The President’s Desk

Contributor: John Harris, WG’88
To learn more about John, click here.


JohnHarris.pngDear Fellow Alumni and Friends,

This is a call to moral professional action.

With the current uncertainty and potential upheaval around government policy, we could be in for a wild ride that may substantially change the healthcare industry. (This letter was submitted in early February, but I’m willing to bet that upon publication in April, there’s still a fair bit of uncertainty.)

In times of uncertainty (like now) it’s easy to put our heads down and worry about navigating a complex policy and business environment by doing what we think is right for our organization. But we are called on to do more. Not as Republicans, Democrats, or Independents, liberals or conservatives, but as healthcare industry leaders and professionals. 

More than other industries, healthcare challenges us on numerous and diverse levels. Whether we are in pharma, biotech, IT, products, finance, delivery, policy, or insurance (and we have alumni in all these areas and more), we must understand and address the complex web of societal, policy, regulatory, economic, technological, clinical, and ethical issues of the day – not only those that affect us, but also those that we will influence by our actions.

It may seem daunting to weigh and integrate all these factors into our analyses, our decision-making, and our vision. Yet, as we progress from positions of support to positions of leadership, our responsibility to think broadly grows even more critical. When we do employ this wider lens, some core questions emerge to guide us:

  • Would I want my family to get healthcare in the system we’re creating?
  • Is our approach fair – would I choose it if I didn’t know whether I would be wealthy or poor, healthy or sick?
  • Do we support accuracy and disclosure, or employ obfuscation and distortion for private gain?
  • Are we striking the right balance between health needs and other societal needs?
  • Can we be better stewards and more responsibly use resources -- financial, human, environmental?
  • Am I speaking up for what is right and just, even if it feels awkward in my organization or profession?

The Wharton Healthcare Management Alumni Association (WHCMAA) is the leading network in the business of health. WHCMAA members span every aspect of the vast healthcare industry. Our members include fresh MBA graduates, mid-career leaders, seasoned veterans, and retirees, including:

  • over 2,000 MBA alumni from the Wharton Healthcare Management program
  • 3,000 Wharton MBAs in the business of health who are eligible to become affiliate members of WHCMAA

We are not just navigating the coming changes – we are also shaping them. It is up to each of us. Consider the impact we can have if we work together and make the right choices.


Contact John at: 
John M. Harris, WG‘88
Wharton Healthcare Management Alumni Association
[email protected]