The President’s Desk

Contributor: Maria Whitman, WG’05
To learn more about Maria, click here.


Maria_Whitman.jpgMany of you in these recent months have shared stories with me on why you choose every day to be in healthcare. Whether driven by personal experience, desire to tackle the most difficult and costly challenges faced globally, and/or innate personal drive to improve health at its core, the passion and dedication of this alumni base is as inspiring as it is powerful. And it is growing…….. 

In the annual “State of the Clubs” report issued by Wharton, the WHCMAA carried the spotlight, with the highest total paid memberships for any club; nearly double the network average!

The question we received from cross-club leadership is “What makes this club so valuable that so many choose to belong?” The answer has to begin with the alignment of our efforts and activities to a very clear mission:   

  • Support the Wharton Healthcare Management Program and its students
  • Contribute to the lifelong learning of its membership
  • Contribute to the healthcare sector through service, leadership, and education

In this last quarter, we further advanced our support of the program and students by committing $15,000 to the Wharton Global Healthcare Ventures club, who will be sending ~25 students to support 4 projects with non-profit organizations in Bolivia, Nicaragua, and India over this winter break. As importantly, we are ramping up alumni mentorship support on these and future projects as a first step towards an expanded program relationship with alumni for the future. 

Screen_Shot_2020-02-17_at_11.55.11_AM.pngAI. AI. AI. There will be ~$6.6B in investment in AI (artificial intelligence) in healthcare by 2021, with an estimated savings of ~$150B created by 2026. AI programs have been developed and applied to support diagnosis, treatment protocols and pathways, research and development, monitoring, personalized medicine, etc., but we have yet to scratch the surface. With medical knowledge doubling every 73 days by 2020 (was 3.5 years in 2010, 7 years in 1980), the opportunity to and risks of not leveraging AI become more clear. To advance our collective learning and discussion on the topic, our annual Alumni Conference in October – “Artificial Intelligence - “A PotpourrAI” of Applications” brought together ~36 speakers from every sector and perspective to explore the challenges, learnings, emergent solutions, ethics, and implications of this critical topic.  The conversation continued well into the cocktail hour with alumni connecting and pressure testing new ideas, tackling the challenge of adaption/change, debating the role of human intervention, and aligning on broader implications. 

I want to thank our planning committee for tackling such a critical topic in healthcare and opening up further this cross-sector dialogue with so many alumni: Jeff Voigt (WG’85, Conference Chair), Lisa Clark (JD’89), John Harris (WG’88), Deepa Shah (WG’16), Rohan Siddhanti (WG’19), Chris Simpkins (WG’02), Shilpa Topudurti (WG’20), Ryan Vass (WG’14), John Winkelman (WG’80), Bernie Zipprich (WG’16), June Kinney, Janice Singleton, Danna Daughtry, and our student volunteers. 

Screen_Shot_2020-02-17_at_11.58.17_AM.pngWith pride, we accomplished a lot with our last months of 2019. Yet, there is still a lot to be done.  

We are starting 2020 with a membership survey geared to enabling the WHCMAA to continue to align activities in support of your needs and goals. We look forward to reading your responses and building out new and expanded ways to bring value to you, our amazing community. 

Thank you, and Happy New Year!

Kind regards, 

Maria Whitman, WG’05
President, Wharton Healthcare Management Alumni Association

Contact Maria at:
[email protected]
Twitter: @MariaWhitman