McCombs School of Business offers first cybersecurity certificate program

Mariane Gutierrez

The McCombs School of Business now offers a certificate program that educates students on how to protect U.S. health care systems from cybersecurity attacks.

According to a University press release, the Leadership in Healthcare Privacy and Security Risk Management certificate program is the first of its kind in the U.S. The program began this August and has 16 students enrolled, according to the release. 

Leanne Field, director for digital health care and innovation for McCombs, said students are learning how to manage the cybersecurity risks that health care systems face.

Field said the certificate program was created to address increasing cybersecurity threats across the U.S. She said with 350,000 cybersecurity job openings, it is important to give people the knowledge to stop these threats.

“Protecting our healthcare organizations from cyberattacks is a national priority,” Field said. “The certificate program was created to help meet the acute workforce needs for our nation by training leaders.”

Business freshman Kevin Saavedra said by starting programs like this, McCombs creates more opportunities for students and provides a place for digital learning.

“McCombs is always developing their opportunities for students,” Saavedra said. “Through programs like this new one … students will benefit through the professors who care about their areas of expertise, especially with this day and age of cyber threats.”

Field said the program aims to remain focused on health care and equip students with the knowledge to assess, identify, reduce and respond to cybersecurity risks.

“We hope to grow this program over time,” Field said. “It offers a new paradigm for workforce development, because it is focused on preparing non-technical leaders in health care, cybersecurity and privacy.”

Undeclared freshman Sunday Cortez said this program innovates health care facilities by protecting patients’ private information. She said this allows patients and health care professionals to focus more on the health care process.

“I’m really looking forward to being able to take care of my patients and not have to worry about their information being breached,” Cortez said.

Field said protecting health care facilities is the primary goal of the certificate program because it will save lives.

“When a hospital is breached by a cyberattack, all of the interconnected information technology networks and other medical technologies are encrypted and can no longer be used to provide lifesaving diagnosis and treatment for patients by healthcare providers,” Field said.