Healthy Connections: The Wharton Health Care Management Alumni Association
The management of health care is among the biggest societal challenges faced by developed and developing nations — and it’s also one of the most dynamic industries. Members of the Wharton Health Care Management Alumni Association (WHCMAA) have been leading in the diverse health care industry for more than 25 years. An affinity club of the Wharton School, the Club was started in 1979 by a group of alumni from Wharton’s MBA program in Health Care Management (which was founded in 1973 as the first program of its kind). The Club’s charter members wanted to work together toward a set of common goals: to provide professional development opportunities for Health Care Management alumni; to help members build professional and personal networks; to make contributions to the health care field through service and leadership; and to suport Wharton’s health care programs. Today, members work in all parts of the health care field. Full membership in the WHCMAA is open to all 1,200 Health Care Management MBA graduates, as well as PhD graduates. Affiliate memberships are available to non-Health Care MBA Wharton grads who work in the health care industry.
The Club has been very active in partnering with MBA students, Wharton faculty, the health care industry, and the international community. The WHCMAA hosts regional social and professional events for alumni throughout the country (including Boston, New York, Philadelphia, Atlanta, San Francisco and Washington, DC), often with notable speakers in the field — among them, Tony Buividas, WG’79, the recipient of the Club’s 2005 Alumni Achievement Award. Buividas, the Head of Health Care Delivery for Aetna, oversees provider network contracts, medical management and quality management nationally. The WHCMAA annually reconnects with the School, holding two career seminars for alumni and students. The career seminars feature successful alumni as well as executive recruiters and coaches. The WHCMAA website <whartonhealthcare.org> provides a job posting service in addition to news of alumni, articles of interest about the Program faculty and graduates, and much more. The Club annually sponsors two scholarships for outstanding Health Care Management students.
WHCMAA members also demonstrate their commitment to health care issues through an active service program. One of the WHCMAA’s most rewarding programs offers international opportunities for alumni and students to consult on health care issues in poverty-stricken communities. For the fifth year, members of the Club and current students will return to Cape Town, South Africa, for a two-week consulting engagement with the public health care system. This year, the Club is launching a new project in Argentina to assist a maternity clinic to study process efficiency and recommend improvements, among other goals. Both trips will occur in the Summer of 2005.
Five Years of Health Care Partnership in South Africa
In August 2005 members of the WHCMAA will make their fifth trip to South Africa to volunteer with the cash-strapped Cape Town public health system. Over a half-decade, the consulting project has created deep connections within the South African health community and provided real assistance to the HIV-stricken region. The project was founded by Fran Kelleher, WG’84, in 2001 while she was pursuing a doctorate in Ethics and Society at Emory University. Kelleher worked as a teaching assistant for Archbishop Desmond Tutu during the year he spent there as a visiting professor at Emory. When Kelleher read about the HIV crisis in South Africa, she put two and two together. “I could see that even if you provided the South African health system all the drugs they needed for free, they didn’t have the infrastructure to manage the distribution and delivery of the treatment to their HIV-positive population on a consistent basis. The Wharton Health Care alumni were the perfect pool of talent to address the need — 1,000 of the best-trained health managers in the world.”