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Dartmouth gets $35M to establish Center for Health Care Delivery Science

John Commins, for HealthLeaders Media, May 17, 2010

Dartmouth College has received a $35 million anonymous gift to establish a multidisciplinary Center for Health Care Delivery Science, President Jim Yong Kim announced today.

"We know—and this has been documented by the Dartmouth Atlas of Health Care—that there are glaring variations in how medical resources are used in the U.S. More care and more expensive care do not guarantee high quality care," Kim said in a media release. "What we need is a new field that brings the best minds—from management, systems engineering, anthropology, sociology, the medical humanities, environmental science, economics, health services research, and medicine—to focus on how we deliver the best quality care, in the best way, to patients nationally and globally. Those people are here at Dartmouth."

The center will integrate experts from the Arts and Sciences, the Tuck School of Business, the Thayer School of Engineering, Dartmouth Medical School, The Dartmouth Institute for Health Policy and Clinical Practice, and Dartmouth-Hitchcock, an affiliated academic health system, which will provide the base for innovation and implementation in clinical practice.

The initiatives include a new master's program in Health Care Delivery Science, offered by The Dartmouth Institute and the Tuck School of Business.

Traditional healthcare management courses have been built around general "best business" practices from a wide range of professions. The Dartmouth curriculum will be unique in its singular focus on discovery and analysis of innovations and real-time implementation in healthcare. Executive education and distance learning will be incorporated into the new degree program, scheduled to enroll its first class in July 2011. Undergraduate offerings in this field will be developed as well, Kim said.

The Center for Health Care Delivery Science will focus on five areas, including:

Research:

  • An expanded research agenda at Dartmouth and with partners around the country, building on the work of The Dartmouth Institute for Health Policy and Clinical Practice, and focusing on healthcare delivery.
  • An international research network that will bring together innovation centers to develop, study and disseminate best practices.
  • A grant award program to encourage research in the field.

Education:

  • A new curriculum in the delivery of healthcare to be incorporated into medical education at Dartmouth.
  • A consortium of medical schools committed to integrating Health Care Delivery Science into their academic programs.
  • Undergraduate courses, cross-disciplinary offerings through the Tuck School of Business, Thayer School of Engineering, Dartmouth Medical School and the Arts and Sciences, and new distance and executive learning opportunities.
  • A journal of healthcare delivery science, to advance dissemination, research, and learning.

Collaboration:

  • Partnerships across a diversity of healthcare systems in the U.S. and beyond, to define best practices and integrate them into clinical practice.
  • Joint efforts with academic institutions nationally and internationally to expand the new field of Health Care Delivery Science.

Implementation:

  • Development and deployment of measures beyond clinical outcomes, to evaluate the quality and value of care, with patient-reported data and longitudinal tracking incorporated into enhanced Health Information Technology.
  • On-the-ground teams and distance-teaching to facilitate clinical adoption of proven "best practices."

Advocacy:

  • New Communities of Practice nationally and internationally that demonstrate quality and value in healthcare.
  • Advocacy for changes in policy at the federal and state levels—and globally—to support new care models.
  • Comprehensive outreach to healthcare providers and systems, policymakers, and consumers to inform, educate, and engage.

Kim said the anonymous donor chose Dartmouth based on the university's work in health systems research and implementation, its graduate programs, history of collaboration and innovation, and the investment the trustees have already made in pursuing health reform through establishment of The Dartmouth Institute.


John Commins is a senior editor with HealthLeaders Media.

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