Skip to Content

Graduate Health Administrative Training Program

The Graduate Healthcare Administration Training Program (GHATP) provides a one-year training opportunity in the Medical Center Director's office. The GHATP is designed to recruit, prepare, and retain highly-qualified individuals to become future leaders in VA.

The GHATP provides an excellent opportunity to gain practical training within a large, integrated health care system. It is a one-year appointment and includes comprehensive rotations throughout the various departments which offer valuable information and excellent opportunities for growth. The trainee is assigned an array of projects to increase their understanding of the diverse facets of healthcare operations and management.

The trainee has unlimited access to executive meetings and committees and is considered part of the leadership team under direction of their receptor, the Medical Center Director. The program is highly flexible, tailored to the interests of the trainee, and requires great initiative and self-management. Working in state-of-the-art facility, the trainee has the opportunity to expand the breadth and depth of their knowledge of healthcare management and place themselves on a path to career success.

GHATP Trainee Eligibility and Qualifying Degrees

Candidates must possess a degree in a major field of study in hospital administration (MHA, MSHA), public health administration (MPH), or related fields such as business (MBA) or public administration (MPA), with course work in healthcare administration or management, from an institution recognized by the Secretary, U.S. Department of Education.

How to Apply to become a GHATP Trainee

  • GHATP trainee recruitment season is approximately November to June.
  • Recruitment opportunities are posted as Job Opportunity Announcements (JOAs) on
  • Inquiries specific to JOAs are to be addressed to the contact listed on the "How to apply" tab of the announcement.
  • Selected candidates are onboarded and must be on station no later than the first Monday of pay period 13 (no exceptions or extensions).
  • The GHATP training year runs from June to June.

Preceptor/Senior Advisors

GHATP Board members consider the selection of the preceptor as the most crucial factor toward ensuring a successful administrative training experience. The preceptor must be a leader who has the education, experience and commitment to provide quality training. Specific criteria are established for the selection of preceptors.

Francisco Vazquez, Medical Center Director, is the preceptor to the trainee. Mr. Vazquez 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) and other professional organizations.

The trainee will also closely collaborate with the various leaders of VA Houston. These individuals include the Senior Management team, service/care line executives, former GHATP trainees now in management positions, and other medical center staff. Mentoring and education are core components of the training and embraced by senior leaders and managers.

Training Structure

The training consists of rotations and project assignments, although other components such as networking and meetings are equally important. The training is designed to develop and define leadership competencies. The High Performance Development Model is used to evaluate the trainee’s progress. This model consists of eight core competencies that serve as the platform for training, mentoring, and projects.

  • Organizational stewardship
  • Systems thinking
  • Creative thinking
  • Flexibility/adaptability
  • Customer service
  • Interpersonal effectiveness
  • Personal mastery
  • Technical skills


The trainee will have the opportunity to manage multiple, diverse projects. Project work will involve many different hospital departments, divisions, and functions. This allows for experience in a sundry of areas including finance, operations, department administration, strategic planning, quality improvement, patient safety, physician relations, information systems, labor management relations, governance and policy, and human resources. Seeking out and taking on projects of personal interest is also encouraged. All projects are reviewed and approved by the preceptor to ensure that they are appropriate and fitting to the growth and interest of the trainee.

In addition, in March of their training year, the trainee will present a formal project presentation for the annual GHATP day and poster competition at the ACHE Congress on Healthcare Leadership in Chicago, Illinois.


The trainee will meet regularly with the preceptor to help discover areas of interest and focus. The trainee is exposed to decision making, leadership, and governance at the most senior level of hospital operations. The trainee will attend daily executive morning and senior level meetings. In addition, they will be invited to a host of committee meetings. These meetings provide a broad perspective of clinical and administrative functions.

Networking Opportunities

GHATP Training Events: The trainee will have the opportunity to attend three training events during the course of the 12-month program with all current GHATP trainees from other facilities.

ACHE Congress (Chicago): This is a yearly conference that brings together healthcare leaders and is designed to learn about emerging issues and trends within the healthcare industry.

Department of Veterans Affairs Central Office Rotation (Washington D.C.): The trainee will have the opportunity to become familiar with congressional and Veterans Health Administration policies and processes.

GHATP Conference Calls: Monthly calls with GHATP trainees from other VA facilities are designed to disseminate information on projects and experiences. Trainees also discuss readings and literature relevant to surfacing trends or hot topics within the VA or healthcare industry.


The trainee will benefit from the culture and environment of VA Houston being an academic institution located in the Texas Medical Center (TMC). The TMC is the largest medical center in the world and is home to many of the nation’s best hospitals, physicians, researchers, educational institutions, and health care providers.

VA Houston's teaching and research models foster a learning atmosphere rich in medical advancement, cutting edge technology, and collaborative partnerships with Baylor College of Medicine (BCM) and other TMC facilities.

The trainee will have a unique opportunity to tour and observe the operations of neighboring facilities such as BCM, MD Anderson Cancer Center, The University of Texas Health Science Center, The Methodist Hospital, St. Luke’s Episcopal Hospital, Texas Children’s Hospital, Memorial-Hermann Hospital, Shriners Hospital for Children, and Harris County Hospital District.