Since starting the MBA for Executives program over a year ago, I have been looking forward to the Independent Study opportunity. Unlike the rest of the program, where the courses are predetermined, the Independent Study project is pretty much totally open ended. We can take another course for credit, work on a field project, conduct research—you name it.
I came to SOM with a mission to transform maternity care, so I knew my Independent Study would be in the service of this aim. I explored a few options for coursework and research projects, ultimately deciding to design my own course. I spent a few weeks coming up with the dream curriculum for a class I would want to take, sent it to Dr. Howard Forman, the director of the EMBA Healthcare track, and got the green light.
The course I designed, “Payment Driving Care Model Innovation in Maternity Care,” is a 10-week guided reading project, with a 1,000-word analysis and reflection paper due each week. I decided that, if I was going to be writing weekly essays, I may as well blog them and engage other thinkers, leaders, and reform advocates in my project. I’m blogging for Maternity Neighborhood, where I’m also the vice president of health ecosystems. Maternity Neighborhood, develops digital technology tools focused on materinity care innovation. My first post, “What is care model innovation” sets up a framework for the rest of the series by looking at the evidence for care models innovations grounded in social and behavioral determinants of health and that aim for “health creation,” not just disease management. My second post, “The case for care model innovation in maternity care” looks at what’s behind our poor maternal and infant health outcomes, and how our maternity care investments are mismatched with the opportunities for health creation. My third post kicks off a segment on care models that work, examining the remarkable Nurse-Family Partnership program (described by the recent SOM Healthcare Colloquium speaker, Nirav Shah, as a no-brainer with a 5x ROI—yet still underutilized.)
After my third installment, my project director, Howie Forman, wrote, “It’s remarkable how little it would seem to take to improve maternal and perinatal outcomes.” That’s exactly the issue I want to get to the bottom of—and ultimately fix—with this project, and I’m thrilled to have a structured, self-directed program to help me build the insights I will need to truly transform maternity care for women, babies, and families.
The full curriculum, for those who want to read along, is available here.