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Graduate Certificate in Patient Advocacy


The need for patient advocates — professionals who act as liaisons between patients and the health care provider — is growing as our health-care system becomes more complex. 

The University of Toledo is among a handful of schools in the country offering educational programs in this field. It is designed to provide knowledge about contemporary legal and health care issues in the field of Patient Advocacy, thereby assisting individuals working with patients in today’s health care environment.  Our Fast Facts (PDF) sheet provides an overview of our Patient Advocacy Graduate Certificate program; view and/or download our brochure (PDF).

Media about patient advocacy

The two-semester, four-course sequence credit program in Patient Advocacy is a 100 percent online program that can be completed in two semesters. Courses are accessible 24/7 through distance education methods over the Internet.  At the end of the student’s program, a guided study will give them the opportunity to concentrate on areas related to Patient Advocacy that they would like to explore further.

Admission requirements:

  • Application
  • Official transcripts for all schools attended
  • One letter of recommendation
  • Statement of purpose
  • Plan of study

To Apply for the Program:

The Patient Advocacy Graduate Certificate program is open to anyone with an undergraduate degree (with a 3.0) from an accredited college or university. After you have created a PIN and Login, please make sure you complete the "Grad App" for admission. To apply online, click here.

Many students choose to pair a certificate with a degree program. Those who are currently enrolled in a graduate degree program can add this certificate to their current program by completing this form and submitting to the graduate studies office.

Current tuition and fees (select the current finance brochure)

Course of Study

Fall Semester

Introduction to Patient Advocacy
(LGL: 6300, 3 credit hours)

  • Introduction to public and private health care delivery systems
  • Patient advocacy defined
  • Patient advocate employment opportunities
  • Discussion of  basic legal and ethical issues
  • Patient’s Bill of Rights
  • Self Determination Act
  • HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act) requirements and violations
  • Basic medical terminology
  • Medicare and Medicaid
  • Fraud and Abuse

Legal Issues in Patient Advocacy
(LGL: 6500, 3 credit hours)

  • How the US legal system functions and how it impacts patients in health care institutions
  • Confidentiality issues
  • Wills
  • Powers of attorney
  • Mental incompetency
  • Discrimination issues
  • Tort law/negligence
  • Mediation/negotiation
  • Ombudsman ethics
  • Legal ethics

Spring Semester

Health Issues in Patient Advocacy
(LGL:6400, 3 credit hours)

  • U.S. health-care delivery system
  • The health-care team and their roles
  • Types of health-care providers and their liability
  • Government-managed health-care issues
  • Protecting the privacy of medical information
  • Medical ethics and ethics committees
  • Ethics committees
  • Health Care Policy

Guided Study in Patient Advocacy Topics   
(LGL:6600, 3 credit hours)

  • Exploration of patient advocacy topics or issues
  • Advanced study of journal articles, research, readings, and case studies
  • Online postings and discussions
  • Culminating reflective paper or thesis on a topic in the field of patient advocacy

After the program, you will be prepared to:

  • Appreciate the unique needs and legal rights of patients;
  • Understand the laws and legal issues related to patient advocates working in various health-related professions;
  • Develop an understanding of the history of health care and its development into our current health-care system;
  • Describe the legal, regulatory and ethical matters patient advocates may face;
  • Understand medical ethics, ethics committees and public health-care policies; and
  • Develop and participate in a guided study on a focused patient advocacy-related area
For more information about the program, view our informational brochure (PDF) and Fast Facts (PDF) or contact 

Debra M. O’Connell, BA 
Program Advisor, Patient Advocacy Certificate Program
419-530-5421 or



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Last Updated: 6/19/15