Brigham Young University's interdisciplinary Healthcare Leadership Collaborative is already filling a critical gap in the healthcare industry.
If you’ve ever waited for hours to be seen in the ER or been surprised by a sky-high medical bill, you’re probably familiar with the shortcomings of the U.S. healthcare system. As BYU Marriott School of Business professor Bill Tayler put it, “The healthcare crisis our world faces is not a medicinal crisis — it’s a business crisis. The industry itself needs healing.”
The list of problems is long, including supply chain issues, inaccessibility of care, skyrocketing pharmaceutical costs and labyrinthine insurance policies, to name just a few. Luckily, there are people working on viable solutions, including many at BYU.
Tayler is the academic director of BYU’s burgeoning Healthcare Leadership Collaborative (HLC), a cross-campus organization that connects BYU students to an extensive network of healthcare industry experts, providing them with valuable experiential learning opportunities. And now a newly approved minor in healthcare leadership offered by BYU Marriott will help students be more prepared to tackle healthcare industry challenges.
“The U.S. has a first-rate healthcare delivery system on the clinical side, but we desperately need people behind the scenes to help orchestrate exceptional care on the business side,” said Britt Berrett, who was recently appointed the first managing director of the HLC. “BYU has an amazing business school, and I would love to see mission-driven BYU alumni improve the way we care for God’s children.”
The healthcare leadership minor will be available to all students and will offer an overview of the business aspects of healthcare. Covered topics include healthcare finance, information systems, government regulation and more. Though the new minor is based in the Marriott School of Business, it is designed to serve students from a wide range of majors.
“Healthcare involves hospitals and insurers, medical technology and pharmaceutical companies, consulting, law, data analytics, public health, IT, policy makers and retail firms, doctors, nurses and more,” said Tayler. “If we want to solve the problems of healthcare, we need to look outside our functional silos and see the big picture.”
Courses in the minor will involve virtual and in-person visits from alumni and others who work in these fields. “In our program, it’s not just theoretical, it’s not just textbook, it’s the real deal,” Berrett said. “We connect students with healthcare industry leaders who can teach from experience and show how to apply smart business practices to healthcare.”
Berrett, a fellow of the American College of Healthcare Executives who holds a Ph.D. in public administration, has been involved with the HLC since its inception and brings extensive experience to his new role. Prior to his career in education, he served for over 25 years as a president and CEO of several large hospitals. BYU graduates have already benefited from mentorship by experienced leaders like Berrett.
“Britt’s visit to BYU in 2007 gave me the idea of going into healthcare in the first place,” said BYU alumnus Ben Smalley, who traveled to Texas as a student and shadowed Berrett at the hospital for a day at Berrett’s invitation. Smalley is now CEO of Cassia Regional Hospital with Intermountain Healthcare. “Britt has continued to be a mentor and resource to me for the past 15 years,” he added.
For other alumni, the HLC’s coursework, which will now be organized into the new minor, has already been invaluable.
“I came back to school knowing almost nothing about the healthcare industry,” said Michal Washburn, who served as the graduate president of the HLC’s student association before completing her MBA in April. “Taking classes about specific business healthcare topics prepared me to work in that field. I feel like solving problems in healthcare is part of my life’s mission, which I wouldn’t be able to fulfill without the HLC.”
As these opportunities and experiences attest, the lessons students will learn in healthcare at BYU will have wide-ranging effects. “The HLC is helping us take our impact on this industry to the next level,” Tayler said. “And when we improve the healthcare industry, we improve — and save — lives.”
More information can be found on the Healthcare Leadership Collaborative website. Additionally, the HLC will be hosting its fourth annual BYU Healthcare Industry Network Conference on September 29–30, where professionals from across the healthcare industry will gather to hear from top industry experts and to network with other alumni and current students.