Health Sector Advisory Council

The Value Proposition

Health Sector Management Program
Fuqua School of Business
Duke University

The Health Sector Advisory Council (HSAC) had its first meeting on June 14, 2002. Five health care executives exchanged ideas with each other, Duke faculty presenters and with selected HSM students and staff. These executives also pledged to make annual financial gifts to the HSM program and recruit more members to this innovative council concept. Since that first meeting the council now enjoys 29 members representing 20 organizations and cumulative contributions over the past decade over $4 million. Tracing back to the initial vision in 2002 and the meetings and members that have followed, we can with 12 years of experience better answer two questions often posed by potential members.

• What is the mission of the health sector advisory council?
• What value does it provide to its members and to the health sector management program at The Fuqua School of Business?

To answer these questions we must briefly look back at the history of management preparation for health care at Duke.

Duke’s commitment to health care leadership preparation

Duke University has been preparing leaders for health care management since 1930. When the Duke University Medical Center opened in 1930 there was the foresight that hospital managers would be needed to lead and manage the hospital with specialized skills. From 1930 – 1961 that training was one of the most respected “certificate” programs, and beginning in 1962 became a highly regarded Masters in Health Administration (MHA) degree. Many Duke certificate and MHA graduates lead and have led health systems and care delivery institutions across the US and around the world.

While hospitals will always play a significant role in health care delivery, they have been joined by innovative suppliers such as pharmaceutical, biotechnology and devices companies as well as insurers, consulting and investment companies; and government research, reimbursement and policy making into the expanded health sector of today. As the scope and specialization within health care grew and changed, so did Duke’s management preparation program. The MHA became associated with The Fuqua School of Business in the 1980’s and in 1991 became an MBA degree.

The HSM certificate was re-vitalized with a new curriculum and new leadership in 1999. Fuqua HSM/MBA graduates needed to be prepared for the specialized economic, regulatory, investment and policy demands in a broadly-defined health sector. That revitalization also included an awareness that expanded teaching and research in health care could not be successful without a stronger link between the school and external health care firms and organizations. The Health Sector Advisory Council was born out of that awareness.

Arguably, HSM graduates are among the best prepared MBAs to join the health sector. Health care companies, including many of the HSAC members, hire Fuqua/HSM graduates every year. Membership in the HSAC gives the member and his/her organization unique visibility among Fuqua students and access to them. HSAC membership is an additional way that companies strengthen their relationship with the school. Yet the mission of the HSAC is not simply to be adjunctive to recruiting. Members play a much more central role in the program. Through their contributions they make expansion of the program possible and Duke can in turn provide them with insights and perspectives they may not find elsewhere. [See attachment with updated information on students and program offerings 2014]

The unique relationship between advisory council members and the HSM program which provides a business perspective on the health sector

Few concerns are more central to the aspirations of human kind than the desire for good health and the eradication of disease and suffering. The Fuqua School of Business is one of a very small handful of business schools offering a health sector concentration. Fuqua believes it is important to the continuing vitality of the health sector that it be analyzed and understood through the business “lens.”

The health system and health care services are at the nexus of science, policy and economics. For the sector to drive out inefficiencies while embracing innovation in a virtuous cycle of continuous renewal, it must be rigorous and self- sustaining as good science, good policy and good business. HSM/Fuqua works to balance these frequently conflicting goals as they analyze new quality improvement, patient access, cost efficiency or innovative services and products. Advisory council members and their organizations benefit from Duke faculty research which informs both the broad public and private understandings of the health system and health care. HSAC members also benefit when MBA graduates bring this learned rigor and insight into their careers upon graduation.

HSAC members are thoughtful and curious executives who are willing to expose their own self-interests and biases to the broad perspectives represented around the advisory council table. These exchanges are frequently sharp, incisive and provide the members with greater insight and deepened appreciation for the increasing complexities in health care. The members personally benefit from the discussions and HSM/Fuqua realizes greater relevance and broadened perspectives in its courses and research.

Portal into Duke University and the broader “university” community research on health

While the “point of entry” is Fuqua/HSM, all of Duke is made available to HSAC members. Duke is a major university making contributions from a variety of departments and disciplines on health. A scan of the cumulative list of presentations is emblematic of the range of departments that engage with the HSAC members: Medical Center, Clinical Research Institute, Public Policy, Law, Engineering. HSAC members participate with the faculty we bring from across the campus. Faculty with important research and insights from other universities, government and non-governmental organizations also take part. Our aim is to work closely with members to ensure we are focused on the issues of importance to them and sourcing many of the best thinkers to engage with them.

HSAC gifts fuel the expansion and high quality of the HSM program

• Expanded outreach to potential students and providing greater support to current students is made possible through HSAC gifts.

• New cases and examples are continually being developed to make courses more relevant and revealing of the current dynamics in the health care environment. Health care data are often expensive and unwieldy to explore the most relevant and interesting questions thoughtful researchers want to answer. Expanded teaching and research are a result of HSAC gifts.

• Students hold annual conferences on health care and travel in groups to areas of the country and abroad to learn about health care opportunities. Students write business plans and compete in the annual Start-Up challenge which now has an arm of the competition exclusively for the life sciences. These student opportunities have expanded over the last five years through the availability of HSAC gifts.

• The HSM certificate concentration in the health sector has been expanded beyond daytime students into the Weekend Executive, Cross Continent and Global Executive formats. This more flexible offering allows students to continue in their current jobs while advancing their general management skills and through HSM courses develop specialized knowledge of the health sector. Here, too, this expansion was made possible, in part, through the involvement and generosity of the council members.

HSAC member gifts do not exclusively resource any single initiative of the program; they support the overall quality and expansion of HSM. HSAC member gifts are NOT used as operating expenses. They are invested to improve the quality of the program, special faculty, student recruitment, research activities and to fund the work of the council itself. In summary, HSAC member gifts help close the gap between Fuqua’s “reach ” to be the best health care-focused MBA program in the world and “grasping” that lofty aspiration.

Fuqua’s vision continues to evolve and future growth plans include:

• adding health care focused faculty in service operations, marketing, management and economics
• open enrollment executive education offerings
• supplementing existing courses and new offerings with more non-US, global health care experiences, cases and research

These goals will only be met through the continued generosity of HSAC members.

The mission and value questions answered

With Duke’s long history in health care and with the recent expansion of the health sector management program in mind, the HSAC mission is to:

• incite dialogue among leaders with contrasting perspectives in health care
• review leading edge theoretical and applied research in health care issues
• increase interaction among HSAC members, Fuqua students and faculty
• create new insights for members about the balancing of innovation, economic, policy and scientific perspectives
• continuously renew the relevance and sensitivity of the health sector management teaching to health care market realities and the perspectives of patients, providers, payers and regulators

The value to HSAC members and their companies is both personal and corporate. The company’s financial gifts and non-financial resource contributions, including perhaps the scarcest resource of all – executive time to participate in council activities – are:

• growing the research and teaching capacity of the leading health-care focused MBA program
• enhancing the member organization’s ability to recruit highly qualified young talent to increase the organization’s competitiveness and pool of future senior executive leaders

• deepening and sharpening the insights of executives through personal participation in dialogue and reflection on an increasingly complex health care environment