ghdLAB and our work in global health delivery

Mind, hand, management and health care

How global health delivery connects to MIT Sloan’s mission

Modern medicine could reduce disease greatly, yet fails to reach millions. Innovations in management may help address the constraints. We focus on organizations on the front lines of care delivery, studying the issues, interacting with experts, and connecting students with real-world leaders and managers in varied settings to explore what works and what’s needed. Our partners have taught us much, and by embedding students’ field experience in an iterative learning process, we aim to bring rigor to action. Along the way, we put MIT’s tradition of mind and hand into practice and build on our commitment to connect education and impact.

–Anjali Sastry, Senior Lecturer

The need

Every day, physicians, medical staff, community workers and their colleagues wrestle with the challenge of delivering healthcare more efficiently and effectively to those who most need it. Many agree on the need for innovation in care delivery models, programs and clinical and back-room operations.

Enterprises could benefit from new approaches to management, logistics, organizational change, finance, marketing, design, technology use, strategy and systems. Applying them appropriately requires deep engagement in the specifics of each situation, but many organizations lack needed resources. With no well-developed way to share lessons learned, emerging innovations and practical improvements fail to be documented and disseminated.

The opportunity

Why not partner community programs, clinics, hospitals, and medical practices with students and faculty to work on practical solutions? By grounding focused projects in current management techniques and building in data and evidence, such efforts can explore and improve upon innovative solutions to pressing challenges. Back on campus, both classroom and research benefit.

The course: ghdLAB

ghdLAB blends classroom learning and action-based field projects. Over the course of several months, including an intensive period on site, teams of four students each partner with an organization on the front lines of care delivery. Together, they design an action learning project to address factors that limit their delivery of health care. Students work with MIT faculty, domain experts, and the leaders and staff in the partner enterprise and bring to bear the best of their MBA toolkit to help generate real value for all.

Since October 2008, close to 150 experienced MIT graduate students have conducted 36 unpaid projects in Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, South Africa, Ghana, Sierra Leone, Zambia, Malawi, and India, each around 1,000 person-hours. Partner organizations set their project’s focus and offset some costs. Support from MIT Sloan School of Management’s generous alumni and friends makes up the rest.

Expanding the work on global health delivery at MIT Sloan

In 2010, a new companion course on global health delivery and management added the study of scale and sustainability in business models for global health delivery.

Research to assess lasting impact is currently under way, and we hope this summer to reveal how ghdLAB may benefit partners and others by documenting the results of our first 25 projects.

Responding to requests from the field, we are also working on creative ways to leverage and disseminate our past workBriefings, videos, blog postings, project reports and tools are being refined and shared.

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