Chair's Blog January 2018

By Keith J. Benson, PhD posted 01-18-2018 09:43


New Year, New Beginnings, and a chance to Look Forward

Last week, the semester started at Winthrop and, as I have for many years, I showed the Did You Know (Shift Happens) video in the Introduction to Healthcare Management Class.  The first video came out in 2007 and was created by Karl Fisch, and modified by Scott McLeod.  I show this video to start a discussion with students, specifically focusing on two key facts.  The first is we are currently preparing students for jobs that don’t yet exist, using technologies that have not yet been invented. The second is that the amount of technical information is doubling every two years.  That means for students starting a four-year technical degree, half of what they learn in their first year will be obsolete by their senior year. This video serves as a great discussion starter. I am trying to have these young undergraduate students realize how dynamic the workplace and the importance of lifelong learning. 

This year, I had the table turned on me a bit when one of the students asked what I thought the future of health care would look like. My spontaneous response was that the ACA is still a work in progress and government’s role in HC will change; more mergers and acquisitions will take place within the industry, and there will be both a more population health focus for health care organizations and more personal accountability for individual patients. Later, I thought more in-depth about the student’s question and possible implications for AUPHA.

After contemplation, my thought is now, more than ever, it is important for AUPHA to take a leadership role in defining both the education of health care managers and the field of health care managers. The steps and actions we take now could have a major impact and lasting influence in the delivery of health care.  The second is we need to focus even greater on diversity and inclusion.  With this statement, I mean a broader focus than the traditional diversity categories of race, gender, ethnicity, and sexual orientation.  This are important topics that need continuing improvement but we need to add working with other health care professions, helping inform health policies, and working with non-health care organizations to improve the health of the population to diversity and inclusion. Instead of focusing just on our differences, we need to start building on our commonalities.  Our differences bring value to the equation in improving health, but real improvement will come when we value those differences AND build on our commonalities.  With that said, I think we in the health care management education profession have a tremendous opportunity to be a positive force of change.

On a related note, I want to share what the AUPHA Board and staff have working on. The bylaws are under review and are in the process of seeking feedback from legal counsel. The 2018 Annual Meeting is starting to take shape with the inclusion of the Global Symposium.  A thorough and comprehensive review of the strategic plan has been completed and some updates will be forthcoming.

On a closing note, I want to thank the Graduate Program Committee for planning the Graduate Program & Practitioner Workshop March 27th, in Chicago.  It looks like a great meeting is planned with and an informative keynote speaker. I hope to see you there.

Best Wishes for a great semester!