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CYBER CORNER


UC Irvine Health’s CISO on Creating the Next Generation of Healthcare Cybersecurity Leaders


A new leadership program was launched at UT Austin with the goal of addressing the cybersecurity workforce shortage issue in healthcare


By Rajiv Leventhal Sri Bharadwaj


I


n October, officials at The McCombs School of Business at The Univer- sity of Texas at Austin announced a Leadership in Health Care Privacy and Security Risk Management certificate program, which they attest is a first-in- the-nation professional program. The program is designed to develop leaders who can manage risk in Ameri- can healthcare systems, protecting them from fast-evolving cybersecurity threats. There are currently 350,000 unfilled cybersecurity job openings in the U.S., and some estimates note that the cybersecurity workforce gap will hit 1.8 million globally by 2022. Endorsed by the Texas Hospital Association, and by CynergisTek and Clearwater Compliance, two firms in the healthcare cybersecurity, privacy and compliance space, the program brings together industry leaders as teachers and case facilitators. The


eight- week program graduated a pilot class of 16 participants in August 2019. Students ranged in age from their early 20s to their late 50s and included work- ing professionals from cybersecurity, information technology, and clinical fields, as well as military veterans and recent college graduates. McCombs plans to offer the program again in spring 2020. The co-directors of the program are Sri Bharadwaj, chief information secu- rity officer (CISO) at UC Irvine Health in Orange County, Calif., and Leanne Field, clinical professor and director for digital healthcare innovation at UT Austin. “Graduates of the certificate program can expect starting salaries of $75,000 at a minimum,” said Field. Graduates of the program also receive a professional certificate and are able to implement their knowledge in their current jobs or in new positions.


22 hcinnovationgroup.com | NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2019


Bharadwaj, who has been in his role at UCI Health for nearly five years, spoke with Managing Editor Rajiv Leventhal soon after the release of the announcement to discuss the program in greater detail.


Clearly, the goal of this program


is to address the cybersecurity workforce shortage in health- care. Why do you think such a gap exists?


The topic of cybersecurity sometimes just baffles people. Most cybersecurity folks are very tech-oriented; very few really understand how to translate a cybersecurity scenario to the concept of what a layman would think. The way we have [historically] approached cybersecurity in healthcare is that it has been more on the backburner rather than on the forefront of discussions.


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