Obesity, Cardiac Disease, Diabetes: Business Solutions for a Global Epidemic

The Duke MBA Health Care Conference was another successful flagship event for the Health Care Club. With the health care industry booming, and implications related to public health spanning across multiple industries, the Health Sector Management program opened the doors to the rest of the Fuqua community for this special event.

Sponsors from Genentech, the Health Sector Management program at Fuqua, GlaxoSmithKline, Johnson & Johnson, Merck, Amgen, Eli Lilly, and Becton, Dickinson and Company made this professional and enjoyable event possible. Attracting health and business experts from across the country as well as from our very own Duke University and local Research Triangle Park, the conference featured some highly respected speakers, panel discussions, and a post-conference networking event. The Health Sector Management program’s strong connections to the industry brought forth a wide range of speakers from Medtronic, HEALTHeME, Global Diabetes Brands, Merck, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina, Tenet Healthcare Corporation, Ethicon Endo-Surgery, Teleflex Medical, and Becton, Dickinson and Company.

The main topic of choice for the conference revolved around a growing problem in the U.S. regarding sugary foods—the main point being the impact of less than stellar eating habits on susceptibility to obesity and other serious health concerns. Opening speaker and former food industry executive Hank Cardello kicked off the event with a presentation on the food industry and the way Americans respond to the availability of such highly caloric options. Further talks throughout the day included topics such as the future impact of obesity, cardiac disease and diabetes on industry players like payers, providers, and pharmaceutical, medical device, and biotechnology companies.

What made the event even more important, however, were the discussions surrounding impacts on global health and ideas on how to approach these challenging issues with a business and health-focused mindset. Bringing such widespread issues to light allowed not only the HSM students but also the rest of the MBA class to get actively involved and explore some very complex industries. With interview season just around the corner, the enhanced industry knowledge students received should prove helpful and rewarding.