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    MHCI Alumni Engagement

    Upon graduation, MHCI students attain alumni status of the University of Pennsylvania, becoming part of the tradition of a university that was founded in 1740. 

    Penn Alumni enjoy access to benefits such as MyPenn (Penn’s networking platform for alumni from across all Penn schools), career services platforms, select library resources, continuing education opportunities, and more.

    How our alumni stay connected

    MHCI alumni are very active and maintain contact with the Master of Health Care Innovation in a variety of ways, including:

    • Participating in and facilitating sessions during the annual seminar and reunions
    • Sharing skills during MHCI Speaker Series webinars and attending Series events
    • Presenting during Virtual Info Sessions for prospective students
    • Answering questions in Alumni Ask Me Anything sessions
    • Serving as course assistants and alumni tutors for MHCI courses
    • Connecting on the alumni LinkedIn group
    • Founding, leading, and contributing to the Society for HealthCare Innovation
    • Serving on the MHCI Admissions and Curriculum Committees
    • Interviewing MHCI applicants
    • Keeping up-to-date on program news with a quarterly newsletter
    • Acting as alumni ambassadors for the program
    MHCI Class of 2024

    Penn’s Master of Health Care Innovation program celebrated the graduation of 35 students with a ceremony and brunch on May 19, 2024. Since its first graduation in 2019, the MHCI alumni network has grown to 163 innovative thinkers and leaders.

    Graduates, family members, and friends heard remarks from Chair of the Department of Medical Ethics and Health Policy, Perelman School of Medicine, Steven Joffe, MD, MPH, and from David C. Fajgenbaum, MD, MBA, MSc.

    “We want health care to be safe, effective, efficient, cost-effective, equitable, respectful, patient-centered, and also staff-centered, so we’re not struggling against burnout,” Dr. Joffe said. "Technological innovation is necessary to achieve these goals, but it’s not sufficient, and sometimes it can even make things worse.

    “What we need most is people who can innovate against the hard parts,” he said. “People who can identify what influences behavior and what might change it for the better. Who can see what aspects of our systems get in the way of achieving the goal we seek. And what changes to those systems might improve things.

    “What we need,” Dr. Joffe continued, “is people who have the tools and experience to diagnose the challenges, to design solutions, to test those solutions, to learn from what doesn’t work, and to keep and build on what actually does work.”

    Dr. Fajgenbaum is an Associate Professor of Medicine, Division of Translational Medicine and Human Genetics at the Perelman School of Medicine, Co-Founder and President, Castleman Disease Collaboration, and Co-Founder and President, Every Cure.

    Dr. Fajgenbaum shared his personal story about seeking a cure for his own disease. He encouraged graduates to be relentless in their pursuits and not just look for silver linings in difficult times, but also create silver linings.

    He noted three things necessary to endure life’s greatest challenges:

    1. A vision for what you’re working toward
    2. An amazing team by your side
    3. Taking things truly one step at a time

    “Solutions are often hiding in plain sight,” Dr. Fajgenbaum said, “even if they don’t seem that innovative or new. The drug I’m on was within a mile of me, just sitting on the pharmacy shelf, for each of my deadly relapses, but no one had ever thought to try it. How many more drugs are sitting at our local pharmacies that could be life-saving treatments for more diseases and more patients that are suffering? Humankind has developed 3,000 drugs for about 3,000 diseases. But, there are still 19,000 more diseases that do not have a single approved treatment. We know that many of these diseases could be effectively treated with already FDA-approved drugs.”

    The search for innovative solutions, in part prompted by lingering challenges from the COVID-19 pandemic, surrounded students throughout their MHCI journey. The class of ’24 embraced a revised curriculum, informed by emergent and urgent needs, and thrived learning online and gathering at Seminar and occasional events. All are better prepared to lead changes that can increase equity and access, develop remote services, improve patient and provider communication, leverage digital health and AI, and more.

    The MHCI Class of ’24 is a blend of established and aspiring leaders. They work as

    • executives

    • physicians

    • nurses

    • social workers

    • innovation and business directors

    • policy and strategy directors

    • product managers

    • consultants

    • researchers

    • pharmacists

    • analysts

    MHCI alumni work for academic medical centers, health networks, private practices, consulting firms, pharma and life sciences companies, nonprofits, and startups. Medical areas represented include neurosurgery, radiology, surgery, trauma and emergency medicine, and home health.

    The MHCI has already had an impact on the professional sphere of many graduates. Some began implementing their innovation projects at their workplaces. While still students, several received promotions, added responsibilities, or transferred to new organizations. Others received awards, published articles, or presented at conferences. Several are already giving back to the MHCI by connecting with prospective students and preparing to serve as course assistants.

    Video: MHCI Graduation 2024 - Keynote Speaker, David C. Fajgenbaum, MD, MBA, MSc

    In his remarks, guest speaker David C. Fajgenbaum, MD, MBA, MSc encouraged graduates to not just look for silver linings in difficult times, but also create silver linings.

    Video: MHCI Graduation 2024 - Faculty Speaker, Steven Joffe, MD, MPH

    Faculty speaker, Steven Joffe, MD, MPH,  congratulates the graduates and shares his hope that they will use each other and continue learning from each other for many years to come as they do the hard work to change health care.

    Meet Our Alumni
    Theresa Urban

    It’s been about connection... I remember meeting people with passion and wanting to make the world a better place. It’s so inspiring... I think there’s a lot we can change, there’s a lot of hope. The program has given us tools and frameworks so we can make some good things happen

    Theresa Urban, RN, BSN, MHCI '21 Penn Partners in Care, Clinical Care Manager
    Johnson Khor

    Both MHCI faculty/staff and my cohort members have shown me not only ways to make a difference in health care but also how to ultimately increase affordability, accessibility, and quality of care

    Johnson Khor, MHCI '21 Healthcare Consultant, CDCN and Clinical Researcher, Perelman School of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania