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The Graduate Certificate in Improving Healthcare Value is an inter-disciplinary program led by faculty members from the College of Public Health, the College of Business and Economics, and the College of Engineering. This certificate creates educational opportunities for UK graduate students in a range of disciplines, UK HealthCare staff, and other healthcare workers to enhance their knowledge and skills related to improving the value (quality and cost) of health care services provided by hospitals, health systems, and academic medical centers.

Completing the 15 semester credit hour curriculum will provide:

  1. Instruction in one of two elective tracks
    • Finance and Business
    • Quality and Safety Improvement
  2. Formal certification in improving healthcare value by the University of Kentucky
  3. Substantial credit toward meeting the requirements for a MBA, MHA, or MPH degree.

"The Graduate Certificate in Improving Healthcare Value gave me the opportunity to tailor my education in healthcare administration to my specific interests. I chose to pursue the Quality & Safety Improvement Track, which prepared me well for my current position in healthcare financial operations. While taking "Leading Change with Healthcare Teams," our groups were tasked with applying class material to an actual project at a local hospital. Knowledge gained from that experience has proved to be extremely beneficial to me today as I work to improve the efficiency of multiple financial processes in my organization."

Application Process

Students already enrolled in a graduate degree program may apply at any time. For those not currently enrolled please follow the Graduate School deadlines and all application materials must be received at least one month before the semester you plan to begin your coursework.

Pre-approved Certificate courses already completed may count toward the curriculum requirements (This does not include practicum or research projects.) Requests to include these courses are made on the application. No more than six hours previously completed at UK can be counted toward the Certificate.

Students must apply to the UK Graduate School. Graduate School application deadlines and forms may be obtained through their website at:

Official transcripts:

Official transcripts are required for undergraduate and graduate work from universities other than the University of Kentucky. A GPA of 3.0 is required for admission.

Other requirements:

Personal statement

  • Describe any work experience relevant to value in health care.
  • Briefly describe (a) your reason(s) for interest in the Graduate Certificate in Improving Health Care Value, (b) your career goals in relation to the subject and (c) the specific value in health care topic in which you are most interested and why.


The Graduate Certificate in Improving Healthcare Value requires five courses (total of 15 semester credit hours). CPH 600 is required for both tracks.

CPH 600 - Health Services and Systems Organization

An introduction to the health care delivery system in the United States, including its composition, functioning, the interrelationships of organizations and professional groups within the system in various settings, health care terminology, and major problems and issues in the delivery of health services.

Courses by Track

Finance and Business

For students who elect the track in finance and business, four additional courses are required. These four courses and their prerequisites are:

ACC 628 - Financial/Managerial Accounting OR CPH 655 - Management Accounting

ACC 628 - A study of the application of accounting information and services in the recognition or solution of management problems in business. Prereq: ACC 201, or ACC 221 and 222 or its equivalent, and MA 123 or its equivalent.

CPH 655 - This course introduces the use of management accounting techniques for decision making in healthcare organizations. Lectures, problems and cases will be used to focus on various types of healthcare organizations.

ECO 610 - Managerial Economics OR CPH 658 - Health Economics

ECO 610 - Analysis of applications of economic theory to management decision making. Such problems as demand and cost determination, pricing, and capital budgeting are treated. Prereq: MA 123 or its equivalent.

CPH 658 - Health policies and market forces impact the U.S. health care system in terms of access, cost, and quality. This course provides the perspective that economic reasoning is a valuable critical thinking approach to social science inquiry and demonstrates how this perspective helps students understand health care policy and market issues.

FIN 600 - Corporate Financial Policy OR CPH 652 - Health Finance

FIN 600 - A study of financial management from the viewpoint of the corporate financial officer. Areas studied include capital budgeting, capital structure, financing decisions, working capital management, dividend policy, and mergers and acquisitions. Prereq: ECO 610 and ACC 628

CPH 652 - This course provides students an understanding of key principles of financial management as they are applied in healthcare organizations. Knowledge of key elements of strategic financial planning and their application in developing organizational plans and programs will be enhanced through the case study method.

