President & CEO's Blog

By Gerald Glandon, PhD posted 04-20-2018 10:59


The Value of Professional Meetings

On occasion, a number of things come together in a way that changes how we think about events. A small sampling of recent presenters at our events includes:

  • Our 2018 Graduate Program and Practitioner Workshop (GPPW) featured a marvelous keynote presentation by David Nash, MD, on population health and an extended set of discussions on how best to handle “difficult” conversations led by Ann Rosser. Dr. Nash is a physician, researcher and educator and the dean of the first College of Population Health. Ms. Rosser is a credentialed coach and certified mediator.
  • The GPPW keynote from 2017 was Halee Fischer-Wright, MD, president and CEO of Medical Group Management Association.
  • Last year (2017) the Graham Prize awardee was. David Blumenthal, MD, president of The Commonwealth Fund. He too is an internationally recognized physician and researcher.
  • In 2017, the AUPHA Forum speaker was Jonathan Jean-Marie, vice president at Loma Linda University Medical Center.
  • In 2016, our Annual Meeting presenters were Kevin Alexander, OD, PhD, president of the Southern California College of Optometry and John Glaser, PhD, an accomplished leader in heath information technology.

The point of this list is not primarily their skills, knowledge, professional experiences, or even speaking ability. We seek people such as this and many others because of the diversity of thought that they bring to us. They constitute a widely varied set of individuals that articulate a perspective and professional experiences that often differ from our own. For example, while everyone in our field understands population health, those listening to Dr. Nash in March observed how he used his presentation to elevate the importance of this movement. Similarly, Ann Rosser addressed many of the concerns we have all faced regarding difficult classroom situations but she effectively demonstrated a strategy for handling them. Similarly, Dr. Alexander, in 2016, demonstrated how he effectively implemented interprofessional education at his university.

This diverse input creates value that, while substantial, is difficult to measure. It does support the mission of AUPHA, however, to “foster excellence and innovation in health management and policy education and scholarship.” Because we as faculty train individuals for leadership roles in healthcare organizations, diversity of thought must be an implicit part of the curriculum. Our graduates enter a field with highly diverse professionals all working for a common cause. They must be able to accept and synthesize these often divergent perspectives to succeed. We have a duty to prepare these future leaders with elements of that diversity from day one in our programs. As I have indicated before, AUPHA members have an advantage in that our faculty are already highly diverse by discipline. We often include faculty with health administration, finance, economics, medicine, nursing, public health and many other disciplines. We also increasingly integrate practitioner faculty into our programs. Unlike most other professional education programs, we strive to represent the field that our students will work in.

As we struggle each year to create the programming and find the willing and able keynote speakers, it is essential that we continue our tradition of bringing in people that differ in background and perspective from us. Frankly, it would be much easier on AUPHA staff and our supporting committees to solicit speakers from the many accomplished faculty leaders we have within AUPHA.  We resist that generally. At this year’s Annual Meeting, we will welcome Gary Filerman, PhD, Cynthia Washington, and Anthony Coletta, MD.  While one could argue that Dr. Filerman is “internal” he has always represented a broad perspective on the history and development of health management education. I am sure that this year’s Pattullo lecture will expand our thinking.  Ms. Washington, leading the Institute for Diversity and Health Equity, will likewise inject perspective from her organization. Finally, Dr. Coletta, an experienced general surgeon known for pioneering minimally invasive surgical techniques and now a leader in the insurance industry, will talk about the industry from his perspective.

We will continue to provide value to members during the Annual Meeting and elsewhere by bringing in a diverse array of experiences though our speakers. This is in addition to the networking opportunities, formal education that occurs and even some fun! Hope that we see you in Philadelphia in June.