Mission, WCU collaborating on certificate program

Mission Health and Western Carolina University are partnering to offer a new graduate certificate program in health care innovation management to employees of the Asheville-based health care provider.

Funded by Mission Health and offered on its campus in Asheville, the program will consist of four courses that employees will take over a span of 21 months. Enrollment will be open twice a year, with the first students set to begin the program next month, and it will be offered until all interested employees have completed certification. Those who complete the program will earn credit toward bachelor’s and master’s degrees.

The program is a component of Mission Health’s budding Center for Innovation, which was established to foster a spirit of advancement in health care throughout Western North Carolina.

“We are pleased to join forces with Western Carolina University in offering this certificate program to our valued team of care providers,” said Marc B. Westle, senior vice president of innovation for Mission Health. “The program truly creates a model that encourages all members of our team to influence change in the way we provide high-quality, patient-centered health care throughout the region.”

WCU faculty members developed the program curriculum with input from Mission Health leadership, who will be teaching a number of courses.

“As an educational force in Western North Carolina, we have a vested interest in contributing our time and resources to provide quality education and leadership in our community,” said Zahed Subhan, director of WCU’s Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation. “We look forward to working with Mission Health to achieve our collective goal of enriching the lives of those in the communities we serve.”

The program will combine entrepreneurial and innovation content with health care-specific modules. Courses will focus on the skills of thinking creatively to implement new opportunities of value in the workplace, working effectively within a multidisciplinary team and leading through a culture of innovation.

“Our collaboration with WCU is just one of the ways we are building and leading a culture of innovation at Mission Health,” Dr. Westle said. “Mission Health’s Center for Innovation encourages stakeholders to become thought leaders to change our mindset and our culture so that we all play an active role in fueling innovation and growth.”

Mission Health is the state’s sixth-largest health system and includes Mission Hospital in Asheville, Angel Medical Center in Franklin, Blue Ridge Regional Hospital in Spruce Pine, McDowell Hospital in Marion and Transylvania Regional Hospital in Brevard. It also consists of numerous outpatient and surgery centers, and the region’s only dedicated Level II trauma center.