A new center at UCLA aims to explore the management of health care organizations.
The UCLA Jonathan and Karin Fielding School of Public Health launched its Center for Healthcare Management on June 24, according to a press release. The center will serve as a home for anyone interested in learning how to manage health care centers, from graduate students to seasoned academics and medical practitioners, said Laura Erskine, the center’s director.
Health care management involves combining business skills and knowledge with the unique attributes of the health care industry, said Leah Vriesman, UCLA’s director of Executive Programs in Health Policy & Management and an adjunct associate professor at Fielding.
“The health care industry operates on very different principles than general business and so our graduate students, and potentially undergrad (students), need to have an understanding of the industry and the context in which they’re entering.” Vriesman said.
The center is intended to create a multidisciplinary space for faculty from different schools within the graduate institution, Vriesman said. It will also complement the Fielding school’s Center for Health Policy Research, she added.
“The goal is one, to create a home for collaboration inside UCLA (with) disparate faculty, but also to create a space where health care managers and professionals interact with scholars and push the field forward (so) it’s not just theoretical (and) research-based.” Vriesman said.
Richard Sinaiko, one of the center’s donors and an adjunct associate professor at Fielding, graduated from the school in 1977 and has worked in health care management since.
Sinaiko hopes the center can build relationships with both medical and nonmedical institutions across campus.
“(We) will have affiliations with, for instance, faculty in the law school, medical school, business school,” he said “We can get a really broad-based education experience for the students and exposure to all these different disciplines.”
These multidisciplinary relationships will help draw attention to the school and program on a national level while continuing to attract students, Sinaiko said.
Erskine said the center is currently virtual, with hopes to eventually establish a physical presence.
“In its initial phases, the center is sort of held together by the people who participate in it,” Erskine said. “Some of our communication will be through our website, some of our communication will be in events.”
The center will become the new host of the Paul Torrens Health Forum at UCLA, an established monthly gathering during which practitioners and academics come together to discuss relevant public health issues.
Like the center itself, these panels are interdisciplinary in nature, Erskine said.
“We may have academics, we may have physicians, we may have engineers, we may have, you know, people who are in administrative roles,” Erskine said “It just really depends on what the topic is.”
The center also plans to host an annual health care-based case competition.
“It’s a format that allows students who are studying health care management to come together to address a challenge,” Erskine said “Participating in a case competition really allows students to put into practice a lot of the knowledge that they gained during their coursework, they’re addressing a real problem that a real institution is facing.”
Sinaiko said his career experience led him to believe that graduate education in the area of health care management is becoming increasingly important.
“Our health care system is incredibly complex,” Sinaiko said. “If you have any interest in being involved in it, having this kind of education is crucial.”