Come this fall, The Ohio State University will launch a first-of-its-kind program to train the next generation of health care environmental services leaders. With the help of the Association for the Healthcare Environment (AHE), part of the American Hospital Association, the university’s College of Education and Human Ecology will offer an academic certificate specifically for those studying health care environmental services within the hospitality management program.
“The collaborative venture with a major university will benefit both health care and hospitality professionals,” says Patti Costello, executive director of AHE. “Early participants will gain a competitive edge by choosing highly trained graduates who understand how to ensure health and wellness in both the health care environmental services and hospitality fields.”
The program will be open to undergraduate students this fall and expand to include existing health care professionals. Milos Bujisic, assistant professor of hospitality management, is designing the courses to help current and potential professionals expand their management and leadership skills. The course will include a discussion of the business of health care and analysis of its critical areas and challenges in relation to hospitality. The aim is to help students develop the required critical-thinking skills that can be applied to environmental services management in either a health care or other hospitality setting.
Next year, the program will add three more courses: microbiology; epidemiology and infection prevention; and patient experience in health care. The university also is working with AHE to develop an internship program, in which AHE will help place students in a hospital or health care setting to use their knowledge in the real world.
“As I learned about the new certificate, I thought about the many parallels between a health care environment and a more traditional hotel or restaurant hospitality environment,” says Sue Bellan, an alumna of hospitality management and general manager of Columbus Hospitality Management. “This certificate elevates a candidate or employee’s knowledge base in several disciplines within the hotel and restaurant setting, including housekeeping, engineering, food service and even sales and marketing. I do encourage hospitality management students to consider obtaining this certificate.”