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Blended Learning and Health Care Delivery Science
September 21, 2010 - 11:00pm

Health care and education are the defining issues of our time. These industries share a common set of challenges around costs, access, and quality. We have the world's greatest hospitals and colleges, doctors and professors - and people from around the world continue to look to our health care and academic institutions for leadership and innovation. People working in these two sectors also share a common realization that we cannot go into the future as we have proceeded in the past. We need to find ways to bend the cost curves for health care costs and tuition. We need to provide access to all members of our communities, and we need to measure and improve outcomes and share best practices to reduce variations in costs and outcomes. We also understand that the health care and education systems will not simply re-invent themselves - it is up to us lead this change.

It is in this context that my institution is developing a new Master of Health Care Delivery Science Degree. On July 1st I became the director of learning and technology for this program, working with an amazing team of academic professionals to develop and launch this program. Over the next few months I'll be using this space to engage you in a conversation about our efforts to work with faculty, librarians and other educational professionals to create the highest possible quality blended learning program. A program that is commensurate in quality to the traditional on-ground programs at Dartmouth. (This is a tall order, as our Tuck School of Business was just ranked 2nd in the world by The Economist, and the college was just ranked #1 in undergraduate teaching by U.S. News and World Report).

I'm being honest when I say that I'm humbled, and a bit daunted, by the mandate that the College has given us to create a blended learning program for adult working professionals that is second-to-none. This opportunity is one of those rare moments where I have the great good fortune of being at the right place at the right time, and have the chance to combine my passion for educational innovation and my interest in health care delivery (my wife is a pediatric oncologist). I look forward to sharing what I learn as I learn it, and on relying on you from time to time for advice and counsel.

Rather than attempting to explain what the Master of Health Care Delivery Science program is all about, I though I'd share with you part of the letter that our President, Dr. Jim Yong Kim, sent to the alumni community this past Friday. I'm sharing this letter because I think that it perfectly captures both the substance and the spirit of what we are trying to do at Dartmouth:

"Dear Dartmouth Graduate,

I am writing today to share news of an innovative and timely graduate program we are launching next year. Concurrent with the establishment of the new Dartmouth Center for Health Care Delivery Science, the Tuck School of Business and The Dartmouth Institute for Health Policy and Clinical Practice (TDI) have joined together to create a Master of Health Care Delivery Science (MHCDS) degree. This hybrid program will be the first to blend the insights and expertise of a top-ranked business school with those of a pioneering health research and policy institution.



The MHCDS is designed for clinicians and leaders in health care, business, and government who want to improve health care quality while stemming its increasing costs. A significant distinction of this course is that unlike other business school offerings that teach standard management techniques, the MHCDS speaks directly to the unique culture and challenges of health care. It recognizes that, particularly in the age of health reform, the foundations of our health care system have shifted. Business models of the past will no longer serve, and tremendous new demands will arise around finances, workforce, and current practice. Thus, participants will receive the highly tailored, targeted approach they need to survive, succeed, and improve in this changing industry.



This is also Dartmouth's first foray into distance learning. The 18-month program will combine online and residential education with intensive action-learning projects within students' own organizations. This is a model in which alumni have expressed particular interest. We look forward to seeing how it works and possibly expanding distance learning offerings in other areas in the future, so that alumni and other working professionals can take advantage of educational opportunities through Dartmouth."


What would you like to know about our new program? Any ideas about how we can best utilize this space to share the process and discuss ideas around building a new blended degree program? What are the pros and cons of being transparent about this process?

 

 

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