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        Executive Programs, PEMBA

        Harvard alumna and physician chooses Auburn MBA to strengthen business acumen

        October 10, 2023 By Laura Schmitt

        All News


        Rose Kakoza

        Dr. Rose Kakoza is part of the cohort who began the Auburn Physicians Executive MBA in August 2023. The knowledge she gains will help her health system improve outcomes for high-risk and underserved communities.

        A primary care physician and healthcare executive, Dr. Rose Kakoza is passionate about helping her Delaware-based health system provide better quality and more affordable care for its 135,000 patients. The three-time Harvard graduate is among the cohort who started classes earlier this semester in Auburn’s Physicians Executive MBA (PEMBA) program—a program she’s convinced will help her achieve that goal.

        In addition to seeing patients, Kakoza is the senior clinical director for population health at Christiana Care Health System in Wilmington, DE which has value-based care programs that support patients covered by Medicare, Medicaid and commercial insurers.

        “I’m really invested in thinking about how we [health care professionals] move away from the fee-for-service model that focuses more on the volume of services provided to moving into the value-based arena where the focus is really on improving quality, lowering the cost of care and driving patient outcomes and health equity,” said Kakoza.

        To lead that change, Kakoza chose the Auburn PEMBA in the Harbert College of Business to deepen her understanding of the business side of health care operations.

        “As you take on a leadership role, it becomes more important not just to advance the clinical mission and objectives of your organization, but [knowing] how to do so in a way that protects the financial integrity of the institution,” she said. “You want to have a seat at the table and be in the room where they are making decisions that impact clinical care delivery and patient care.”

        She chose the Auburn program, in part, based on the glowing recommendation of fellow health system leaders, who she said, absolutely loved the program because it met their needs and goals. She also appreciated how the program provided the right mix of short on-campus residencies and online instruction.

        PEMBA students also travel to Washington D.C. to study healthcare policy and abroad to compare how other countries structure healthcare systems.

        “I wanted a program that would fit me and where I am in my career,” said Kakoza, who is married and has two young children.

        Kakoza held her first leadership role in population health at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, where she served as medical director for a Medicaid accountable care organization (ACO) that she helped launch in 2016. At the time, ACOs were a new form of coordinated care for Medicaid in Massachusetts.

        “Through this work, we were able to invest in and scale a lot of [initiatives] like community health worker programs focused on social determinants of health, screening and management , and ways to expand addiction and behavioral health services,” she said. “I’m really proud of the work we did there to advance our care delivery model in the hospital to better meet the needs of our Medicaid population.”

        At the conclusion of the first on-campus instructional residency, Kakoza expressed enthusiasm for the overall program.

        “My colleagues are wonderful, and they bring an amazing array of experience,” she said. “I’m excited to learn from them. The professors and instructors are all phenomenal and engaging. The spirit and community of this place is really warm and inviting.”

        Dr. Rose Kakoza

        Dr. Rose Kakoza

        More about Dr. Kakoza

        • BA sociology Harvard University
        • MD Harvard Medical School
        • MPH Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health
        • Former Instructor of Internal Medicine at Harvard Medical School
        • Board certified in Internal Medicine by the American Board of Internal Medicine
        • After earning her bachelor’s degree, Kakoza spent a year in South Africa working with a team of international medical and health professionals and local health experts caring for HIV/AIDS patients.


        The Harbert College of Business which is celebrating the 10th anniversary of Raymond and Kathryn Harbert's transformational naming gift, is a nationally ranked hub of undergraduate, graduate and continuing business education that is inspiring the next generation of business leaders. Our world-class faculty deliver unparalleled academic rigor in the classroom, while our research-driven scholarship advances thought leadership and best practice across business disciplines. The largest college on Auburn's campus, Harbert enrolls more than 6,900 undergraduate, graduate and doctoral students.