An Innovative Program for Healthcare Boards

Excellence in Governance FellowshipHealthcare reform is here, and with it come myriad changes in how healthcare is delivered, regulated and reimbursed. Hospital boards today are dealing with a rapidly evolving “big picture” and have to be active, engaged and, most importantly, informed.

Hospitals and health systems must invest in their board members to ensure the highest level of competencies to meet the challenges of a constantly evolving landscape. An outstanding board member needs broad knowledge, strategic thinking and an ongoing commitment to leadership excellence.

The MHA designed this rigorous and comprehensive offering to provide educational opportunities in governance leadership through a powerful combination of expert faculty, specially designed curriculum and interaction. The MHA Excellence in Governance Fellowship is highly collaborative in nature, bringing fellows together in a variety of learning formats, including retreatlike interface, virtual communications and dialogue, and peer learning circles.

The MHA believes that the CEO and board member partnership is key to any successful healthcare organization. Because we are committed to fostering this partnership, CEOs of the selected fellows receive regular communication and information to support the fellow in his or her study.

Nine-month Program Includes Four Vigorous Sessions


Principles of Effective Governance

Examine the principles and themes a management team and board use to move from functioning to phenomenal. Fellows explore in-depth:

  • The role of the governing board member in establishing and affirming mission
  • Financial, strategic and quality oversight, including accountability for both personal and organizational performance
  • Board and management roles
  • Changing reimbursement models and keeping a healthy balance of mission and margin
  • Providing oversight — not interference
  • Personal leadership styles and their influence on board interactions
  • The importance of inquiry, influence and consensus building


The Board’s Role in Quality and Patient Safety

Learn to develop the skills to adequately assess and analyze the quality of care and patient safety in the organization by reducing board distractions and establishing clear and dependable monitoring systems. Fellows will:

  • Develop leadership thinking and appropriate systems to allow board members to measure and monitor quality and patient safety
  • Determine the board’s role in assuring quality of care
  • Learn how to keep the patient at the center of decisions
  • Understand who measures what and why
  • Explore the most up-to-date information on value-based purchasing, transparency and pay-for-performance
  • Explore how to measure progress using dashboards
  • Choose and use the appropriate indicators
  • Examine how to use best practices in assessment and monitoring


Hospital and Medical Staff Strategic Partnerships

Explore and discover the defining principles of positive relationships with hospital medical staff. Fellows will gain a better understanding of:

  • How consolidation, incentives for hospital-physician alignment and changing reimbursement are affecting hospital-physician relationships
  • Legal responsibilities under federal and state law and oversight of credentialing and privileging
  • Legal considerations for physician employment, practice acquisition, joint ventures and other physician compensation models
  • The interdependence of physician, executive and board leadership in improving health and patient experience
  • How boards support high reliability, psychological safety and other elements that are essential to establishing a safe culture
  • How to create a framework to build resiliency and reduce burnout


Personal Mastery and Accelerating Change

Investigate, analyze and learn how to develop personal capacity to lead and drive change at a pace that keeps the organization relevant. Fellows will learn to:

  • Continuously build leadership muscle
  • Challenge the inherited legacies and explore new value propositions through the study of models that are disrupting the industry
  • Evaluate strategies by weighing risks and rewards and the impact on the health and quality of life in their community
  • Apply their new knowledge and skills to help create accountability, consistency and reliability
  • Combat the negative impact of relentless change on morale and energy

Bonus experiences:

  • Two days of cutting-edge education and top-level networking at the MHA Annual Membership Meeting
  • Graduation of the MHA Excellence in Governance fellows!

Value for Organizations & Individuals

The Organizational Value

  • Superior board capacity through the development of advanced governance knowledge and skills
  • Board members with highly developed leadership skills
  • Board members who know how to be relevant and engaged
  • Board members who are ambassadors and champions for the organization and the chief executive
  • Connected board members with a vast network of peers to help with challenging governance issues
  • Board members who are thoughtful — not reactionary — and understand the roles and responsibilities of the board and the CEO
  • Board members with broad competencies and a mission focus that translates into bottom-line results

Individual Value

  • An exceptional experience that provides the skills and knowledge to advance the mission and vision of the organization beyond the ordinary
  • An unparalleled opportunity to exchange ideas and explore challenges and solutions with trustees and healthcare experts
  • An opportunity to study trends in governance and healthcare and their significance to hospitals and the community
  • An understanding of pragmatic and practical ways to identify and implement board actions that enhance organizational effectiveness
  • A network of governing board colleagues to call on when challenges arise
  • Limited class size for maximum interaction, learning and peer-to-peer exchange

Investment & Returns

Time Investment

Fellows are expected to invest the time and energy needed to complete all of the activities planned for the fellowship. This learning experience is designed so that significant peer-to-peer learning will occur. Therefore, fellows should plan to attend in person or virtually all required meetings throughout the fellowship. Selected fellows should plan to invest an additional day per month throughout the nine-month fellowship.

