Amid an uncertain and rapidly changing healthcare landscape, the UCLA Fielding School of Public Health has launched a new center that will bring together top academic researchers, students, and established healthcare executives and practitioners to explore critical issues in the management of healthcare organizations, while improving the state of knowledge and practice.
The Fielding School’s Center for Healthcare Management will draw from the expertise of industry leaders to shape research questions designed to influence healthcare management practices. The center is made possible by the Sinaiko Innovation Fund for Healthcare Management, a $1 million gift from Richard Sinaiko (MPH ’77), Patricia Sinaiko and Greg Sinaiko (MPH ’01). Richard Sinaiko has held senior executive positions at the UCLA Medical Center, American Medical International and served as Assistant Dean of the USC School of Medicine before forming Sinaiko Healthcare Consulting, a leading healthcare management consulting firm. Greg Sinaiko directed the development of The Coding Source, Inc., which became a leading coding, training and service company.
The deep involvement of healthcare management practitioners in the center’s activities is central to its mission and success, explained Laura Erskine, the center’s director. “Engaging healthcare organizations as active collaborators with Fielding School faculty will ensure that our center produces practical, relevant knowledge,” Erskine said. She noted that multidisciplinary UCLA experts from outside the Fielding School will also participate — including medical, nursing, dentistry, engineering, and business school faculty.
The center will host the Paul Torrens Health Forum at UCLA, an established monthly gathering where practitioners and academics discuss timely public health issues affecting the entire health industry. Other planned activities include an annual healthcare management case competition, a collection of field-based case studies created for classroom discussion, and the dissemination of UCLA-generated scholarship to the practitioner community.
The close partnership with the practice community will also influence the curriculum content for the Fielding School’s executive, traditional and customized degree and non-degree programs in healthcare management. “One of the purposes of this center is to serve as an academic home for leaders in the field to contribute their career experience and provide mentorship to students,” said Erskine, who is also an adjunct professor and director of the master of public health (MPH) degree programs in the Fielding School’s Department of Health Policy and Management.
In addition to the Sinaiko gift making the new center possible, a pledge of more than $1 million from the Don S. Levin Trust and Edna and Tom Gordon will establish the Paul Torrens Chair in Healthcare Management within the new center and the Fielding School’s Department of Health Policy and Management. The chair’s establishment is pending approval by the UCLA Academic Senate and the University of California Office of the President.
The new chair will be named in honor of Paul Torrens, a professor emeritus who has been at the school for nearly 50 years and has worked closely with Tom Gordon, a longtime leader in the Cedars-Sinai Health System.
“Southern California is home to some of the nation’s most dynamic and innovative healthcare organizations, many of which are thriving under the leadership of individuals who have graduated from our programs,” said Ron Brookmeyer, interim dean of the UCLA Fielding School of Public Health. “A close relationship between our school and the healthcare management professionals in the region represents a win-win — the Fielding School contributes the expertise of renowned faculty and trains the next generation of leaders, and the industry brings real-world experience and expertise to our programs. Formalizing these ties through the Center for Healthcare Management will create new opportunities for collaboration, to the ultimate benefit of healthcare consumers and the health of our communities. We are grateful to Richard Sinaiko and Tom Gordon for their visionary gifts.”
While enjoying long and successful careers in healthcare management, both Sinaiko and Gordon have maintained close connections with the Fielding School as lecturers, faculty, advisers, mentors to students, and donors to the school’s programs. Gordon, who served as executive vice president of the Cedars-Sinai Health System and CEO of Cedars-Sinai Medical Network Services for 22 years and continues in an advisory role as consultant to the president, has hired more than 20 Fielding School graduates.