MKT 600 - Marketing Management OR CPH 780 - Strategic Planning & Marketing

MKT 600 - This course is designed to provide students with an understanding of: the role of marketing function in an organization; the types of marketing decisions and analytical procedures involved in making each decision; the overall marketing planning process; and, the impact of the social, economic, and legal environment on marketing decisions. Prereq: ECO 610, ACC 628, MGT 611, and MGT 650.

CPH 780 - This course focuses on the future needs of health care organizations as contrasted with day-to-day operations management. Strategies for the design and implementation of organizational change will be addressed. The strategic planning components of environmental analyses, directional strategy, gap analysis, strategic options, goals and objectives, and performance monitoring form the basis of the course. Current trends in health care delivery and financing, marketing and performance measurements are illustrated through case analysis.

In addition, CPH 755, “Leading Change with Healthcare Teams,” is highly recommended as an elective course for students in the finance and business track.

Quality and Safety Improvement

For students who elect the track in quality and safety improvement, two additional courses will be required. They are:

Required Courses

CPH 755 - Leading Change with Healthcare Teams

This three credit hour course will focus on skill development in using teamwork to achieve leadership goals in health care delivery; identification of key features of successful teams and factors that lead to team failures; and identification of specific behaviors and communications that enhance effective team interaction.

The requirements of CPH 755 include student participation in team projects conducted at UK Healthcare and, possibly, at other healthcare organizations.

In addition, while not a certificate program requirement; students in all three tracks are strongly encouraged to complete College of Engineering’s non-credit Lean Systems Certification Program, an intensive one week instructional program offered by the College of Engineering several times per year. This experience would enhance their knowledge and skills and enrich their education. For students in the Finance and Business track, a non-credit, 36 contact-hour Lean Six Sigma instructional program is provided by the Gatton College of Business and Economics.

MFS 526 - Operations Management in Lean Manufacturing

This course employs a mixture of in-class presentations, hands-on activities, and selected outside assignments to teach and demonstrate the development of a lean operations environment and the management system to support it. Working in teams, students apply fundamental lean tools and concepts to develop a lean operations environment in a simulated factory. As the operational environment evolves, key management principles and tools are explored using the teachings of Taiichi Ohno and other considered to be the pillars of the Toyota Production System.

Elective Courses

In addition, students in the Quality and Safety track complete two (2) courses from the following list of electives or another course(s) approved as a substitute by the Certificate Director. Other courses in the College of Business and Economics, the College of Public Health, and the College of Engineering may be available as electives. Electives will be reviewed periodically as necessary by the Certificate Director in consultation with the Certificate Leadership Committee and the faculty of record. All newly approved electives will be at the 600-level or higher.

CPH 683 - Health Care Operations Management

This course addresses the basics of operations improvement from project selection through process and outcomes evaluation. The focus is on strategic decision making under conditions of uncertainty, risk and multiple objectives, and change implementation using teams.

CPH 758 - Special Topics in Health Management and Policy

A special section of this course will teach students how to conceptualize, design, and plan consumer- and patient-oriented research studies, both from a population and clinical perspective. Students will learn how to formulate research ideas, select appropriate study design, and identify valid and reliable measures of health-related quality of life and consumer assessment of care.

CPH 782 - Information Systems in Healthcare

This course provides a managerial level perspective on the use of information and information systems (IS) in healthcare. The course will review basic information on IS technology, terminology, and data management. In this course, students will apply a lifecycle approach to information systems development including systems analysis, design, development, implementation, and evaluation. Outside speakers will provide additional insights on current and evolving information system applications and information technology within healthcare. Decision analysis, strategic planning, and organization theory will be integrated and applied in course projects to address client-centric information system needs in health organizations (i.e., finance, administration, clinical applications, strategic planning, and performance management). Legal, governance, and ethical issues regarding health information will be addressed.

CPH 783 - Applications in Healthcare Finance and Operations

An analysis of the healthcare industry's financial framework and operational issues applying insights from earlier coursework in realistic scenarios.

Program Director

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Dr. Martha C. Riddell

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