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Muma College of Business and TGH Create a Program to Teach Hospital Staff Critical People Skills

By Keith Morelli

TGH/Muma College of Business People Development Institute

TAMPA (October 13, 2021) -- USF’s Muma College of Business and Tampa General Hospital today announced the launch of a groundbreaking initiative to provide critical people skills to hospital staff ranging from top-shelf surgeons to valets.

Leveraging expertise from USF, the newly initiated People Development Institute is designed to offer courses that equip not just TGH employees, but also hospital partners, vendors and associates with the tools they need to create better relations with patients, customers and the medical community. Nearly 90 percent of executives say there is a skills gap in the workplace, according to a McKinsey Global Survey, and the institute is a way new way to meet those challenges.

While medical programs excel at imparting lifesaving knowledge to the medical personnel, critical people skills tend to get much less attention in focused medical programs. The ambitious professional development undertaken as part of collaborative initiative intends to fill that very gap.

The newly initiated People Development Institute awards non-credit Credly-badges. Credly badges recognize digital learning that focuses on hard and soft skills necessary for an organization to thrive. Faculty from the Muma College of Business play a leading role in the course design, creation and delivery.

“For years, the University of South Florida and Tampa General Hospital have partnered in the business of health care, saving lives, training health care providers and creating innovative new systems together,” said USF President Rhea Law. “The partnership between Tampa General and USF Health has strengthened the university academically and enhanced our role in the Tampa Bay region. 

“Collaboration like this is in the DNA of both organizations – and it is vital to sustain healthy communities. The synergies between USF and Tampa General have been so positive that we’ve continued to ask: How else can we work together? How else can we benefit from each other’s strengths?

“As a result,” she said, “our newest partnership is in the business of business, and we couldn’t be prouder to be part of this endeavor.”

The initiative is designed to make health care workers better employees while keeping them engaged through educational opportunities offered by hospital leaders and university educators.

“Tampa General Hospital’s vision is to be the safest, most innovative academic health system in America and that demands the best training and development for our health care professionals,” said John Couris, president and CEO of Tampa General Hospital. “This unique collaboration between TGH and the USF Muma College of Business will meet those needs and directly impact the professional growth of every one of our team members.”                     

Couris said the TGH Foundation has committed $5 million for the first five years of the institute.           

With an aim to develop a one-stop shop for all the people-centric training needs at TGH initially, said Matt Mullarkey, a Muma College of Business faculty member who spearheaded the effort, the initiative hopes one day to provide access across the health care industry.

The training will be offered virtually with plans to expand in a variety of formats, including virtual, hybrid and face-to-face instruction. Classes are free to all TGH team members. Tampa General will cover the cost of all training materials required for courses and the TGH Foundation has committed to fully funding the institute for its first five years.

“Florida is rapidly becoming one of the largest concentrations of health care professionals in the nation,” Mullarkey said. “Working with Tampa General Hospital, the USF Muma College of Business is excited to co-design, co-create and co-deliver the most innovative health care people-development courses that serve every professional from valet to vascular surgeon and administrative clerk to cardiac care registered nurse.

“We could not be more excited and proud to partner with the team at Tampa General Hospital to make this vision a reality.”

The institute is a collaboration between the two organizations to identify specific, non-clinical, training needs of TGH employees, ranging from transportation personnel and extending to surgeons. The idea is to keep employees trained in such a way that they can use people skills to enhance the patient experience as well as develop professionally.

“The institute is an investment in our most important asset, our team members,” said Rico Ruiz, director of Organizational Development and co-director of the People Development Institute. “If we are going to ask our team members to behave and act differently, then we must teach them how to behave and act differently. This unique, comprehensive People Development Institute will allow us to leverage the expertise of our partners in the USF Muma College of Business to set the industry standard for how we develop all team members’ skill sets. The Institute will support their career aspirations and equip them with the behaviors, knowledge and skills to drive their holistic development so as an organization we can achieve TGH’s vision to be the safest, most innovative academic health system in America.”

Training and programs offered through the institute will help TGH employees become more marketable and learn new skill sets that will be useful in the future. Classes begin this year and continue until 2025, according to the agreement signed on March 30.

The program also includes skill sets required by administrators. For instance, it provides training on leadership, motivation and use of analytics to capitalize on employee data to customize programs like onboarding and wellbeing campaigns. This can improve employee morale and retention.

The collaboration is in keeping with a strategic plan of the Muma College of Business, which is to engage with the outside business community.

“It is often said you are judged by the company you keep,” said Moez Limayem, Lynn Pippenger Dean of the Muma College of Business, “and we could not have picked a better partner with whom to collaborate on this project than Tampa General Hospital, a top-rated health care provider in the nation.

“This groundbreaking collaboration should serve as a model for partnerships between higher education and the medical industry,” he said. “It is unique and will strengthen the business operational skills of those who manage our health and care for us whenever the need arises.

“USF continues to prove its value time and time again as a resource for our community,” Limayem said. “We plan to maintain and strengthen this partnership for years to come.”