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Steven Schwaitzberg, MD

Steven Schwaitzberg, chair of surgery, says the accelerated MBA will equip trainees with business skills instrumental in providing excellent systems and programs of care.

UB Offers Kaleida-Sponsored MBA for Surgery Trainees

Published November 23, 2016

UB has partnered with Kaleida Health to develop a sponsored MBA health care management track that allows surgical residents to earn the degree with only an additional year of training.

Kaleida is providing tuition for the program, which the American Board of Surgery recently approved under its flexible training rotation for the general surgery residency.

Training Clinicians to Build Better Processes

“When I heard about this opportunity, I knew it was too good to pass up.”
Rafael Perez, DO
Surgery resident

The Accelerated MBA for Residents and Fellows is tailored to postgraduate medical trainees at UB.

While it has been launched in the Department of Surgery, it is applicable across a wide range of clinical specialties in medicine and health care.

Erin O’Brien, assistant dean and director of graduate programs for UB’s School of Management, describes the program as a “unique collaborative model” that establishes a “triumvirate relationship” between UB, its surgical residency and Western New York’s largest health care provider.

“We have fully integrated the MBA into the residency so that the student will act as a business consultant working on projects that deliver immediate benefits to Kaleida,” she says.

Health care has been a growing strategic focus in the School of Management, O’Brien notes, with 16 percent of current MBA students participating in a health-related graduate program.

Stakeholders’ Collaboration Key to Developing Program

The sponsored MBA program would not have been possible without the enthusiastic participation of all partners, particularly Jody L. Lomeo, chief executive officer of both Kaleida Health and Great Lakes Health, the consortium that includes Kaleida, Erie County Medical Center and the Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences.

“We have tremendous talent in the health care system and throughout the university,” Lomeo says. “When you pair that with the MBA in a physician who has the passion and desire to make things better, we’re all going to benefit.”

The program received critical support from Paul Tesluk, PhD, dean of the School of Management; Michael E. Cain, MD, vice president for health sciences and dean, Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences; and the Office of Graduate Medical Education.

Recognizing Need for Clinicians with Management Savvy

Plans to develop the program got a boost from Steven D. Schwaitzberg, MD, chair of surgery, who has long been interested in the complex relationship between business and health care.

“The Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences is home to the third largest surgical residency in the U.S., and we offer great training with all of our hospitals participating,” he says. 

“But in order to succeed in this increasingly complex health care system, we need clinicians who also have the necessary finance, organizational design and management skills that allow them to provide great systems and programs of care.”

Striving to Deliver Quality, Cost-Efficient Care

Before Schwaitzberg was recruited to UB in 2015, he had spent most of his career at Harvard and Tufts universities, where he was impressed with the value MBA students brought to health care.

For example, the finding that one hospital used many different kinds of mesh during hernia operations with no difference in patient outcomes led it to the decision to use only a few, allowing for better pricing from vendors and substantial health care savings.

“The challenge of health care moving forward is that, as clinicians, we have to learn to perform at the highest possible levels of quality of care and cost efficiency,” Schwaitzberg says.

MBA ‘Uniquely Tailored’ to Resident’s Needs

The program’s inaugural candidate, Rafael Perez, DO, started his MBA classes this fall, after completing two years in UB’s surgery residency.

“I am confident that I will be able to come out of residency at UB as a well-trained, capable surgeon,” he says. 

“However, for better or worse, medicine is a business. My knowledge of the business side of medicine is lacking, and I’m sure that most of my colleagues here and around the nation probably feel the same way.”

Perez is taking all of the classes that MBA students take. His internship and capstone projects will involve Kaleida.

“As busy as we are during residency, it would be nearly impossible to include business or management courses in our curriculum,” he says. “But this program has been uniquely tailored to me as a resident.”

“I am extremely grateful to the medical school, the school of management and Kaleida Health for investing in my training,” Perez adds.

“When I heard about this opportunity, I knew it was too good to pass up.”