Capstone in Consumer Health Advocacy helps with family care

Brent Schmaling enrolled in the University of Wisconsin-Madison’s Consumer Health Advocacy program for personal reasons. His father is disabled, and Schmaling needed to learn all he could about helping him navigate the health-care system. After he earns his Capstone Certificate, he hopes to help others as well.

The Capstone Certificate program in Consumer Health Advocacy is aimed at people taking care of loved ones, lawyers who need to interpret medical issues, and doctors or nurses who want to learn more about the health care system. The field of health care advocacy is projected to grow more than 20% in the next decade, and UW-Madison’s program offers easy entry with online classes.

“The flexibility of the program has been terrific, in that we’re able study at our leisure,” Schmaling says. “The online experience, the forums, and the discussion boards we use have been great in learning the material and exploring it in-depth.”

Time in the real world

Schamling has been impressed by the instructors’ breadth of knowledge, along with their practical experience.

“I think the thing that makes them effective is not only their background in academia, but their time in the real world, applying the things they teach us.”

Schmaling also appreciates the chance to build a professional network in the Consumer Health Advocacy program.

“I think I’ll tap into the cohort I’m studying with throughout my professional career,” he says. “They’re an amazing group of people from multiple disciplines. I think the knowledge we’ve gained and the experiences we’ve had together will just enhance our relationships later on as we move into our careers.”

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