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KNOXVILLE, Tenn.– The University of Tennessee and the nation’s largest health care provider, Columbia/HCA, want to help physicians learn business and management skills.

 Dr. Michael Stahl, director of UT-Knoxville’s executive MBA program, said providing Columbia-associated physicians with such an opportunity is the goal of a new program developed by UT and Tulane University.

 Columbia is sponsoring the design and offering of the program for physicians associated with Columbia facilities.

 Dr. Frank Houser, president of Columbia Physician Services, said the UT’s executive master of business administration program will help physicians succeed in a changing healthcare industry.

 “Physicians are the decision-makers in the expenditure of healthcare dollars, yet they are under-represented in the management level of healthcare organizations,” Houser said.

 UT President Joe Johnson said he and UT-Knoxville Chancellor Bill Snyder support the program.

 “It’s a grand way to assist a major national corporation that’s headquartered in Tennessee,” Johnson said. “The program helps meet Columbia’s needs and it benefits UT financially.”

 Stahl said participants will learn conceptual, interpersonal, technical and analytical skills and how to apply them in business activities ranging from team leadership to financial statement analysis.

 Dr. Warren Neel, dean of business administration at UT-Knoxville, said the cooperative program was indicative of changes progressive business schools are making.

 “Like Columbia, business schools are in a changing competitive market,” Neel said. “Joining with this industry leader and a sister higher education institution, as we have with Tulane, will be the norm for nationally recognized business schools in the 21st century.”

 Faculty will include eight members from UT, two members from Tulane, a physician and a business executive.

Some classes will will be taught by teleconference and others will be offered on the Internet. In addition, there will be on-site training and course work at UT-Knoxville and Tulane. Tulane University Hospital is an affiliate of Columbia.

 The Internet and teleconference classes will allow the physicians to maintain their practices while limiting travel time and costs, Stahl said.

 Physician-students who begin the program this fall are scheduled to graduate with a master’s degree from UT in August 1998.

 Stahl said enrollment would begin with 22 to 28 physicians.

 Contact: Dr. Michael Stahl (423-974-5061) or Jeff Prescott at Columbia (615-344-5718)