The UC Davis Graduate School of Management and Medical Center have teamed up to create a program aiming to combat mismanagement of health care funds.
Students within the Graduate School of Management will now have the opportunity to earn an MBA with an emphasis in public health by completing 12 units taught by the Department of Public Health Sciences.
“This is a fairly unique option within the management track,” said James Stevens, assistant dean of student affairs at the Graduate School of Management. “This really does bring together the basic management principles and education of the GSM and enhance it with direct coursework in public health.“
John Troidl, an academic administrator at the UC Davis Department of Public Health Sciences said that the idea was partially inspired by the California Department of Public Health.
“They’re looking into the possibility of health reform in our country and know that we’ll need more people who know both management and public health,” he said. “Management goes beyond a one-by-one approach and instead deals with substantial issues at the population level.“
Stevens said they’ll be meeting with the California Department of Public Health next week to discuss the program, and that the Graduate School of Management works closely with both private and public industries to determine what the market needs are.
“Representing one-sixth of the nation’s economy makes health care the largest industry in the United States – and a logical starting point for a union between the Department of Public Health and the Graduate School of Management,” Stevens said.
Health care spending in the United States reached $2.4 trillion in 2008, according to the National Coalition on Health Care, and is projected to reach $3.1 trillion in 2012.
“This spending accounts for 16.2 percent of our GDP, but without increase in the nation’s health status,” said Troidl. “The same service is costing more and we’re getting the same mediocre results.“
The “results” – the nation’s health – are measured in terms of longevity, health disparities among different populations and also how many years we have of healthy living, Troidl said.
“As we age, do we so healthily? Compared to other countries, we don’t,” he said. “If we can help the population be healthier throughout their life span then it’s better for all of us and less expensive – prevention is a way of saving money.“
Troidl believes these MBAs with public health emphasis will be able to make critical decisions and provide valuable leadership in the health sector going forward.
“We think they’ll be very employable – they’re people who would be good executives and good leaders who understand the population perspective – which is increasingly being considered important by everyone” he said.
Five of the 10 largest employers in the Sacramento area are health care associations – something Stevens believes will factor into future enrollment numbers.
“Two of our first-year students in the MBA program specifically chose UC Davis because of this option, and I think more people will be looking here because of it,” Stevens said.
MIKE DORSEY can be reached at email@example.com.