President & CEO's Blog

By Gerald Glandon, PhD posted 10-08-2018 11:13


Innovation and Health Administration Education

Fall is a time to reflect on the meaning, purpose, and value of what we do, however, and I cannot help but marvel at what a wonderful time it is to be in healthcare. The innovation spirit around us has energized much of healthcare with the prospects of improvement in the future. Many are arguing that we are on the cusp of fundamental reorientation of the economic and social structure with health (broadly defined) at the center. As educators of the future generation of healthcare leaders, we must and I believe do shape that future with regard to what and how we teach.

Economist Nikolai Kondratieff wrote in the 1920s and 1930s about a “long wave” cycle representing major changes in the social and political order. These cycles of 40-60 years correspond to technological changes that facilitate substantial productivity growth. For example, the second cycle was mass transportation arising from steel and railroads. This cycle transformed economies and social structure from about 1840 to 1880. The fifth cycle was information communication driven by the development of information technology. (see or The thinking is that this fifth cycle ended around the turn of the century and we are now in the sixth cycle.

Cycles are difficult to recognize and define early on but many argue that “holistic health” is that sixth cycle. Major advances in global productivity will arise in this cycle through the application of biotechnology; wellness/fitness; agriculture (nutrition); environmental protection; workplace health management; architecture (healthy living); self-diagnosis, -medication and care; religion/spirituality; and a host of other fundamental changes. These represent a new paradigm for better health and not just better traditional healthcare.

If this is true, all or in part, students positioned to capitalize on the new system must receive proper preparation. The challenge and opportunity for us all will be to innovate all aspects of our curriculum, teaching methods, research and service to prepare leaders in that sixth wave. AUPHA and its members prepare for this future. From our early days, AUPHA and its members have prepared for the future by fully integrating values of continuous learning, innovation, and excellence into our culture. Our graduates have the tools to excel in the current healthcare environment and both the tools and understanding to move into the new paradigm. Our students get jobs and pursue rewarding careers. Innovation, in particular, has become vital to our educational content as change continues and the pace of change continues to increase.

Looking backward we are doing well but we also have an obligation to look forward. We continually look forward as evidenced by our use of the infrastructure to present and share ideas through our meetings, virtual networks, and Journal. We also have the luxury of being an integral part of a rich environment of research and practice with a focus on developing, implementing, and evaluating innovations in all aspects of healthcare. Partners such as ACHE, HAP, AHA, MGMA, HIMSS, HFMA, Peregrine and others help to keep our program content current and salient.

Examination of our meeting themes, publications in the Journal, and discussions in the Faculty Forums reveal a special emphasis on innovation and responding to change. As far back as 2008, the Annual Meeting theme was “Assessing Outcome and Performance in Healthcare Management Education” and one session focused on teaching innovation and entrepreneurship in the health sector. The overall theme of the 2014 Annual Meeting was “Connecting Great Ideas and Great People.” Our Studer Forum consisted of Dr. Regina Herzlinger and colleagues with a program “Teaching Innovation in Healthcare: Making it Work.” Finally, our most recent Annual Meeting had a broader theme of “Looking Back to Look Forward.” The focus on how the past informs our future permeated the programming. A number of sessions had a direct focus on innovation and innovative teaching:

  • Innovations in Healthcare Education: A Collaborative Education Model
  • Acceptance of Innovative Teaching Tools among Healthcare Management Educators
  • Teaching Facility Planning Tools To Healthcare Management Students: Techniques And Lessons Learned

For the upcoming year, we have determined themes for two of our meetings. Annual Meeting, 2019 will be “Resiliency and Relevance in a Time of Change” and the Graduate Program and Practitioners Workshop, 2019 will have the theme “The Art of Leadership:  Teaching, Developing, and Assessing Essential Professional Skills.”

 Similarly, select publications in the Journal of Health Administration Education during the last several years reveals an emphasis on innovation and sharing new information to inform and prepare our members. For example, starting in 2011, Ken White and colleagues examined how to use Baldrige and evidence-based management principles to improve healthcare management and Rosemary Caron and Eddie Hooker pursued how best to include population health into managerial epidemiology. By 2015, Jill Rissi and colleagues wrote about strategies to prepare our graduates during an era of health system reform. Rosemary Caron and Eddie Hooker returned in that year to explore further issues around teaching population health with future healthcare leaders. In 2017, Eddie Hooker and colleagues examined how to utilize a programs practice advisory board to specify curriculum content for population health. Jeremy Green and colleagues took the population health innovation further by detailing how to connect it with a formal economic evaluation.  Zachary Pruitt then developed a case study for outlining a population health strategy for a particular community.

As a last example, our Faculty Forum discussions precede many of these publications. These are too numerous to highlight comprehensively. Needless to say, discussions regarding innovation in healthcare and healthcare management education are front and center in the thinking of educators broadly. We continually explore how best to integrate those innovations into the classroom in most every Forum. Naturally, the Innovative Teaching Forum will address these issues but an innovation will typically influence all components of healthcare management education. They are not isolated events. All of comprehensive healthcare management education must consider how an innovation will change our content.

 These examples are hardly comprehensive and my apologies to important contributions that I did not mention. They do demonstrate clearly that AUPHA members consistently identify, research, apply, and share innovative ideas that our students will require.

 We do have to look outside of our internal framework, however. Later this month, Dr Regina Herzlinger and colleagues are supporting the 2018 Global Educators Network for Health Innovation Education (GENiE) conference in Copenhagen. The title is “Important Health Care Innovations and How to Teach Them.” This program will have contributors and attendees from a number of AUPHA programs. I am presenting at the conference as a representative of AUPHA and will bring back key findings. Excited about continuing to learn.

We have a difficult job but together we can keep ahead of the next wave!