The exterior of the Peter B Lewis Building under a clear sky
Peter B Lewis Building, home of the Weatherhead School of Management at Case Western Reserve University

Weatherhead: Where management education and health care excellence collide

Editor’s Note: With the Health Education Campus of Case Western Reserve University and Cleveland Clinic set to hold the first presidential debate next week (Tuesday, Sept. 29), The Daily will feature a number of debate-related articles in the days leading up to the event.

When it comes to health care, it’s no secret that Cleveland is a powerhouse. Home to renowned systems such as Cleveland Clinic, University Hospitals, MetroHealth Systems and more, leading physicians and researchers from around the world come to practice in the city known for its health care dominance. 

Located just a few blocks away from several of these leading health care systems sits Weatherhead School of Management at Case Western Reserve University. Most commonly known for producing first-rate business students who land positions at top international companies such as Google and Amazon, the management school also serves as a valuable player in the health care space. 

With programs ranging from the Master of Science in Management – Healthcare degree to the Doctor of Business Administration program, Weatherhead School faculty are known to leverage close ties—both in terms of proximity and networks—to Cleveland’s health care systems.

“Having some of the best health systems in the world located across the street and extending throughout all of Northeast Ohio allows for a breadth and depth of experiential learning opportunities, as well as extension of the pedagogy to include frequent, one-of-a-kind lecturers and guest speakers from our partner institutions,” said Philip Cola, associate professor of design and innovation at the Weatherhead School.

Cola, who has published extensive research in the field, says teaching relevant, real-world problems allows for the practical application and creation of new knowledge at the Weatherhead School as it relates to health care management.

“This permeates from undergraduate experiential learning approaches in the curriculum, to master’s-level action learning projects in health care settings, and the creation of a health care affinity group within the Doctor of Business Administration offerings,” Cola said.

Learn how Weatherhead School students and alumni from across degree programs have leveraged their knowledge and applied it to the health care industry in Northeast Ohio and beyond. 

Ali Raja, current DBA student, executive vice chair of the Department of Emergency Medicine at Massachusetts General Hospital, associate professor at Harvard Medical School

Unexpected COVID-19 challenges met head on with Weatherhead management concepts

Photo of Ali Raja

From causing physician burnout to disrupting typical care processes, COVID-19 has created new management challenges for leaders of health care institutions. Current Weatherhead  student Ali Raja, has experienced this firsthand. As the leader of a team that runs clinical operations for one of the largest emergency departments in the country, Raja credits specific courses in the DBA program and faculty members—including Richard Buchanan, Richard Boyatzis and more—for shaping how he has responded to the challenges a global pandemic created. Though he lives out of state, Raja chose to attend the Weatherhead School for its world-class faculty and flexible remote learning environment. 

“Health care is an exceptionally complex industry, and we just don’t learn enough about the non-medical components of it during medical school and residency,” Raja said. “It’s evolving even more now during COVID as we consider a fundamental redesign focusing on everything from inequities in care to telemedicine, and I can’t imagine a better time to go back to school and learn about the future of health care in a thoughtful and systematic way.”

Rachelle Brenner (MBA ’17), project manager, payment innovation, Cleveland Clinic

Molding future health care leaders in a full-circle mentorship moment

Photo of Rachelle Brenner

When Rachelle Brenner reflects on her time as an MBA student, one aspect stands out—the mentorship available to her in the Weatherhead Scholars program. An initiative between the Weatherhead School and Cleveland Clinic, the scholars program provides top-performing students with internships and other real-world experiences as they pave their way to career paths shaping health care. 

For Brenner, her experience landed her a role focused on the research, design and implementation of alternative payment models tested by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid (CMS), state models and commercial payers across the health system. Brenner also evaluates feedback across stakeholders to support the development of Cleveland Clinic’s stance on value-based policy at the state and federal levels. Now, her team at Cleveland Clinic continues to mentor students in the Weatherhead Scholars program, describing the program as mutually beneficial. 

“We receive high-achieving and dedicated scholars who deliver significant value in the internship program,” she said. 

Edgardo Fegalquin Jr. (MSM–Healthcare ’20), certified histocompatibility technologist, Histocompatibility and Immunogenetics Laboratory, University Hospitals Cleveland Medical Center 

Shaping leadership skills with technical expertise 

Photo of Edgardo Fegalquin Jr

When Edgardo Fegalquin migrated to the United States from the Philippines in 2007, he knew he wanted to make a difference in health care. Having held several related positions in his home country, including as manager of the Clinical Immunology and Serology Laboratory at St. Luke’s Medical Center, he was familiar with the business challenges the industry faced.

In his current role as a histocompatibility technologist at UH, Fegalquin performs the needed testing for organ recipients and donors, providing data used in the evaluation and successful treatment of transplant patients. He credits his Weatherhead School education for the confidence with which he now handles problems at work, including the logistical challenges that arose when COVID-19 disrupted transplant services. 

“Being able to find the ‘bottleneck’ in a system and make a solution to improve efficiency has been very helpful,” he said, pointing to concepts learned in his courses at Weatherhead. A recent graduate, Fegalquin looks forward to transitioning into further leadership responsibilities using his Weatherhead School degree.