South Florida Hospital News
Tuesday July 7, 2020

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January 2020 - Volume 16 - Issue 7


Nova Southeastern’s Complex Health Systems Program Training Future Leaders to be Agents of Change

In the ever-evolving world of healthcare, those in charge of complex health systems need to not only be on top of the latest trends, but be prepared to provide innovative solutions to guide their businesses to success. Creating future healthcare leaders with this ability is the goal of the Complex Health Systems Program at the Huizenga College of Business and Entrepreneurship at Nova Southeastern University.

“This is the fastest-growing MBA program at the university,” said Dr. Francois Sainfort, professor and director of the Complex Health Systems Program, which was started in August 2017 with a cohort of 15 students. “It was created to be different from any health administration program that exists.”
The idea was the brainchild of Dr. Preston Jones, the former dean of the College of Business and Entrepreneurship, who met with alumni and CEOs of hospitals and health systems in South Florida to find a solution to today’s healthcare issues.
“Healthcare systems are very complex, and don’t work well in the U.S. or anywhere in the world, for that matter,” said Dr. Sainfort. “You may hear that France or Canada has a better system, but they all have problems.
“Issues in the U.S. include an aging population, the burden of chronic disease, and a payment and delivery system with misaligned incentives that doesn’t lead to the best possible care at the best possible prices,” he added. “It is highly fragmented and disconnected, leading to inefficient, uncoordinated care and a waste of resources. We have the best technology in the world, but there are still issues with quality, accessibility, and cost.”
While healthcare needs to change, at the same time, the demands on healthcare leaders are shifting, which requires creative leaders with advanced knowledge and skills who can find real solutions, according to Dr. Sainfort. “We need to train future leaders to be agents of change,” he explained.
One of the things that sets Nova’s program apart is that it was designed with the input of the people who work in healthcare every day. “I’ve spent 34 years in academia, and I can say that sadly, when most programs are designed, faculty members get together and decide what they think should be taught,” said Dr. Sainfort. “We decided to listen to the industry and see what they needed.”
Faculty and program designers met with CEOs of large hospital systems, entrepreneurs, and creators of pharmaceutical and medical devices, and asked what type of people they wanted to see leading healthcare organizations. They also established an advisory board to suggest additions to the program, continually review it, and interact with students and faculty.
“We want them to tell us whether we’re doing it right, and to suggest adjustments as needed,” said Dr. Sainfort.
The two-year program consists of two sets of courses; core classes for the MBA portion that can be taken online or onsite on evenings or weekends, and a second set of courses focused on health systems that is offered exclusively onsite on Saturdays.
“Almost all of our students are working professionals and can’t take traditional weekday courses, so we designed this program so that they can complete it while working full-time,” said Dr. Sainfort.
The program is still evolving, and the health systems courses will also be offered online in the future, with the goal of having this in place by 2021.
“One of the benefits of this program is that students will be exposed to and understand the entire complex spectrum of the value chain in healthcare; from bench research when a drug is created to delivery of care at the bedside or at home,” said Dr. Sainfort, adding that the program works with the Center for Collaborative Research to expose students to research projects as a way to see how ideas move from research and development to translation and commercialization.
“We also emphasize the continuum of care, beginning with prevention and wellness, all the way to tertiary care, post-acute care, and long-term care,” said Dr. Sainfort. “The continuum is extremely disconnected and fragmented, and we want our students to be able to bring about coordinated systems that maximize value and minimize costs. They also need to understand social determinants of care so that they can deliver care in an equitable way, regardless of a patient’s gender, ethnicity, or social or economic status.”
When students graduate from the program, they will be trained to take positions in any organization and play a significant role in the healthcare ecosystem, according to Dr. Sainfort, who added that one of the program’s first graduates has already accepted a position as the Division Senior Director at HCA East Florida.

For more information, visit or call (954) 262-5119.

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