Tuck Contributes to Global Forum on Health and Health Care

Tuck will bring its health care expertise to Japan for a forum organized by the Council on Business and Society.

In March, Tuck will bring its considerable health care expertise to Japan for a forum organized by the Council on Business and Society.

Good health care is a desire shared globally but achieved locally, and approaches to it vary significantly from country to country. And yet, the same challenges exist everywhere: controlling costs, measuring outcomes, figuring out who pays for it, and spurring innovation, just to name a few. These commonalities are the inspiration behind the upcoming international forum, Health and Health Care: At the Crossroads of Business and Society, organized by the Council on Business and Society.

Founded in 2011, the Council is a global alliance of six leading business schools—Tuck, ESSEC in France, Keio in Japan, Fudan University in China, the University of Mannheim in Germany, and Fundacao Getulio Vargas in Brazil—dedicated to increasing the impact of management education on societal challenges. It does this by organizing and convening forums that bring the schools’ faculty and students together to study a specific topic.

The inaugural forum, held in Paris in November of 2012, covered corporate governance and leadership. The second forum, on health care, will take place in March of 2014 at Keio Business School in Yokohama, Japan. Over the course of two days, the forum will hold plenary panels on the role of employers in employee health, technology and innovations in health care, and challenges in managing health care. After the panels there will be parallel sessions on topics branching off the main themes.

Robert Hansen, the Norman W. Martin 1925 Professor of Business Administration, is Tuck’s faculty representative at the Forum. An economist who specializes in public policy, Hansen is the faculty director of Tuck’s Center for Business and Society and teaches the Health Economics and Policy course in the pioneering Master of Health Care Delivery Science (MHCDS) program, which is run jointly by Tuck and the Dartmouth Institute for Health Policy and Clinical Practice. “Tuck brings a wealth of knowledge to the forum,” Hansen said. “Our involvement is not only informed by the MHCDS, but by Tuck’s Healthcare Initiative, our access to health-related entrepreneurship, and faculty with expertise in health care information technology and the effect of consumer choice on health decisions.”

Tuck also brings the support and resources of the Center for Business and Society. As it did in 2012, the center is conducting a survey of students from the schools in the Council, and organizing the research of Council Fellows—Tuck second-year students who work with faculty on a particular question from the forum. This year, 613 students completed the survey, which had qualitative questions about the trajectory of their country’s health care compared with other industrialized nations and the importance of employers being engaged in their employees’ health, among others. The results of the survey will be presented at the forum. “The survey helps people realize there’s another generation of leaders coming,” said Patricia Palmiotto, the executive director of the Center for Business Society, “and understanding what they know and think is very important.”

Erin McInerney T’14, a Council Fellow, helped provide feedback on initial versions of the survey, but the bulk of her work as a fellow was to research variations of employee wellness programs at corporations. McInerney has long been interested in the health care field, something she partly attributes to growing up in a family of health care professionals. Before Tuck, she worked in business development at a medical device company; during her summer internship in 2013 she worked at Medtronics; and when she graduates she will be joining Boston Scientific as a marketing strategy and analysis manager. “I thought being a Council Fellow would be a great opportunity to get a global perspective on health care and take a deeper dive into an area that interests me a lot,” she said.

As a fellow, McInerney is working closely with other fellows and Tuck marketing professor Punam Keller, a world-renowned expert on social marketing and the role of choice in consumer behavior. Their research is covering best practices in corporate wellness, the business case for why companies should implement wellness programs, and the way to measure results from such programs. “It’s been very interesting,” McInerney said. “Not only did we frame the questions we wanted to answer, but we discovered further questions that spurred deeper learning. No one has figured out the best way to do corporate wellness, so I see this work as an important contribution.” McInerney and her colleagues may get the opportunity to present their findings at the forum in March.

Similar opportunities are available for the students from the other schools at the forum, creating a global effort of in-depth research and discussion on business issues they could influence during their careers. “Getting students to make sense of data and participate in conversations at the forum—it expands the breadth and depth of what they know,” said Palmiotto, “and to me that’s the exciting part of helping students learn.”

For Hansen’s part, the Council is exciting because it introduces Tuck faculty to business issues they might not have been aware of. Faculty can then bring those topics back to their classes at Tuck. Hansen has discovered, for instance, that an emerging topic in health care in Europe is the impact of workplace-related stress. “It’s a topic worthy of both research and teaching focus,” he says. “And I look forward to discussing it with my students.”