LAKEWOOD RANCH -- Bradenton resident Tim Novak wants Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine to be at the top of an applicant's list when applying to master's degree in health-services administration programs.
"We want to create that center of excellence for them," said Novak, the program's director as of August. "We want to continue to market and let people know what we have here. The idea is that this should be a competitive program. We should have a waiting list."
The first class of the masters in health-services admin
istration started in January and there are currently 26 people enrolled in the program, Novak said, adding that he anticipates about 30 more students will enroll in January.
"We are looking to commercialize and create a program here that is sought-after and really becoming a center of excellence," he said.
Novak, who most recently was a marketing/small business consultant at the University of South Florida's School of Business, has also worked in hospital administration, private medical practices and as president of two publicly traded bio-tech firms. Novak called his previous experience critically important for moving the program into its second year and beyond.
"It is critical to being able to put the program together so that students are ready," he said. "We are looking to not only confer credentials. We (also) want the students to come through this program and be ready to be industry leaders in health care, which we desperately need as we have an aging population."
While Novak was appointed the program's second director in August, he has been a part of the program since the very beginning as an adjunct instructor to the program's first cohort, which he said, too, will be beneficial in moving forward.
"I got to see it and I got to develop the curriculum for the initial courses and work with the platform," he said. "It allows me to be able to understand the perspective of the adjunct instructors."
Since the program is still in its infancy and the health-care industry rapidly changes, Novak said there are always areas that they are looking to improve upon, including working on instructional design, retaining the best instructors and improving faculty development.
"We want the most innovative, the most dynamic, impactful ways of delivering the curriculum," he said. "And that technology changes every day."
The program is almost entirely online -- with the exception of four days at the start of the program and four days at the end when the student has to be in Bradenton -- which allows students from all across the country to enroll.
"With this new cohort, we are seeing more local (students)," he said. "The word is starting to get out locally. We really feel that as the program evolves over half of our students will come from a 50-mile radius from where we are at. ... We want to be a resource for the local community to develop our health-care professionals right here in our backyard."
Claire Aronson, University Parkway/Sarasota reporter, can be reached at 941-745-7024. Follow her on Twitter @Claire_Aronson.