Excitement Builds as New Gatton Building Progresses

Posted: April 25, 2016

When a new program reaches its second year, it officially can be referred to as an annual event. By the time it reaches its third year, it is very likely on its way to sustained success. And, by the time that program is ready to begin its seventh year, you would have to call it 'a smash hit.'

Such is the case for the Executive Healthcare Leadership Development Program offered through the Don and Cathy Jacobs Executive Education Center (EEC), now gearing up for year seven. The program is run through a partnership involving the University of Kentucky's Gatton College of Business and Economics, the UK College of Public Health, and UK HealthCare.

Over its first six years, the Executive Healthcare Leadership Development Program has graduated 168 participants from UK's various health colleges, including 38 during its 2014-15 cohort. The program continues to thrive and includes not only UK Healthcare professionals but a wide range of other health care leaders representing external organizations, including critical access hospitals throughout Kentucky.

This certificate program offers health care executives a cutting-edge curriculum tailored to health care organizations while exposing attendees to a wide range of business and managerial skills to strengthen their work environment.

"Now more than ever, leadership in health care requires more than understanding clinical medicine, or financial and business strategy," said Jay S. Grider, medical director of UK HealthCare Pain Services and professor of anesthesiology, who earned his Executive Healthcare Leadership Certificate five years ago. "The successful organization will be led by those who are fluent in both languages and as such, requires understanding of the nuances of how efficient, cost-effective, evidence-based care is provided. UK's Executive Healthcare Leadership Development Program is a huge first step in contemplating this journey."

The director of the Don and Cathy Jacobs Executive Education Center, Joe Labianca, believes the Executive Healthcare Leadership Development Program benefits health care professionals now and in the future.

"As the U.S. health care system shifts from a fee-for-service model toward a more value-based model that emphasizes improving patient care quality while simultaneously more effectively controlling operating and capital costs, health care professionals will need a  heightened knowledge of fundamental business practices in order to advance both their organizations and their careers," said Labianca who is also chair of the Department of Management in the Gatton College. "This program is designed to help these professionals envision the change that will be necessary in their organizations and learn the basic tools to begin acting on that required change."

The Executive Healthcare Leadership Development Program offers a broad spectrum of topics that focus on specific business skills related to the health care environment including business finance, health care economics and strategic marketing. There are also multiple topics related to management including project management, supply chain management, strategic management, negotiation and conflict management, managing with emotional intelligence and managing value chains. Additional topics include decision making, ethics, customer service, team development, leadership models and communications.

"This was a great opportunity to work with leaders from across the enterprise to gain new skills and apply our thinking to real challenges facing UK HealthCare," said Sarah Heck, assistant director of strategy for UK HealthCare and a graduate of the program. "Over the course of the program, I was able to grow as a leader and bring back what I was learning to my team."

Paula Chipko, director of strategy for UK HealthCare, was one of the first set of attendees in the Executive Healthcare Leadership Development Program.

"It was exciting to network with others at similar points in their careers," Chipko said. "In addition, at the completion of the program we were offered opportunities to work on enterprise level problems, which demonstrated the value that UK HealthCare leadership saw in the program. Overall, an excellent experience, which has proven very valuable to me."

UK HealthCare Chief Medical Officer Bernard Boulanger said, "What makes this program unique is that it includes doctors, nurses, physician assistants and administrators in one cohort. The change to a value-based model needs to be driven by a greater interaction and silo-breaking across a wide variety of health care professionals."

Boulanger works in collaboration with Labianca on course development. Instructors leading the program's courses include faculty from the Gatton College, the College of Public Health, and UK HealthCare.

Labianca added, "Programs that are targeted only to one set of professionals can't generate the momentum needed to radically alter the way that health care is being delivered as effectively as a program that brings these professionals together to tackle common problems as we do."

The result, according to Labianca, is that graduates are sparked to initiate change that will have a meaningful impact on their organizations as well as colleagues' and patients' lives and well-being.

The Executive Healthcare Leadership Development Program includes 10 all-day  sessions taught in a highly engaging learning environment and is held at the Hilary J. Boone Center on UK's campus. The schedule, which averages two sessions per month, begins Dec. 16 and concludes on May 11, 2016. In addition to the variety of topics to be covered, guest speakers will be featured.

It is expected that 40 professionals, yet to be selected, will make up the 2015-16 class.

For more information regarding the Executive Healthcare Leadership Development Program, contact Labianca or Debbie Reed, program coordinator for the Don and Cathy Jacobs Executive Education Center, at 859-257-8780, or Sarah Bentley, chief of staff, CMO/CNE Offices, UK HealthCare at 859-257-6467.