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Dartmouth Fills the Gap in Health Reform with the Center for Health Care Delivery Science

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I write this as a proud alum of Dartmouth College, a school that has been synonymous with innovation in computer science and liberal arts. When Jim Yong Kim, M.D., Ph.D, became the 17th president of Dartmouth College on July 1, 2009, I knew healthcare would somehow be the next area of innovation.

On May 17, Dartmouth announced it received an anonymous $35 million commitment to establish The Dartmouth Center for Health Care Delivery Science. This gift will advance a new field of study, harnessing the knowledge and expertise of faculty across multiple disciplines from the arts and sciences, as well as from the medical, business and engineering schools. The Dartmouth Center for Health Care Delivery Science will focus on five areas with a goal of improving the quality, effectiveness and value of healthcare for patients, their families, providers and populations. Priorities will include research, education, collaboration, implementation and advocacy. You can read more here: http://www.dartmouth.edu/~news/releases/2010/05/17.html.

Dr. Kim has had a profound impact on a wide range of organizations throughout his distinguished career, including the Harvard Medical School, the World Health Organization and Partners In Health. Dartmouth is no stranger to healthcare. For 30 years, researchers at the College have pioneered the measurement of performance variation in U.S. health care, illustrating the serious value problem in healthcare delivery.

Though many universities have health policy centers, some medical schools offer courses in "medical humanities" and some hospital systems have taken major steps to improve delivery, Dr. Kim said, “we think this is the first to come at these issues in so many ways all under one roof.” Dartmouth-Hitchcock, the health system affiliated with the medical school, will play a large role in the center’s work.

President Kim said the gift will speed Dartmouth’s work on the next stage of needed healthcare reform.

In an interview with Bloomberg, Dr. Kim also stated, “… academic institutions have a huge role to play. We’re creating the center as a clarion call to colleges and universities throughout the country and frankly throughout the world to take seriously the science of health care delivery. In five years, if we’re the only center for health care delivery science, we’ll be very disappointed.”

Dartmouth is opening up tremendous opportunities for all disciplines of the healthcare industry – from vendors to hospitals and other academic institutions. Shaping the current and future of healthcare is critical, and this Center is like a massive task force helping to tackle and solve this problem. Not only do we need to work within industry, but we also must educate students, the future workforce, to think differently, and help to transform the current model. Organizations might look into guest lecturer spots, sponsorships, internships and research, as I presume the curriculum will be based on practical experience plus theory and research.

Dr. Kim is fond of quoting former President John Sloane Dickey in his convocation to students in 1946: “The world’s troubles are your troubles. But there is nothing wrong with the world that better human beings cannot fix.” And any good doctor would say you need to diagnose the problem correctly in order to prescribe the right treatment.  

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Davida Dinerman

Davida Dinerman

Account Director at MSLGROUP

A member of MSLGROUP since 1996, Davida has been entrenched in the agency’s healthcare IT and tech practice groups. She earned her MBA from Babson College and her BA degree from Dartmouth College.

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