This November marks six months since our Class of 2017 received their Master of Business Administration. To celebrate this milestone, we checked in with some of our physicians to ask what they have been up to and how their degrees have been helping them at work. Read more below how they have been able to apply their learning below:
Dr. Aristides “JR” Cruz
The Heller School’s Executive MBA for Physicians program helps strengthen and solidify physicians’ instincts to change things for the better. My experience with the program provides a real-life example for this. As a Pediatric Orthopaedic surgeon, I treat children with broken bones on a daily basis. When I arrived at my current institution, I noticed that kids were routinely receiving XRAYS in the Emergency Department after their bones were set, despite the use of XRAY during the actual procedure of setting their bones. To me, this was a potential waste of time, resources, and also may have been exposing children to more radiation than necessary. After asking colleagues both in my department and the emergency department as to why we were ordering these XRAYS, answers varied from: “we have to make sure the bone was set correctly” (reasonable) to “that’s just how it’s always been done” (not so reasonable). I decided that this practice and process was ripe for change and the tools learned during my 16 months as a student in Heller’s EMBA program provided me with the knowhow to accomplish this.
Operations Management taught me how to map out the process and find targets for change. Relational Coordination taught me how to engage all the people involved in the process and obtain buy-in to work as a team to change it. Management of Healthcare organizations taught me how complex healthcare systems are and how difficult it can be to change even a seemingly simple process. In fact, each class taught me pieces of what I needed in order to accomplish this goal. After almost two years of work, this project resulted in a better process for patients, parents, and providers and has been also recognized as important from professional peers resulting in publication of our results in a peer-reviewed journal (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/29049266). The Heller School’s EMBA program was instrumental in this achievement and has sparked my nascent interest in the science and discipline of medicine and management.
Dr. Heidi Larson
I am using every bit of what I learned in our EMBA Program, from strategy to financial accounting, operations and leadership and organizational behavior. I am combining all my newfound skills with my 20 years of family medicine experience as the Medical Director for Population Health at Eastern Maine Medical Center. Working with patients and families, clinicians and administrators, I am helping to manage costs and utilization through a grant-funded research project I developed to help reduce our rates of readmission to the hospital. I am involved in developing strategy around MACRA and, through the ACO, looking ahead to ways we can redesign our practice workflows to prepare us for the transition to value-based payment models.
The health policy and legislative training I received at Brandeis was instrumental in helping me to get involved at the State level with Advance Care Planning/Maine’s Death with Dignity Act, and also with Maine Providers Standing Up for Healthcare. I have presented testimony at the State legislature and also communicated directly with Senator Susan Collins on important issues regarding how we care for the most sick and vulnerable among us. “Health equity as a social justice contract” is near and dear to my heart, and a topic I will advance at every opportunity.
I am very grateful for the experience and inspiration of this MBA Program. I am especially thankful to my incredible classmates without whose support and engagement with lively debate I would not be doing any of this.
Dr. Michael Lynch
Since graduation in May, I have continued to work as an ED doc and have continued my role as Chair of Emergency Medicine. In addition, I am Chair of the Concord Hospital Trust, which oversees the use of philanthropic funds. I have also joined one of the oversight boards for the hospital corporation. Although I have not changed jobs, my experience in the Brandeis EMBA has forever changed my perspective on health care and the lens through which I view not just medicine but the world. And, consistent with the themes that Jon laid out for us as we began our journey, I have learned and continue to challenge assumptions, my own and those of my colleagues. As I said many times, I thought I would like the program and the learning, but I didn’t know how much I would love it and how many wonderful people I would meet. I miss being with that crew, both my classmates and the professors and the admin team.