Auburn University’s Physicians Executive MBA (PEMBA) class traveled abroad in June in an effort to better understand and compare a universal health care system to the United States’ current structure. The trip is part of the Comparative Healthcare Systems class which is included in the curriculum. The trip began in Dublin, Ireland and concluded in Edinburgh, Scotland.
The Comparative Healthcare Systems class spends a week at an international destination each year (Past trips include: London, Paris, Rome, Amsterdam, Copenhagen, Berlin, Edinburgh, and Sydney) to acquaint physician students with the structures, operations and financing of universal health care systems. Many of the features of these other systems are often suggested as alternatives to the current US model. By interacting with healthcare providers and policy makers in these countries, students develop a better appreciation of the pros and cons of these systems.
The course starts with an overview of all universal health care systems and then focuses on one or two systems in depth which includes an international site visit to those nations. The international visits are rather fast paced with lectures and speakers usually in the morning and site visits to clinics, hospitals, and health facilities in the afternoon. This journey included visiting the National Maternity Hospital, St Vincent’s University Hospital, the University of Edinburgh and The Royal Infirmary.
“The trip was very valuable in providing me with first-hand knowledge of how health systems are run in countries outside the U.S. I learned that the U.S. is not alone in some of the healthcare challenges that we face including wait times, funding, etc. I was surprised to see the many healthcare system challenges that Scotland and Ireland face, said LaSongia Morton (Current PEMBA student and Internal Medicine Physician) It is very important to include an international trip so that students can gain first-hand knowledge of other healthcare systems around the world. It is very different to read about a country's healthcare system than to experience it first-hand. Also, the opportunity to personally meet and ask questions of healthcare providers in other countries is priceless. I must say that I was quite impressed when the Ireland Minister for Health actually spoke to our class and provided us with the opportunity to ask questions.”