April 7th is World Health Day (Part 1)

large-poster300April 7th is internationally recognised as being World Health Day. This year’s theme is improving food safety, from farm to plate. According to the World Health Organisation, unsafe food is linked to the deaths of an estimated 2 million people annually. With increasingly globalisation come new threats to our food including harmful bacteria, viruses and chemicals. World Health Day is an opportunity for governments, manufactures, retailers, the public, and business schools to look at the importance of food safety.

Outside of the theme chosen for the year, April 7th is an occasion to introduce, discuss, raise awareness and take action on health issues that are material to your community, whether that be your campus, your country or on an international scale. To celebrate World Health Day, here is a small selection of what business schools around the world are doing related to health issues.

Haas Business School’s Healthcare Association (USA) is a student group that aims to be the “healthcare hub at UC Berkeley.” They host an annual Haas Business of Healthcare Conference, which attracts over 300 participants. They also organise Hacking Heath, an annual hackathon focused on developing software for health care. Professional and student coders, builders, designers, marketers, health experts and clinicians from across the University and the area meet to design, build and pitch solutions over a 2.5 day period. The students in the Haas Healthcare Association also organise a number of company treks, “lunch and learn” sessions and networking opportunities for students, as well as guidance and connections for summer internships in the area of healthcare.

Members of the Association can often be found at healthcare business-case competitions around the nations. Boston University (USA) has two healthcare case competitions. The Global Health Sector Interdisciplinary Case Competition challenges teams of students from 12 of the world’s leading MBA programmes to solve a health sector market challenge. The competition is unique due to its interdisciplinary nature—in addition to MBA students, each team includes public health, medicine, engineering or law students. The School also organises the Grand Business Challenge in Digital Health, sponsored by Merck, where teams of students from leading business schools answer the question: How will information technology influence and transform global healthcare to create value for the world? Last year’s winner was a team from Fudan University School of Management, with a project that looked at bringing the gap between rural and urban populations by providing online consulting and education for rural doctors.

Several Universities offer MBAs or other management programmes with a focus on Health Care. Boston University has a Health Sector Management Programme that has been running since 1972 that prepares students for leadership roles throughout the health industry including biotechnology, pharmaceuticals, medical devices, health information technology, health systems management, consulting and public policy. Many students also take advantage of the dual degrees offered, including an MBA/JD in Law and Heath Care Management and an MBA/MPH in Global Heath Management. ESPAE (Ecuador) has a Hospitals Management Programme that aims to create competent professionals in the management of health-care organisations, who are socially and ethically responsible. Several other schools such as University of Wisconsin – La Crosse (USA) are also looking at developing Heath Care Management Programmes.

Related to health topics as well, the International University of Monaco (Monaco) has a Master in Sustainable Peace through Sports. As part of the programme, students attend the International Peace and Sports Forum in Monaco, which allows them the opportunity to interact with more than 700 influential decision makers and high profile opinion leaders from world sport governance, politics, international organisations, NGOs and the private sector, plus academics and top-level athletes from over 100 countries on topics related to sustainable peace.

Several business schools hold public dialogues around health and sustainability topics. The Global Security Research Institute, Keio University (Japan) has held a lecture series called “Dedication to Health,” its first lecture series for PRME, which was made into a fully credited course at Keio University. Its aim was to provide opportunities to reconsider CSR activities from the keyword health. Starting from the physical and mental health of individuals, the concept expanded to include healthy organisations, communities and even healthy global economies. IEDC (Slovenia) partnered with members of the UN Global Compact Local Network Slovenia to organise workshops around the theme of “Health promotion in the workplace as part of the corporate social responsibility and sustainable business development.” Participants (managers) of the morning workshops jointly developed their baselines and expectations in this area, which were later presented as challenging questions to the speakers of a high level round table on the topic.

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