Psychiatry

Four from U of I Psychiatry Faculty and Staff Complete Master of Health Care Delivery Science Program at Dartmouth

Dartmouth Master Program Students

By ANDY GOODELL

Associate Writer, Department of Psychiatry 

“The problems of health care throughout the world are not primarily ones of medical knowledge or even political will—they are problems of effective management and execution.”

The statement above, from the Dartmouth Master of Health Care Delivery Science Program, summarizes the core problems this unique training program was developed to address. Specifically, the program was designed to deliver “this specialized knowledge to a diverse, global group of participants—the managers and professionals who are poised to be the health care leaders of tomorrow.”

Over the past few years, the University of Iowa Carver College of Medicine has sponsored two groups to participate in this innovative program. Four of the six members of the second group (pictured above), who just completed the program in January, were from the Department of Psychiatry: Drs. Alison Lynch, Jennifer McWilliams, and Carolyn Turvey and Betsy Hradek, an Advanced Registered Nurse Practitioner. Garen Carpenter, Interim Chief of Staff with hospital administration, was the fifth member of this group.

Each of these team members were chosen for their specific skills and areas of expertise. Lynch is a clinical associate professor of psychiatry, as well as family medicine at UI Hospitals and Clinics. She directs one of the few combined residency training programs in Psychiatry and Family Practice nationally, and as such is on the forefront of the efforts to integrate psychiatric and primary care. Turvey is psychologist and an associate professor of Psychiatry and Epidemiology, and is internationally known for her work in using telehealth to expand access to homebound patients with psychiatric disorders. McWilliams is a child psychiatrist who has also been involved in expanding access to child psychiatric services via telehealth and through collaboration with pediatricians and integrated care teams. Hradek has been the team leader for UIHC’s IMPACT program, which provides comprehensive services to those patients whose needs cannot be met with traditional services.

The goal was to select the best people, equip them with state of the art knowledge, and have them apply what they have learned to the most pressing needs here at home. 

Emerging leaders gaining perspective

The group from U of I joined a class of about 50 individuals who are leaders or emerging leaders in health care from all over the world.

The diversity of expertise among her classmates has been inspiring for Lynch. She said there are nurses, social workers, as well as physicians in academia, private practice, and the military enrolled. There are also those who work in the health insurance industry who are students in the program. Together, they are learning how to transform health care delivery in as many positive ways as possible. Lynch noted that the issues in the health care industry can be approached better when people from multiple fields work together.

“Just listening to the contributions and perspectives and ideas from people that came from a totally different perspective than I did made me very aware that this was only going to be solved if we all work together,” says Lynch, later adding that the best work is going to happen when “we have our idea and someone else has their idea and we share good ideas and then all of a sudden we get to use both good ideas.”

One of the best examples of why it’s important to have people from numerous fields within health care working together can be seen through the contributions from those in the insurance industry, noted Turvey. She said they have provided a positive perspective on where they’re coming from in approaching health care issues.

It really is all about who you know. Those with the UI Hospitals and Clinics’ Psychiatry Department are networking with the best while enrolled in the Dartmouth program. This happens during some of their time while interacting via the Internet, as well as during four “on-ground” sessions at Dartmouth in Hanover, New Hampshire over the course of the program.

Oftentimes this networking goes on even after graduation. With networking, innovation can arise.

“We need to be innovative about how we deliver health care,” McWilliams says. “And so, we really need to take more of a business perspective.”

Learning from how others view an issue, especially in health care, is highly valued by Dartmouth students from the UI Hospitals and Clinics’ Psychiatry Department.

“It really builds a stronger connection,” McWilliams says.

During her time in the program, Hradek has had the rare opportunity to work with people from various health care organizations.

“I think that bringing all of those people together is consistent with what we’ve learned about what it’s going to take to actually improve the quality and reduce the cost of U.S. health care,” says Hradek.

This learning model certainly bodes well with Hradek, adding that the utilization of technology has been another bonus.

“I think Dartmouth has just mastered it,” Hradek says. “They just do a tremendous job.”

Applying their knowledge

So, what does the Psychiatry Department and UI Hospitals and Clinics stand to gain from the Dartmouth master program?
According to those students in the program from the UI Psychiatry Department, there’s plenty of greatness on the horizon because of what they’ve learned.

Part of Lynch’s role at UI Hospitals and Clinics has been to teach a residency program. She said that what she’s learned in the Dartmouth master program will be helpful in her capacity as an instructor.

“I’m very interested in looking for opportunities to add this material to the kinds of things that I teach,” says Lynch, adding that she’ll bring new skills and perspectives to the Department of Psychiatry that she’s learned through the Dartmouth program.

After her 2014 graduation from the program, Hradek plans to bring a wealth of knowledge back to the Psychiatry Department at UI Hospitals and Clinics, including ways to look at changing payer models for health care and how to create value for patients with those changes. McWilliams said her Dartmouth experience has been a great way to think about solutions, rather than gripe about problems in health care. Lynch’s overall sense of the health care industry has been impacted by her experience with the Master of Health Care Development Science Program at Dartmouth.

“It has been an extremely stimulating and energizing experience,” says Lynch. “I think there are a lot of things that are moving us in the right direction.”

McWilliams pointed out that there is a growing pool of people at UI Hospitals and Clinics that understand the philosophies of business and medicine need to work together. Mental health care, in particular, stands to gain, says McWilliams.

“If there’s a place to be innovative and to be strategic, it going to be mental health care,” McWilliams says. “This program has been a really solid investment in helping the University of Iowa, and specifically our department, be on that leading edge and give us a unique perspective."

To learn more about the Master of Health Care Delivery Science Program at Dartmouth, visit http://mhcds.dartmouth.edu/.