MHA Domains & Competencies

The competency framework for the MSUM MHA program has been adapted from the Healthcare Leadership Alliance and American College of Healthcare Executives (ACHE) domains and competencies. The 26 program competencies are classified under five major domains: Leadership; Professionalism; Communication and Relationship Building; Knowledge of the Healthcare Environment; and Business Skills. These domains align with the mission, vision, and values of the MHA program in preparing mid to early careerists as generalist leaders that are prepared to lead in a variety of community settings. The program competencies provide the students with a solid administrative foundation in which to launch into various leadership roles.

In 2022, the program competencies were updated using the HLA (2010) and ACHE (2021) competencies, as well as input from community partners, students, and pedagogical models to meet the needs of MSUM students under each of these five domains. Within each domain, specific competencies are associated with required courses throughout the curriculum. The expected level of competency progression in the MHA program was adapted from the Dreyfus Model of Skill Acquisition, as well as ACHE 2021 competency assessment (ACHE, 2021; Dreyfus, 2004). The mission of the MHA program is to prepare early to mid-careerists, due to this, we do not expect students to advance to an expert level in the program, but we aim for students to achieve a minimum of competent level, and in some areas at the proficient level in the program competencies. Some students may obtain an expert level due to professional experience, combined with increased knowledge obtained in the curriculum.

Courses are sequenced to work towards building a minimum of competent level with the goal of proficient competency level in some competencies in the final, capstone courses. Students will emerge with competent to proficient in the five domains and associated competencies at the conclusion of the program. Individual course specific competencies are available on each course syllabi. The individual course specific competencies will align with achieving the program competencies under each domain. **MHA program does not plan for students to obtain this level of competency based on mission and vision of the program.

KEY - definitions adapted from Dreyfus (2004) and ACHE (2021):

1 = Novice – a beginner, with no experience. Individuals are understanding and gaining information to comprehend skills by using rules obtained in the classroom setting; expected to need help from an expert to understand and apply concepts.
2= Advanced Beginner – demonstrates acceptable performance, individuals are starting to equate situational and non-situational aspects of learning, along with rules; individuals can start to apply some concepts, but are still analytic by following examples.
3 = Competent – as the individual gains more experience and knowledge, competence develops with solving problems and are involved in forming an outcome. Help from experts might still be required, but usually skills can be performed independently.
4 = Proficient- the individual can perceive and understand situations as whole parts. Individuals learn from experiences and knowledge and anticipate what to expect and will react by modifying plans. The individual may consult with an expert, but will have a plan developed.
5 = Expert – intuitively, analyzing, recognizing problems with ideas and expertise. The individual relies on progressive experience and wisdom to provide guidance, troubleshoot, and answers questions. They are an expert in that area/field. **MHA program does not plan for students to obtain this level of competency based on mission and vision of the program.

2022 Changes:

Domain #1: Leadership – the ability to inspire individual and organizational excellent, create and attain a shared vision and successfully manage change to attain the organization’s strategic ends and successful performance.


  1. Leadership skills and behavior
  2. Organizational climate and culture
  3. Communicating Vision
  4. Managing change

Domain #2: Professionalism – the ability to align personal and organizational conduct with ethical and professional standards that include a responsibility to the patient and community, a service orientation, and a commitment to lifelong learning and improvement.


  1. Personal and Professional Accountability
  2. Professional Development and Lifelong Learning
  3. Contributions to the Community and Profession
  4. Ethics and Compliance

Domain #3: Communication and Relationship Building – the ability to communicate clearly and concisely with internal and external customers, establish and maintain relationships, and facilitate constructive interactions with individuals and groups.


  1. Relationship Management
  2. Communication Skills
  3. Interprofessional Collaboration and Negotiation

Domain #4: Knowledge of the Healthcare Environment – the understanding of the health care system and the environment in which health care managers and providers function.


  1. Healthcare Systems and Organizations
  2. Healthcare Personnel
  3. The Patient’s Perspective
  4. The Community and the Environment
  5. Legal Environment

Domain #5: Business Skills – the ability to apply business principles, including systems thinking, to the healthcare environment.


  1. Operation’s Management
  2. Financial Management
  3. Human Resources Management
  4. Organizational Dynamics and Governance
  5. Strategic Planning
  6. Marketing
  7. Information Management
  8. Risk Management
  9. Quality Improvement
  10. Patient Safety