Health care conference explores winds of change

From the Winter 2013 edition of Vanderbilt Business

More than 350 people attended the Vanderbilt Health Care Conference, which is quickly becoming a signature event for Owen. Speaker Rushika Fernandopulle challenged them to radically reinvent health care.

Transformation and innovation were watchwords at the sixth annual student-organized Vanderbilt Health Care Conference and Career Fair on Oct. 25.

Morning keynote speaker Dr. Rushika Fernandopulle offered challenging and inspiring advice to the more than 350 students, faculty, community leaders and health care professionals gathered at Nashville’s new Music City Center convention facility. The practicing physician and co-founder and CEO of Cambridge, Mass.-based Iora Health, discussed his firm’s radical model of primary care, which provides health coaches and doctors who will do just about anything to help patients take better care of their health. “If you don’t break the rules, it’s not innovation,” he told the audience.

Nina Nashif, founder and CEO of Healthbox, which hopes to bring startup ingenuity to the health care industry, provided a second keynote address. Healthbox identifies high-potential health care technology startups and provides support that enables their development and growth. Nashif suggested that innovators can change the industry if they 1) co-create solutions alongside established health care organizations, 2) help change those organizations’ DNA so that they are more open to new things, and 3) start searching for small bets that might yield high rewards.

Other activities included panels led by industry professionals, a career fair and recruiting booths. Conference co-chairs Megan Eberhard and Kristen O’Neill, both second-year Health Care MBA students, reported that the event drew students from more than 20 schools, as well as professionals from across the nation.