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Neel Pathak, MHA, FACHE

Creating a Healthcare Management Degree Program

As the associate program director for the Executive MBA in Healthcare Management, Neel Pathak has played a crucial role in designing the program’s curriculum, structure and student experience since the early stages of development. Now, he is primarily responsible for teaching and building content that will help the program grow.

Pathak never intended to go into education. He’s clinically trained as a Physical Therapist. But, his experience provided a perfect foundation for this role. After earning his Masters in Healthcare Administration from the University of Scranton, a sister Jesuit institution, Pathak served in progressive leadership roles at the American Hospital Association, the Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Management Education (CAHME), and Johns Hopkins Hospital. He is also a Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award Examiner.

At the core of the EMBA program is a robust and rigorous academic curriculum that is founded on a carefully selected competency model.

“[Director of Healthcare Leadership, Laurie Baedke, and I] looked at multiple competency models and decided on the Healthcare Leadership Alliance model, a consortium of the nation’s premier professional healthcare administration associations, including the American College of Healthcare Executives, the American Association of Physician Leaders, and the American Organization of Nurse Executives, among others,” Pathak says. “This step roots our program’s curriculum in competency-based learning and simultaneously prepares our learners for the prestigious certification processes represented within these associations.”

What Makes this Master’s Degree in Healthcare Management Special?

The program has a cohort-based structure that allows for a free exchange of ideas and experiences, resulting in a rich, peer-to-peer learning environment. It’s one of Pathak’s favorite parts of the program, since students learn not only from faculty, but also from each other. The course also caters to its busy student demographic, all full-time professionals, with a flexible hybrid structure, blending the best of both in-person and online interactions.

“This is really my first teaching engagement at this level, and I’ve thoroughly loved it. To me, teaching is a natural fit. I’ve gained a lot from the students as well while teaching them,” he says. “It’s really a two-way street. The students get pride putting that passion into their program. They really want to be here.”

EMBA Program Content

When building content for the program, Pathak looks to improve the experience for both students and faculty members. As a Baldridge examiner, he’s focused on quality improvement and is consistently working to refine and elevate the EMBA experience at Creighton.

“We have to make sure the students who have come into the Executive MBA program get value from the experience,” he says. “So how can we build and improve those processes? How can we continually improve the program?”

Pathak was integral in leading the program to its recent successful attainment of accreditation by the Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Management Education (CAHME). This elective accreditation is only given to prestigious and selective healthcare administration programs based on strict professional guidelines. Creighton is the first university in Nebraska to receive CAHME accreditation and is one of a handful of schools nationally to secure dual CAHME and AACSB (Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business) accreditation. 

Additionally, Pathak is working to make the program more diverse, an element that he already considers to be a strong suit given the EMBA program brings in content experts from the field across the country to serve as faculty. Pathak hopes for this trend to continue into the future, and that future cohorts will continue to diversify in respect to both region and background.

“The vision for our program is to make sure that we make this the preeminent Healthcare EMBA program across the country,” remarked Pathak.

Learn more about the Executive MBA in Healthcare Management program.