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Jones Business, MD Anderson collaborate on healthcare executive leadership workshops


Ndidi Nwosu / Thresher

By Maria Morkas     10/5/22 12:09am

Rice University’s Jones Graduate School of Business and the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center launched the Executive Leadership in Healthcare program, a leadership initiative that aims to help healthcare executives efficiently run their organizations.

According to the announcement, these workshops will bring together business school faculty, leaders in medicine and healthcare executives to provide evidence-based insights for healthcare leaders and institutions. They will also give current and emerging healthcare leaders opportunities to learn at the Texas Medical Center, with a curriculum designed by the Jones School.

Courtney Holladay, associate vice president of the leadership institute at MD Anderson, said the purpose of the program is to build leadership skills and the capabilities of healthcare executives across different organizations.

“There’s been a lot of research and evidence that [shows that] positive leadership skills can actually lead to enhanced patient satisfaction,” Holladay said. “It can lead to a reduction in safety errors. There [are] a lot of good [reasons] why leadership matters, and this program is really trying to expand that capacity within organizations.”

The program will host events Feb. 6 - 10 and April 24 - 28 for healthcare executives to explore business tools, frameworks and leadership styles and techniques to help them become more effective leaders within their own organizations.

Brent Smith, senior associate dean for executive education of Jones School of Business, said that MD Anderson and Rice business follow a similar philosophy when it comes to the development of leaders.

“[MD Anderson is] very much aligned with the idea of growing leaders, and they do it very seriously and have worked on creating a series of [internal] programs that’s really designed to ensure that their people are prepared to take on the next significant leadership role,” Smith said. “In the business school … we want to help organizations develop the next generation of leaders across all levels to ensure that the organization can achieve its mission, whether that happens to be MD Anderson or [another establishment].”

Michael Koenig, associate dean for innovation initiatives and executive director of executive education at the Jones School, said that the healthcare industry often has specific rules, regulations, legal issues and information issues, which MD Anderson is adept at dealing with.

“We really feel like the MD Anderson experts in these disciplines linked in with the faculty experts in the business disciplines [are] going to provide opportunities for folks, not just to learn, but to come to us and put it in the context of their organization, [making] their organizations better [and] more impactful at the end of the day,” Koenig said. “That’s what people get into healthcare for — it’s to give people an opportunity to have a healthier and productive life.”

Holladay said that while Rice brings the theoretical knowledge required for leadership, MD Anderson brings the experiential side.

“I think the combination of all of that brings a setting that’s really conducive for learning for these leaders that would be participating,” Holladay said.

Smith said healthcare institutions are operating in financial, strategic and people-challenging environments, given the recently high rates of physician burnout and issues with clinical staff retention. 

“The components of the program are really focused on all of these issues,” Smith said. “So we hope, [in] the small way that we can, that we can contribute to enhancing the quality of healthcare in the United States.”

Some components of the program include healthcare strategy, finance and culture. 

Koenig said that the business school is excited that MD Anderson is providing the time and energy to collaborate on a program.

“[As an educational institution], our faculty are very excited to share knowledge, but they might be even more excited to get their own new knowledge,” Koenig said. “There’ll be a lot of really interesting things that we’ll learn not just from the MD Anderson partners, but from all the professionals that come from around the country and potentially around the world, to engage with us as we help think about solving some really complex, challenging programming challenges around healthcare.”

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