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UW Graduates First Group of Students in Health Administration Master’s Program

October 16, 2018

A new University of Wyoming master’s degree program in health care administration has helped advance the expertise and career prospects for a dozen Wyoming professionals and 20 people from outside Wyoming.

The Master of Science in Health Services Administration (MSHSA) Program, offered through UW’s School of Pharmacy, produced its first group of graduates over the spring and summer. It is for new or midcareer pharmacists or other health professionals looking to advance their careers in the pharmaceutical and health care fields.

“My overall experience was positive, and I am proud to have completed my degree,” says Kari Quickenden, chief clinical officer at Memorial Hospital of Sweetwater County in Rock Springs. “I believe this degree will make me a stronger leader in my current position as well as benefit me in pursuing future career advancement.”

“Overall, this was a good experience, and I was able to learn about some topics that have changed my views on the current status of health care in the U.S.,” says Kelli Perrotti, manager of the Wyoming Trauma Program in the state Department of Health’s Office of Emergency Medical Services in Cheyenne. “I am pleased to have the honor of being accepted and completing this program.”

Launched in 2016 as a two-year, part-time program, the MSHSA Program features courses that are mostly taught online, with students traveling to the UW campus twice for intensive weekend seminars -- once during their first semester and once during their last semester in the program. There are three program tracks: biopharmaceutical regulatory compliance, health institution leadership and pharmacoeconomics.

In addition to the 12 students from Wyoming, the first group of graduates included students from 12 states, including Colorado, Montana, Texas, New York, California, Alabama, Maine, Pennsylvania and Florida.

“We’re delighted that we were able to serve students in Wyoming and across the country to help them advance into management within the health care field,” says Alyssa Sudermann, the program’s director of recruitment and student retention. “We’re now the third largest online program at the university, and we will be offering a number of new tracks to meet the needs of students from diverse backgrounds.”

To qualify for admission, a student must have a bachelor’s degree in any field, a master’s degree in any field or a doctoral degree with an upper-division grade-point average of 3.0 or better.

Quickenden graduated from UW’s School of Pharmacy in 1997 with a bachelor’s degree and from the University of Florida in 2006 with her pharmacy doctoral degree. She was attracted to the UW program because of its cost, while noting that the curriculum compared favorably with traditional Master of Health Care Administration programs across the country.

“I also was looking for a program that did not require extensive on-campus attendance, as I work full time and have a family,” says Quickenden, who completed the health institution leadership track in 20 months. “I completed a previous online degree while working full time, so I was prepared for the reality that time needs to be set aside to study, complete assignments and attend online classes. I have a demanding job in hospital administration. I was able to keep pace with the coursework, and I found that the course schedule consisting of different classes in a semester kept the program interesting.”

Quickenden says the program’s instructors were “responsive, engaged and invested in ensuring the success of the students in the program.”

Perrotti, who received her bachelor’s degree in nursing from UW, says she had been looking for online master’s degree programs in health or hospital administration when she learned UW was launching the MSHSA Program.

“I was extremely interested in the program because it was through the University of Wyoming, where I had received my nursing degree, and I could be sure I would receive a legitimate degree,” says Perrotti, who also pursued the leadership track.

It took her three full semesters and two summer semesters to complete the degree, with one in-person seminar.

“We were supposed to have a second in-person seminar in March 2018 but, due to scheduling conflicts internal to the program which hampered my ability to attend, I was able to complete this section online,” Perrotti says. “The program chair was able to work with those of us who were unable to reschedule our professional lives because of the internal conflicts. This showed me that the program was interested in our success as students who currently have jobs that are not easily scheduled around.”

Other graduates from Wyoming in the spring and summer, listed by hometown, are:

-- Casper -- Jonathan Beattie, Raven Beattie, Eric Schlidt and Michelle Sherwin.

-- Cheyenne -- Nathan Newman.

-- Cody -- Kelly Martin.

-- Evanston -- Caitlyn Frakes.

-- Green River -- Yurika Hill.

-- Lander -- Contessa Bonds.

-- Laramie -- Carlos Chavez.

Students can begin the program in the fall or spring semester. The program is open to spring applicants now. For more information, go to

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