Our History

Chronologic Development of the Health Care Administration Program at California State University, Long Beach


By Robert E. Tumelty, Professor Emeritus and Founding Director Health Care Administration Program

This document has been prepared for use by Dr. Connie J. Evashwick, Professor, and Director, Center for Health Care Innovation, in developing a presentation at the 25th Anniversary Program for the Health Care Administration, April 28, 2001. I suggest that it is reasonably correct, but is certainly subject to revision and interpretation. Substantial changes have come about since my retirement in 1992, and I suggest that persons with' first-hand knowledge, might wish to describe these changes. Note: When all this began CSULB was called California State College, Long Beach, and the schools referred to here eventually became colleges, some of which have undergone name changes. The references used here will generally use the name in use at the time of the noted event, or "eras" as given in the text.

In 1970, the School of Business Administration began to offer a Certificate Program in Health Care Management, which required the award of the MBA, and 30-semester units of course work selected from the fields of finance, economics, management, manpower management, and marketing. All the required coursework was within the school. The certificate was developed by the school, based on needs documented by the health care community, and the concerns and interests of faculty. The certificate was first noted in the Graduate Bulletin for 1970, 197l and the three-year Graduate for 1973-1975. The certificate was withdrawn in 1973, and no longer offered after that year for reasons which were administrative, not for a lack of interest by students or the needs of the health care community, or program quality and relevance.

In 1974, Robert E. Tumelty joined the faculty at CSULB from the University of California, San Francisco, to head the Center for Health Manpower Education, a center founded some 2-3 years prior to this time, and whose function was to coordinate the health-related programs of the university. Early on, the absence of a management program in health care was noted, but due to situational factors noted, and for other reasons, no immediate attempt was made to deal with this stated need. Regardless, there were many program elements on campus that could contribute to a health management program. In addition to the faculty from the School of Business, whose interest never flagged, the Political Science Department had a single offering on the political and social aspects of health care; the Economics Department had a well-developed offering in health care economics, and the Sociology Department had a course in medical sociology. Further, the Center for Public Policy and Administration (CPPA) had an interest in health care management and developed several courses in the field, including our current HCA 402/502, The Health Care System. By combining the noted courses with the CPP A offerings, a special major was offered and met with modest success. Dr. Tumelty's initial academic appointment was within the CPP A, and he counseled interested students and taught several of the offerings.

With the realization that further programmatic development was needed, about 1976, Dr. Tumelty transferred his academic appointment to his own Center and shortly thereafter moved the CPP A courses to the Center for Health Manpower Education. He received one full-time academic position to teach these courses in cooperation with the departments already offering related course work. In 1977 the Center was disbanded following the end of its external grant, and all resources were transferred to the Office of Special Programs. Immediately, a Certificate Program in Health Care Administration was approved and was offered in the 1977-1988 academic year with strong student interest. All units in the Office of Special Programs were detailed to relevant schools in 1978.

In 1978, the Certificate in Health Care Administration, and all resources were transferred to the School of Applied Arts and Sciences, as a separate program under the office of the dean of that school. Thus began the most important era of development. At about this time, the Chancellor of the then California State University and Colleges had established a novel entity, the Consortium of the California State University, a veritable campus of the system, which while centrally funded, used faculty from the then 20 campuses to teach its courses. The Chancellor's objective was to unleash the creative talents of his statewide faculty and respond to community needs with bona fide academic programs. Early on, an undergraduate degree major had been developed 'health care administration' to serve the needs of managers in long-term care facilities. At nearly this time, I was invited to join the academic program committee in health care management of the Consortium. At the same time, I was asked to head a Consortium program development committee to develop a master's degree program in health care administration. This was a fortuitous circumstance, as I was given the resources to revise the undergraduate program, and to develop the graduate program, meanwhile operating the on-campus program at Long Beach.

The Consortium program sites involved these campuses of the system: San Diego, Northridge, Sacramento, Pomona, Fresno, Fullerton, and Chico.

In the midst of these corollary happenings with the Consortium, the Fullerton campus decided to administratively transfer their undergraduate program, and Long Beach accepted the program. In a unique move, we modified the Consortium program and used nine on-campus courses, and six Consortium courses to complete the degree major. CSULB in one stroke acquired a program at a nominal cost, as the Consortium courses were taught in the self-support mode, and viable student enrollment. We were on the map in health care administration so as to speak.

On-campus, we marketed to graduate students by using our upper-division health care administration courses, and offerings from other departments as economics and political science, and schools such as the business school, and the Center for Public Policy and Administration to enroll special majors. Our first special major graduate, Susan McKenzie, completed her course work in November 1982 and has had a distinguished career with the United States Veterans Administration. She and her husband, a physician, are stationed in Alaska.

Then, we began teaching the Consortium master's degree program on campus, and because we immediately developed off-campus venues as Saddleback Hospital, Pomona General Hospital, and St. Josephs Hospital of Orange, our number of graduates began to exceed many long-term departments. Because the Consortium students were listed in the graduation roster in a special section, we were impressed, and not only in numbers.

We were now at the crossroads. The Consortium which had sustained us earlier was giving indications of its likely demise. Quickly we decided to integrate the undergraduate program onto campus, by assuming the six Consortium courses, and taking our degree proposal to academic review. What made our proposal compelling is that we had students filling classes, and enriching the campus by taking classes throughout the university. We did not have to prove a need for the program-we exhibited the class rosters and the commencement bulletins.

In 1985, the undergraduate program was accepted into membership in the Association of University Programs in Health Care Administration (AUPHA), one of 31 such programs nationwide. This honor alone was impressive both on-campus and in the broader health care community.

In 1986, the FHP Foundation, now Archstone Foundation, endowed a chair in the fields of "health care and health care management." After at least one iteration, the ultimate outcome is the current Center for Health Care Innovation, a vital force in the trajectory of the program and the health management field.

In 1987 two signal events occurred. First, the entire undergraduate program was integrated onto campus, and we were able to fill our first full-time tenure track position with Harold Robert Hunter, whose distinguished background and career achievements added an entirely new and uplifting trajectory to our endeavors.

In 1990, our graduate program was approved, and we have never looked back since. In turn, two more outstanding persons were recruited. In 1988, Adela de la Torre came to us via Berkeley, and a post-doctoral Pew Fellowship at the University of California, San Francisco. The following year, James Swan, came to us from UC San Francisco, and both have gone on to other universities, Adela chairs the Hispanic studies department at the University of Arizona, and James Swan is at Witchita State University. Each contributed much, and James Swan and Connie Evashwick collaborate on research efforts to this time.