”

Learn More About Online MBA Healthcare
The MBA Healthcare was designed for current and future healthcare professionals – from the healthcare administrator to the vice president of operations – seeking to lead in a rapidly growing and changing industry. Learn more about American Sentinel’s online MBA Healthcare programs at

About American Sentinel University
American Sentinel University delivers accredited online degree programs in nursing, informatics, MBA HealthCare, DNP Executive Leadership and DNP Educational Leadership. Its affordable, flexible bachelor’s and master’s nursing degree programs are accredited by the Commission for the Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE), of One Dupont Circle, NW Suite 530, Washington, D.C., 20036. The DNP program is accredited by the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN) of 3343 Peachtree Road NE, Suite 850, Atlanta, Ga., 30326. The university is accredited by the. American Sentinel University is accredited by the Distance Education Accrediting Commission, DEAC (Formerly Distance Education and Training Council-DETC), 1601 18th Street N.W., Suite 2, Washington D.C. 20009, (202) 234-5100,

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