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Health Care Immersion Week

By Seth Robertson
August 2012

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Experiential learning has long been a point of pride for the Owen Graduate School of Management. Case competitions, extracurricular club activities and in-class simulations are just a few of the opportunities afforded students throughout the academic year. Each fall, though, students can go a step further by signing up for an intensive hands-on experience in one of several disciplines. Immersion Week, as it’s known, gives students a competitive edge by exposing them to real-world situations outside a traditional classroom setting.

Larry Van Horn, Ph.D., associate professor of Management and Executive Director of Health Affairs, and Scarlett Gilfus, Program Coordinator for Health Care, organized the health care immersion course for students pursuing Health Care MBAs. The course examined the real world of U.S. health care delivery through the perspectives of physicians, nurses, patients, scientists and administrators.

“The Health Care Immersion is a valuable start to the Vanderbilt Health Care MBA program. It leverages our unique position in Nashville as the nation’s hub of health care delivery. During the week, students gain many different perspectives on the challenges facing the health care delivery system and leave with a better context for the business education that follows,” Van Horn said.

On day one, students changed into scrubs and headed into the operating rooms at Vanderbilt University Medical Center, where they stood next to doctors and nurses and watched surgeries being performed. Other activities included visits to the LifeFlight Operations Center, which manages Vanderbilt’s critical-care helicopter service, and the Mass Spectrometry Research Center, which provides laboratory support for researchers across the University.

“It was a one-of-a-kind experience that prepared us for the rest of our curriculum at Vanderbilt,” says Garrick Berberich, an MBA candidate for 2013. “We got to see all aspects of the health care industry and discuss the front-line interactions between providers and patients.”

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