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Health care procedures and medicine are important, but the system cannot function unless it is properly managed. Who’s going to oversee payroll, benefits, expenses, advertising, marketing and personnel issues? How will these be directed and implemented? It takes educated, experienced businessmen and women to move the health care industry forward financially.
In Europe, that’s where the Academy of Health Care Management, an MBA program in Prague, Czech Republic, comes in.
“We, as physicians, can produce more health care services than anybody can buy,” said Dr. Oldrich Subrt, Chairman of the Board at the Academy of Health Care Management. “But it’s important for management of these services … because we don’t have enough money now to use all advantages of medicine and we have to manage it. The management creates improvements of the medicine and health care. If I have trillions of dollars for healthcare, I could produce some volume of the healthcare services with some benefits if I manage it.”
Aspiring health care management professionals in Europe use education learned at the Academy of Health Care Management as a springboard toward careers. The Academy formed an MBA program 2008 – a young program that needed direction.
That’s where the Raymond J. Harbert College of Business comes in.
“We send guest speakers and lend our expertise,” said Chris Shook, Head of the Harbert College Department of Management, who served as a keynote speaker at November’s Academy of Healthcare Management commencement ceremonies (class photo at bottom of page). “We also act as consultants for course design.”
Shook said the Academy’s relationship with Harbert has been strong.
“We can bring the world to our students through cooperative relationships,” he said, and added that the Academy has helped arrange Harbert Physicians Executive MBA (PEMBA) students to meet with professors in Prague, “and see things in-depth there.”
“It’s a way for us to be more globally-minded.”
Dagmar Gluckaufova (pictured at right), Chairman of the Academy’s Academic Board, and former Harbert College instructor considers the school’s relationship to be “wonderful.”
“The moment we needed support for healthcare -- a connection and partnership – Auburn was there,” said Gluckaufova, who taught Project Management at Auburn from 1995-2001. Gluckaufova, an accomplished mathematician, said relationships built during her time at Auburn carried over toward the relationship between the schools today.
“After the (Velvet) revolution (in 1989, which freed Czechoslovakia from 41 years of Communist rule) we were allowed to go abroad,” she explained, and added she spent time working as in the College of Business at the University of Pittsburgh before heading to Auburn. “Before the revolution, we were not allowed to go abroad, even scientifically.
“I spent three months in Pittsburgh and that gave me an opportunity to visit old friends. Some of the friends are from here (Auburn). That’s how I started coming here every year for two months to teach in your business administration and MBA program as well. They (Auburn) started bringing students from the College of Business to Prague (Central and Eastern European Studies Program). This was the first of the international study trips here. We organized the program, and they were visiting different companies. I organized internships for Auburn students in the Czech Republic, so this is how it started. This relationship went on and on and we started an MBA in healthcare in Prague.
“At that time we were looking for a partner, and since I such a good connection to Auburn and I knew that your PEMBA is very well evaluated, so I asked people here if they would be willing to do some type of supervision of our program because our program is in the Czech Republic.”
Gluckaufova, who comes from a family of doctors, said the opportunity has made a difference.
“For these doctors, or people working in healthcare, now it means that they have a specialized MBA from us in healthcare, and that they are ready to start their own businesses,” she added. “We have several people who are moving into private healthcare and then there are facilities. An MBA shows that they can run their institution.” Subrt said MBA healthcare programs in Europe needed “framework.”
“In Europe, not only the Czech Republic, we don’t have a system of the accredited MBA programs,” he said. “We have some accreditation but not at the level as you have in the United States. It means that there are some rules. There is some framework … how to improve management skills and business skills of the people who are not from the finance … If we put our needs to this framework it functions very well.
“We came to Auburn five years ago with some program and our colleagues here said ‘you need more this here’ and ‘this is enough.’ Also, I participated on some parts of your PEMBA program. It brought for us some inspiration. We come here every year in October and we spend a couple of days with our colleagues at Auburn and discuss our programs. Without this cooperation ... Important is the frame, the history and the know-how, how organized the management and business education for the people who don’t like thinking about business because their mindset is ‘I am a physician and I treat you.’”