Bringing the Best of Business to Healthcare


Recent crises and news stories, from Ebola to relatively new health insurance marketplaces, to the rising costs of healthcare, have put a sharp focus on the fact that healthcare, or in many cases, lack thereof, impacts every one of us.

It is one of the most complex and fastest-growing issues of our time, and one where the application of best practices from the world of business holds the potential to help save lives and save millions of dollars. It is also a timely example of how the Ross community is working to make a positive difference in the world in the following ways:

Students working toward futures in healthcare

Our students benefit from being part of one of the greatest universities in the world, with access to the entire University of Michigan campus which boasts top schools in disciplines such as business, medicine, public health, engineering, and others. This creates rich opportunities to exchange information, collaborate, and reach across academic areas to develop the kind of expertise that the next generation of healthcare leaders will need.

That collaborative and innovative education comes to life for our students through classroom learning, hands-on projects, and specialized co-curricular opportunities, such as the Healthcare and Life Science (HLS) Club. This student club has several hundred members and each year hosts a variety of educational and networking events to bring students, recruiters, and companies together. The group’s annual symposium is one of the most popular annual events at Ross, inviting numerous healthcare companies and 150+ students to this two-day event for networking, keynote speeches, healthcare topic panels, and a career fair.

The HLS Club has also worked with the Full-Time MBA Program to pilot a Healthcare Management Concentration at Ross. Healthcare-related electives at Ross and the Schools of Public Health, Law, Public Policy, Nursing, Social Work, and Information, as well as extracurricular activities offered at Ross, will give students the multidisciplinary background to succeed in the healthcare industry.

Our focus on action-based learning through Multidisciplinary Action Projects (MAPs) connects students to real-world healthcare business situations with companies doing leading-edge work. One such company is Aravind Eye Care System, a group of hospitals in India providing quality eye care to the needy, where the MAP team was tasked with enhancing staff engagement and leadership development. All told, 15 percent of all MAPs this year were related to healthcare.

Faculty research in healthcare

Wally Hopp, senior associate dean for faculty and research, joined by Professor Bill Lovejoy worked with colleagues at the University of Michigan Hospital to streamline operational processes, culminating in the book Hospital Operations: Principles of High Efficiency Health Care. Also in the supply chain sector, Professor Ravi Anupindi has studied how to increase the availability of healthcare by optimizing the supply chains for medical equipment, devices, and vaccines in developing countries.

The thread continues among developing countries as Professor Achyuta Adhvaryu examines how, through reform of business models and policies, countries can best leverage their limited healthcare resources, while Professor Paul Clyde leads Michigan Ross students to create and help sustain a long-term project in collaboration with other areas of U-M in the Living Business Model Initiative. This year, the team joined forces with Ugandan clinicians to build a self-sustaining hospital in the East African country.

And back at home, Professors Thomas Buchmueller — who helped implement the Affordable Care Act as a member of the President’s Council of Economic Advisers — along with Professor Sarah Miller examines how this legislation changes policy as well as the consumer experience in the U.S., for example how doctors manage growing demand in the face of more people becoming insured.

Alumni playing critical roles in healthcare

Ross alumni are also making their mark addressing issues like keeping costs under control, improving care, modernizing records, and making better products at a lower cost.

Take for example Nancy Dunlap, MBA ʼ08 and dean of the University of Virginia School of Medicine, who is working to bring more team-based and problem-solving approaches to medical education. Michael Waldrum, MBA ʼ08, is leading a merger between the University of Arizona Health Network and Banner Health that expects to generate $1 billion in new capital and academic investments. Barry Rosenberg, MD/MBA ʼ03, a partner and managing director at Boston Consulting Group, worked on a team that implemented the WHO safe surgery checklist, a set of standards shown to reduce major surgical complications by up to 30 percent, for a large-scale health system.

It is a crucial point in time for the future of healthcare, and we are proud of our students, faculty, and alumni who are bringing the best of business to this critical field in order to truly make a positive difference in the world.

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