Greetings prospective HSMers! Fall Terms 1 and 2 were a busy and exciting time in the Health Sector Management (HSM) program, with weekly academic seminars, the November healthcare conference, and the December Town Hall meeting. These events kept us busy, engaged, and constantly learning.

Each Wednesday morning during Fall 1 and Fall 2 the entire HSM first-year class attended a seminar led by a different prominent player in the healthcare management field. For example, we heard from Richard Bartlett and Krishna Udayakumar from the Duke-based International Partnership for Innovative Healthcare Delivery. They both spoke about SalaUno, a center that provides affordable cataract surgeries in Mexico. In another seminar, Paula Garrett from Eli Lilly spoke about the power of consumer insights and segmentation by using Cialis as a case study. These seminars were a highlight of my week— I had the opportunity to catch up with my HSM classmates and participate in lively conversations about current issues facing the world healthcare market. The speakers and our discussions were very informative.

The November Duke Healthcare Conference was a day packed with speakers and networking. For me, the most interesting parts of the conference included the closing keynote by Jeff Henderson, the CFO of Cardinal Health, and a session on health insurance exchange implementation featuring panelists, some of whom were HSM alum, from Blue Cross Blue Shield, Deloitte, the State of North Carolina, and Aon Hewitt.

Cardinal Health CFO Jeff Henderson delivering the keynote at Fuqua's Healthcare Conference
Cardinal Health CFO Jeff Henderson delivering the
final keynote

The day concluded with a networking session for first years where we were able to interact with panelists and ask follow-up questions, as well as learn more about internship opportunities at various healthcare firms. I was thrilled to be able to speak with alumni from some of my top-choice firms for my summer internship. I left the healthcare conference grateful for the strong Fuqua HSM alumni network. I valued the opportunity to learn from alumni working in various aspects of the healthcare sector who shared unique insights about their work by serving as conference panelists or while interacting during the networking event.

In December, a group of HSMers gathered on a Friday evening for a “Town Hall” event right before Fuqua Friday to hear from Dr. Brian Caveney, Vice President and Medical Director of Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina. This session was an informal question-and-answer discussion in which Dr. Caveney discussed changes in the health insurance marketplace that resulted from the Affordable Care Act (ACA). It was fascinating to hear about these changes from the payer perspective. I had read frequently about payers’ reactions to the ACA in the news, but hearing about these issues firsthand gave me additional context to better understand the situation. I have been able to apply what I learned during this talk in subsequent HSM classwork and even in my internship interviews.

With so many healthcare topics in the news and rapid changes in the industry, it’s beneficial to have healthcare events on campus to keep me in the loop on what’s happening in the real world. I think that the analytical perspective we get from these events—and the HSM program as a whole—provides the tools we need to be future managers and decision-makers in the healthcare field.