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Benefits of recruiting outsiders


Difficulties recruiting public health instructors
Howard Hiatt Physician
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Because the management of healthcare institutions had really received little attention from schools of management, and certainly from the Harvard Business School, and little attention in medical schools, a small group of us decided to create a program, a two-year training program in health policy and management at the School of Public Health and that was the first of the new teaching programs that we began. In order to recruit people to teach, since the school did not have many people qualified in that sphere, I went to the Department of Economics at Harvard and to the Harvard Business School and recruited people who joined us, helped conceptualize the programs and then helped teach them.

I mentioned, of course, the... the fact that the problems in the public health arena required experts from other departments, and in this instance it was crucial that we get people whose teaching skills and whose research capabilities were strong. We... we were able to do so, but with some concern expressed on the part of the faculty where I heard so often X or Y has had no public health background. That being a reflection in the view of many members of the faculty, a reflection of a person's lack of... of likelihood of succeeding in addressing public health problems. This demand for a public health background with relatively less attention to the capability in the discipline in which individuals were trained led to a fair amount of concern on the part of the faculty, with the new dean. When, for example, I was asked to put together a committee to evaluate a faculty member whose formal training had been in economics, but had been working at the School of Public Health in an area of health economics, when I was asked to put together a committee, and did so with members of the Economics Department, that was found troubling by some of my colleagues. The committee found this individual not worthy of a tenure slot and he was passed over. An even more troubling event took place a year later when the person who was in charge of one of the major public health programs that involved a background in chemistry and biology was nominated for tenure, I appointed a committee to evaluate his suitability for tenure.

Born in 1925, American Howard Hiatt set up one of the first medical oncology research and training units in the US and has headed up some of America's most prestigious medical institutions. Hiatt attended Harvard College and received his MD from the Harvard Medical School in 1948. He was a member of the team at the Pasteur Institute, Paris, that first identified and described mRNA, and he was among the first to demonstrate mRNA in mammalian cells. From 1991 to 1997, he was Secretary of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, where he began and directs the Academy's Initiatives For Children program. He is also committed to helping disadvantaged people access decent health care.

Listeners: Milton C. Weinstein

Milton C. Weinstein, Ph.D., is the Henry J. Kaiser Professor of Health Policy and Management at the Harvard School of Public Health and Professor of Medicine at the Harvard Medical School. At the Harvard School of Public Health he is Academic Director of the Program in Health Decision Science, and Director of the Program on Economic Evaluation of Medical Technology . He is best known for his research on cost-effectiveness of medical practices and for developing methods of economic evaluation and decision analysis in health care. He is a co-developer of the CEPAC (Cost-Effectiveness of Preventing AIDS Complications) computer simulation model, and has conducted studies on prevention and treatment of HIV infections. He is the co-developer of the Coronary Heart Disease Policy Model, which has been used to evaluate the cost-effectiveness of cardiovascular prevention and treatment. He is an author of four books: Decision Making in Health and Medicine: Integrating Evidence and Values; Cost-Effectiveness in Health and Medicine,the report of the Panel of Cost Effectiveness in Health and Medicine; Clinical Decision Analysis; and Hypertension: A Policy Perspective.He has also published more than 200 papers in peer-reviewed medical, public health, and economics journals. He is an elected member of the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences, and a recipient of the Award for Career Achievement from the Society for Medical Decision Making. Dr. Weinstein received his A.B. and A.M. in Applied Mathematics (1970), his M.P.P. (1972), and his Ph.D. in Public Policy (1973) from Harvard University.

Tags: Harvard

Duration: 4 minutes, 37 seconds

Date story recorded: September 2006

Date story went live: 24 January 2008