It was a pleasure to attend Vivek H. Murthy's (YSM 2003; SOM 2003) confirmation hearing today for the post of Surgeon General of the United States. Dr. Murthy has accomplished an awful lot in his very short career and we know that this is but one more opportunity for him to apply his considerable talents to improving the health and well being of the people of our country (and globally).
I first met Vivek when he was a medical student at Yale, considering applying for the MBA program at the Yale School of Management (SOM). We had several conversations that year and he ultimately joined our second class of MD/MBA joint degree students. As I listened to him answer questions from the left (in this case the Republicans sitting on the left side of the room) and the right (again, comically, the democrats on the right side of the room), I was struck by how much his Yale education has been brought to bear in considering some of the most challenging health care policy and public health topics of the day: obesity, gun control, marijuana regulation, medicare price controls, and coordination of the healthcare responsibilities embedded in 20 cabinet level departments. I was pleased to see thoughtful comments and questions coming from members of both parties; and felt that there was a genuine agreement on fundamental challenges that continue to face our country. I was also pleased to see that Vivek clearly understood the vantage point of each of the senators and was able to put their mind at ease that he would use his office to serve the public interest.
When Stan Garstka, Jeff Garten, Diane Palmeri and I first met to discuss the joint MD/MBA program back in 1998, I felt strongly that Yale SOM could make a meaningful difference in healthcare leadership in this country; and that this, ultimately, would positively impact the health and well being of our citizenry. By 2003, this same group committed to starting our MBA for Executives program with the same premise. Each and every day I become aware of ever more successes of our current and former students. While Vivek's Presidential appointment is certainly the most current, it is notable that our MD and non-MD graduates are making a positive difference each day.