On occasion, a fellow may find it necessary to participate virtually. In this case, the MHA can arrange for virtual participation. The fellow participating virtually is able to communicate with other fellows and faculty via webinar. Required equipment is a computer with high-speed internet access (webcam is optional).

Team Incentives

Learning from and with peers only enhances the value of an educational experience. The MHA Excellence in Governance Fellowship is designed for experienced board members, and multiple board members from the same organization are invited to apply to become fellows. Tuition is discounted for organizational teams.

Reasons to Return

Many hospitals use the fellowship to develop board members and, in particular, those moving into officer positions. We think that is a rousing endorsement! We are so committed to being your exclusive partner in governance development, we offer any organization that has sent a fellow to previous classes a discount in tuition costs. Your organization wins both financially and through the ongoing development of skilled board members — that’s just one more solid reason to nominate board members for this outstanding program!

Tuition for MHA Members

Governing board member from an MHA-member organization $7,200 per person
Board member teams of two or more from the same MHA-member organization $7,000 per person
Governing board members from MHA-member organizations with 2016-2017 graduate fellows $7,000 per
Governing board member participating virtually from an MHA-member organization $4,000 per person


Tuition covers all course materials and associated meeting fees and the registration fee for the 2019 MHA Annual Membership Meeting (a $1,000 value). Individual travel, lodging and other related expenses are not included in the tuition costs. Tuition is due upon acceptance as a fellow.

All cancellations and withdrawals must be submitted in writing. For cancellations and withdrawals on or before July 1, 2018, tuition will be returned, less a processing fee of 25 percent. Alternates may be accepted following review.

Organizations that are not members of the MHA may click the contact button below to request fee information.

2018-2019 Session Dates

July 16 - 17, 2018
Welcome Dinner & MHA Briefing
MHA Capitol Advocacy Center, Lansing

Oct. 15 - 16, 2018
Crystal Mountain Resort & Spa, Thompsonville

Jan. 18 - 19, 2019
Royal Park Hotel, Rochester

April 26 - 27, 2019
Amway Grand Plaza Hotel, Grand Rapids

June 25 - 26, 2019
Fellowship concludes and graduation occurs during the 2019 MHA Annual Membership Meeting at the Grand Hotel, Mackinac Island
(Fellows meet June 25 - 26; MHA Annual Membership Meeting is June 26 - 28)

Current Roster

2018 - 2019 MHA Excellence in Governance Fellowship
Class 16 Fellows

Kimberly Brzozowski
Sparrow Clinton Hospital

Patrick Conlin, Jr.
St. Joseph Mercy Chelsea

Joel Conn
Sparrow Clinton Hospital

Peter Hood
Schoolcraft Memorial Hospital

Jean Nagelkerk
Mercy Health

Ronald Stewart, DDS
Hurley Medical Center

Linda Thiel
Mercy Health

For more information, click the contact button below or download the complete brochure.

Contact Us

John Hunt, Excellence in Governance Fellowship graduate

“It took a year to gain more knowledge in hospital governance and it was worth it. Thank you to all the presenters from around the country and a special thank you to Erin Steward and Terry Moore for a job well done. The group of eleven from across the state could not have been better, we kept each other on our toes.”

- John Hunt, Huron Medical Center
Excellence in Governance Fellowship Class of 2016-2017

Who Becomes a Fellow?

Fellows come from the governing boards of hospitals, health systems and other healthcare organizations. A minimum of one year of board experience is required for consideration to become a fellow. Many organizations use the fellowship as a platform to educate board members who are advancing to the chairman role.


The success and value of the MHA Excellence in Governance Fellowship is embodied in the committed and highly qualified faculty and facilitators involved in the program. The fellowship uses expert faculty in the areas of healthcare delivery, governance, legal issues, quality and patient safety, and leadership.

MHA 100 Year Anniversary

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