What's in a Name?
> A Letter from the Dean
> Growing Up and Giving Back
> Griffith Leadership Center
> The Michigan Difference at Public Health
Sailing to Success:
> An Atypical Business Adventure
> Dean's Advisory Board
A Lasting Legacy:
> A New Scholarship
Meet the 2008 SPH Alumni Board of Governers
Print | E-mail this article
Griffith Leadership Center
Transformation: A Google search for Health Management and Policy (HMP) Professor John R. Griffith turns up his professional profile, several books, numerous academic papers and citations, and one enthusiastic kudo posted on a Facebook page on July 11, 2008: “John R. Griffith is the man!”
The poster was Antony Scalia, a Master’s in Health Services Administration (MHSA) and Kinesiology graduate who is now completing his studies at Western Michigan University’s physician assistant school. Griffith “is flexible in his teaching style, but also understands the American health care management ‘landscape’from lots of different perspectives,” he wrote in response to a query. “He was the faculty member who interviewed me prior to acceptance, and I knew then that he was a big reason Michigan was (and is still) #1 in our category.”
Also, Scalia adds, “He’s not afraid to toss the eraser at you for a bone-headed answer, either.”
It’s only natural that a center for leadership in health care management should carry the name of one of its most distinguished proponents. John R. Griffith has spent his entire professional life promoting good health care management. An educator at Michigan since 1960, he early on identified what he referred to as “core technologies,” the basics of managing health care institutions, and “a right way and a wrong way to do them,” as he said in a 2001 interview with the Journal of Healthcare Management. His award-winning text, The Well-Managed Health Care Organization, currently in its fifth edition, is widely used in health care management education.
The Griffith Leadership Center in Health Management & Policy (GLC) which is dedicated to “cultivating exceptional leaders who accept the challenge to transform health and health care for the 21st century,” was founded in part by generous gifts from Bob Lane and other HMP alumni in 2004. Now housed in the newly completed SPH Crossroads and Tower, the GLC has a physical facility to support its mission to connect research, teaching, and practice.
“Health care really needs to take the good things various providers/researchers are doing and publicize them better,” explains GLC Managing Director Linda Grosh, MHSA ‘97 and a longtime health care financial director. “As an analogy, if in the retail industry, L.L. Bean or Pottery Barn does something well, everybody copies it. Why in health care when somebody has a proven quality improvement, doesn’t everybody implement it?
“The University of Michigan has always been at the forefront of health services teaching and research, and we have an alumni body that is extraordinarily strong," Paula Lantz, chair, Department of Health Management and Policy.
"I think we have a unique opportunity to harness the experiences of our policy and management alumni, and link them with the faculty and students to make a difference in health care and public health services on a national level,” Lantz adds.
The GLC launched its activities this spring by hosting several mentoring breakfasts, where both first and second-year master’s students met with area alumni. In March, the center co-hosted the Women in Health Care & Bioscience Leadership Conference, which brought together a number of prominent women bioscientists and health care executives. Keynote speaker was Marianne Udow-Phillips, Director of the UM Center for Healthcare Research & Transformation, and former Director of the Michigan Department of Human Services. The conference also included American Medical Association president Nancy Nielsen and leaders from Bristol-Myers Squibb and Catalyst, among others. They discussed women’s career trajectories in health care and outlined suggestions for future research and policy.
The next symposium, “Health Entrepreneurship: Opportunities for Health Care and Public Health,” will take place on November 7, 2008. Co-sponsored by the Center for Law, Ethics, and Health, it will focus on the successes and failures of entrepreneurship in the American health care system and discuss the impact of private enterprise on health care.
“We will be talking about the rapid growth of entrepreneurship in the health care system,” says symposium director Peter Jacobson, HMP Professor of Health Law and Policy, and Director of the Center for Law, Ethics, and Health. “What are the implications for patients, for physicians, and for policymakers? Is a greater transition to market forces good, is it desirable? What are the downsides?”
Jacobson notes that while entrepreneurship is seen today in hospitals and health systems, it’s not a big part of public health practice. Given government budget constraints and bureaucratic difficulties, however, he says the introduction of business ventures in public health may be inevitable. “The discussion I want to have on the public health side is whether entrepreneurship is a viable option… How do you begin to translate and implement entrepreneurship into public health, and will it compromise some of the core values?”
Most experts agree that American health care and the current public health system are in dire need of reform. Paula Lantz believes that with an organization such as the GLC, the University of Michigan is poised to make a critical difference. “Sometimes I think people underestimate the power of a small group of people to really influence the world,” she says. “With our November 7th symposium coming up right after the election, it should be very interesting. What a perfect time to discuss transforming our nation’s health system through entrepreneurship and innovation.”