(L-R) Matt Waller joins Curtis Barnett, Robert Shoptaw and Kate Mamiseishvili to announce the Robert L. Shoptaw Masters in Healthcare Business Analytics program at the University of Arkansas.
The Sam M. Walton College of Business, in partnership with Arkansas Blue Cross and Blue Shield and the University of Arkansas College of Education and Health Professions, announced the creation of the Robert L. Shoptaw Master of Healthcare Business Analytics Program in September 27 at the Arkansas Blue Cross and Blue Shield Northwest Arkansas Corporate Center in Springdale.
“Arkansas Blue Cross and Blue Shield’s funding of this graduate program is a game-changer for our students and the healthcare industry,” said Walton College Dean Matt Waller. “This degree will help professionals in the business and healthcare industries transform large amounts of data into intelligent, analytical decisions. Ultimately, this is a win for patients and medical professionals alike.”
Kate Mamiseishvili, interim dean of the College of Education and Health Professions, added, “We are delighted to partner with Walton College to offer this new master’s degree. It is a unique program that draws on the expertise of faculty from both universities. It brings together business analytics and healthcare knowledge to prepare professionals with big data skills to improve healthcare and patient outcomes.”
Shoptaw, who served as executive director of Arkansas Blue Cross and Blue Shield from 1994 until his retirement in 2008, was on hand for the unveiling of the new program.
“Arkansas Blue Cross is pleased to honor Bob Shoptaw’s leadership and legacy by supporting Walton College in establishing the Master of Healthcare Business Analytics program,” said Curtis Barnett, Arkansas Blue Cross President and CEO. “There is a growing need for highly skilled health data analysts who can turn information into insights that enable providers, payers and researchers to develop initiatives that improve patient outcomes, enhance care management and advance an approach person’s care that addresses the patient’s physical health, behavioral health and social needs all together. Bob Shoptaw has been a visionary in our industry in recognizing the critical role that data can play and analysis in improving the overall healthcare system and providing people with affordable coverage and quality care.”
Shoptaw joined Arkansas Blue Cross as a hospital and professional relations representative in 1970 and rose through the ranks to become president and CEO in 1994. He served in that capacity until he left retiring in 2008 and also served as president of the Arkansas Blue Cross. from 2009 to 2016. He is now a board member of the not-for-profit mutual insurance company.
Throughout his career, Shoptaw invested his time and talents with numerous community and civic organizations, including those in the academic and medical fields. In academia, he served on the Dean’s Executive Advisory Council and the Arkansas Executive Forum at Walton College and on the boards of Philander Smith College and the Arkansas Tech School of Business. He also served on health care-related boards affiliated with the Arthritis Foundation, the National Institute for Health Care Management, the Arkansas Centers for Health Improvement, the Health Advisory Council Governor’s Rural, Mercy Health Plans and the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association.
The Robert L. Shoptaw Master of Healthcare Business Analytics program is expected to launch in the fall of 2023.
About Arkansas Blue Cross Blue Shield: Founded in 1948, Arkansas Blue Cross and Blue Shield, an independent licensee of the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association, is the largest health insurer in Arkansas. Arkansas Blue Cross and its subsidiaries have more than 3,200 employees.
The Blue Cross Blue Shield Association is comprised of 36 independent, community-based and locally operated Blue Cross and Blue Shield plans that collectively provide health coverage to nearly 106 million members, one in three Americans.
About the University of Arkansas: As Arkansas’ flagship institution, the U of A offers an internationally competitive education in more than 200 academic programs. Founded in 1871, the U of A contributes more than $2.2 billion to the Arkansas economy through teaching new knowledge and skills, entrepreneurship and career development, discovery through research and activity creative while offering training for professional disciplines. The Carnegie Foundation ranks the U of A among the few colleges and universities in the United States with the highest level of research activity. US News and World Report ranks the U of A among the best public universities in the country. See how the U of A is working to build a better world in Arkansas Research News.