The new post-baccalaureate program will provide health care professionals with strategies to become effective care coordinators for those with complex health needs.

VCU first Virginia university to offer interprofessional care coordination certificate

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A new post-baccalaureate graduate certificate program at Virginia Commonwealth University will provide health care professionals with strategies to become effective care coordinators for individuals with complex health needs. The State Council of Higher Education for Virginia this week approved the workforce development initiative, which will be offered through the university’s Office of the Vice President for Health Sciences. It is the first care coordination program in Virginia to be offered with an interprofessional focus and only one of a handful of such programs nationwide.

Care coordination is being recognized as a national priority, yet a 2016 Commission for Case Manager Certification study reported a significant need for development of formal academic programs in case management. Eighty-nine percent of those surveyed reported their primary method of learning their role as on-the-job training. Also, the care coordination role is becoming increasingly complex as national initiatives such as the Affordable Care Act require health care providers to consider how to best shift from fee-for-service to value-based care.

Kimberly Davis
Kimberly Davis

“The VCU Certificate in Care Coordination program participants will integrate concepts of care coordination in an interprofessional context along the full continuum of health care to meet the needs of patients and their families as they transition among health care settings,” said program director Kimberly Davis, who is a clinical instructor in the Department of Family and Community Health Nursing at VCU School of Nursing.

The yearlong, online program will enroll a cohort of 20 students from a variety of health care backgrounds. Eligible enrollees should have a baccalaureate degree in a health care discipline and preferably one year of clinical experience. The part-time, 15-credit program design should allow for participating students to continue working full time while completing course requisites.

The program will be taught by faculty from the Schools of Social Work and Nursing, as well as the VCU Division of Community Engagement and VCU Health. Courses cover topics including the current status of U.S. health care, payment models, interprofessional communication techniques, and ethical and legal considerations of coordinating care. Coursework will also cover hospital and community-based care coordination strategies.

Graduates will be equipped to empower patients and their families who are at risk for excess use of health care services to effectively reduce health system burdens and decrease adverse health outcomes.

“As a result of this program, health care professionals will have a better understanding of how to safely and effectively coordinate care in a variety of settings,” Davis said.  “It will also lead to increased job satisfaction for those tasked with the complex role of coordinating patient care. Additionally, patients will have a higher quality of care as a result of this program, which translates to healthier living and the potential for significant reductions in medical costs.”

Applications for classes starting in fall 2017 are now being accepted.

For more information and to apply, visit