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From Classroom to Bedside:

Cross-Training Surgeons to Address Complex Healthcare Challenges

Fayez Quereshy with his wife Nariman Malik

The healthcare landscape in Ontario is strewn with challenges: rising health costs, an aging population, and human resource shortages have cumulatively reduced healthcare accessibility. There is current need for surgeons cross-trained in academic disciplines complementary to medicine in order to optimize healthcare delivery. The Scholarship in Surgery Program is a novel platform that enables residents to explore academic curricula outside of the conventional surgical arena. In the Department's 2006 Annual Report, Dr. Ben Alman notes "many advances in medicine come from the application of knowledge from areas initially unrelated to medicine". Best practice principles from parallel industries can reduce healthcare costs, improve surgical efficiency, and enhance patient care.

Given the unique challenges within the healthcare sector, the Rotman School of Management has developed a unique interdisciplinary Health Sector MBA. The program's didactic curriculum is summarized in Table 1. Internationally recognized for innovation in research, Rotman's 'Integrative Thinking' model dissects complex business problems in order to achieve novel solutions(1). Foundational coursework in finance, accounting, economics, marketing, and strategy are necessary to understand the multi-factorial influences shaping modern-day commerce. Rotman's first year curriculum culminates in the Integrative Thinking Practicum where business theory is directly applied to a 'real-life' challenge. The second year of the program allows students to concentrate coursework in one of a variety of specializations. The Health Sector MBA provides trainees with the necessary tools to understand the healthcare environment from multiple perspectives: the government, service providers, and the patient.

My experiences at the Rotman School of Management have stimulated my research interests in systems optimization, surgical efficiency, and health policy. Leveraging best practices from parallel industries can optimize service delivery. The innovative application of industry knowledge will transform Canadian healthcare toward efficient and effective management of patient care. Southwest Airlines' practice of process standardization yielded increased revenues, cost containment, and improved customer satisfaction; these principles in healthcare can increase patient throughput, limit post-operative complications, and maximize resource utilization.

As surgical residents in Toronto, we are trained to employ evidence to deliver the highest standard of patient care. Given the acuity of our patients and limited human resources, we are often left with little time to reflect on the system-wide challenges that constrain the efficiency and effectiveness of our efforts. The Rotman School of Management has provided me with the foundation to better understand healthcare challenges and begin to explore creative solutions. By complementing evidence-based medicine with evidence-based management, we can optimize the return on our investments in improving the delivery of patient care.

(1) Dean Roger Martin provides a more detailed explanation of the Integrative Thinking model in "How Successful Leaders Think" (Martin, R. 2007. "How Successful Leaders Think." Harvard Business Review 85(6): 60-67.)

Fayez A. Quereshy, MD
Resident, Division of General Surgery
MBA-Candidate, Rotman School of Management


MBA Curriculum

Year 1

  1. Organizational Behaviour
  2. Micro/Macro/International Economics
  3. Corporate Finance
  4. Corporate Strategy
  5. Marketing Strategy
  6. Financial Accounting
  7. Managerial Accounting
  8. Operations Management
  9. Statistics
  10. Leadership and Ethics
  11. Negotiations
  12. Integrative Thinking

Year 2

  1. Healthcare Strategy
  2. Healthcare Economics and Policy
  3. Healthcare Marketing
  4. Healthcare Consulting
  5. Life Sciences Commercialization
  6. Advanced Negotiations
  7. Financial Management
  8. Financial Statement Analysis
  9. Entrepreneurship
  10. Top Manager's Perspective

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