MIT Sloan Health Systems Initiative

2021 Healthcare Certificate Ceremony

On June 2, 2021, 30 students from eight programs across MIT received the Healthcare Certificate in a virtual ceremony. While it was unfortunate that most participants had never met in person since distance learning has been in effect for more than a year, the Zoom setting did allow friends and family to attend, and many chose to do so. Dr. Barry Stein (EMBA ’17), Chief Clinical Innovation Officer at Hartford Healthcare was the guest speaker.

The Healthcare Certificate faculty: Anne Quaadgras, Joe Doyle, Richard Cohen, and Jónas Jónasson, as well as Dean Jake Cohen, were in attendance to congratulate the graduates. Many of them talked about the unique management perspective that the program grants the students, which was especially imperative during the pandemic. Joe Doyle commented that this past year management issues were nearly as important as the scientific ones, “how do we get the incentives right to encourage the manufacturing of vaccines and to get people to take them? How do we use operations techniques to get the supply chain issues resolved.?” He exhorted the students that now is the time to stop chasing our tail and to figure out what really works to address intractable healthcare issues. “Your time at MIT is just getting started. Some of my favorite projects have been with MIT alums working to rigorously prove what really works.”

Dr. Barry Stein echoed Prof. Doyle’s sentiments. On March 7, 2020 at 7:00pm, he said, he got a call from his Chief Clinical Officer telling him that he had to spin-out virtual health as quickly as possible. Drawing on the operations, system dynamics and digital transformation frameworks he learned at MIT, he grew virtual visit capacity from a few hundred a year to tens of thousands a year within ten days.

To the point of collaboration, Dr. Stein talked about his COVID-19 work with Prof Dimitris Bertsimas and his PhD students. “We used next generation analytics to guide us through the fog”, he explained. Using new models, they were able to predict with accuracy their projected need for ICU beds, ventilators, and PPE as well as other numbers that were vital for their planning.

Since there were so many graduates this year, rather than having each one talk to the entire group for a few minutes, they were randomly placed in one of eight breakout rooms to talk about their experience at MIT and plans post-graduation. We will be staying in touch with the alums and will be highlighting some of their accomplishments.

Watch the virtual ceremony.