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Graduate Healthcare Administration Training Program (GHATP) Fellowship

Durham VA Health Care System welcomes you to the Graduate Healthcare Administration Training Program (GHATP) Website!

Durham VA Health Care System

The Durham VA Medical Center opened its doors in April of 1953 and celebrates its 70th anniversary this year. In the first year of operation the staff consisted of approximately 600 employees. Today, more than 3,600 clinical and support staff stand ready to provide quality healthcare that meets the unique needs of Veterans. 

Today, Durham VAMC is a Joint Commission accredited 251-bed complexity level 1A tertiary care referral, teaching and research facility located on an 18-acre site in a mid-sized urban center adjacent to Duke University Medical Center. The campus consists of a 151-bed acute care hospital and a 100 approved bed Community Living Center facility and houses the VISN 6 Mental Illness Research and Clinical Center, Geriatric Research, Education and Clinical Center, and Southeast Epilepsy Centers of Excellence. Currently the health care system serves nearly 80,000 Veterans at 12 sites of care within a 27-county catchment area in central and eastern North Carolina.

Community partnerships of the Durham VA Health Care System include:

  • Duke University School of Medicine & Nursing
  • Brody School of Medicine at East Carolina University
  • University of North Carolina School of Dentistry, Nursing and Public Health
  • North Carolina Central University School of Nursing
  • North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services
  • North Carolina Department of Military and Veterans Affairs
  • Craven County Federally Qualified Health Center

Graduate Healthcare Administration Training Program

Program Description

Program Description

GHATP is an intensive, 12-month training program that gives trainees opportunities to learn from and interact directly with VHA healthcare administrators and support professionals inside a VAMC Director’s office. Trainees work side-by-side with leaders of state-of-the-art healthcare facilities, expanding the breadth and depth of their knowledge of healthcare management in order to prepare for management positions within VA organizations.

Upon successful completion of the training program, a Fellow is eligible for non-competitive placement into a GS-11 position within the VA health care system.  Preceptors work with the Fellow during the fellowship to find a position that best fits the skills, needs, and circumstances of the Fellow.

Preceptors are responsible to initiate placement discussions six months into the traineeship. Placement takes into consideration the trainee’s strengths, career ambitions, and mobility along with VHA’s workforce and succession needs. The VISN office is expected to place the trainee in one of its facilities at the GS-11 level (non-competitive placement), but the trainee is also free to compete for a higher-level position or positions outside the VISN. Acceptance of a position outside the commuting area, however, carries no guarantee of payment for relocation expenses. Management trainees who fail to cooperate in applying for vacant positions or who decline HSS positions offered to them will not be guaranteed continued VA employment.

A partial listing of the many potential positions open to successful GHATP graduates include: 

  • Staff Assistant to a Senior Executive (Director, AD, COS, ADPCS) 
  • Administrative Officer for a Clinical Service or Service Line 
  • Health Systems Specialist 
  • Business Office Manager 
  • Compliance Officer 
  • Risk Manager  
  • Facility or VISN Planner 
  • Program or Group Practice Manager 

Preceptor Information

The Medical Center Director, Dr. Alyshia Smith, serves as the preceptor to the trainee. Mr. Peter Tillman, Associate Director of Operations, will serve as co-preceptor. Dr. Smith and Mr. Tillman will assist the trainee in selecting projects and activities specific to individual need, growth, and interests, and strongly encourages and supports the participation of trainees in American College of Healthcare Executives (ACHE), National Association of Health Service Executives (NAHSE) and other professional organizations.

The trainee will also closely collaborate with the various leaders of the Durham VA Health Care System. These individuals include the Executive Leadership Team, service chiefs, GHATP alumni, and other medical center staff. Mentoring and education are core components of the training and embraced by senior leaders and managers.

Requirements of the Program

  • Individual Project (Poster will be presented at ACHE Congress in March)
  • Acting Supervisor Positions
  • Data Analytics Project/Experience
  • Public Speaking Skill Development
  • GHATP Monthly Conference Calls
  • GHATP Face to Face Training Events
  • Bi-Weekly Preceptor Meetings
  • Service Rotations

Applicant Requirements

Candidates must be a recent graduate (within the last two years or six years for Veterans) of an accredited graduate degree program. Degrees that qualify include:

  • Hospital administration (MHA, MHSA)
  • Public health administration (MPH)
  • Business administration (MBA) or public administration (MPA) with course work in healthcare administration or management.

How to Apply to Become a GHATP Trainee

  • GHATP fellow recruitment season is approximately November – June. 
  • Recruitment opportunities are posted as Job Opportunity Announcements (JOAs) on USAjobs.gov.
  • Selected candidates are onboarded and must be on station no later than the first Monday of pay period 13 (no exceptions or extensions).
  • The fellowship training year runs from June – June.

Contact Information for GHATP Fellowship:

Shahron James
Executive Assistant/ Strategic Planner to the Director
Durham VA Medical Center
508 Fulton St. 
Durham, NC 27705
919-286-0411 ext. 175972
sharhon.james@va.gov