Christian Zimmerman, MD, MBA, MHCDS ‘18
Neurosurgeon (Spine), St. Alphonsus Health System
I have practiced complex spinal neurosurgery in Boise, Idaho for the past 25 years. This surgical practice and its’ duties are completed with the assistance of three Nurse Practitioners, two Nurse Evaluators and a highly efficient office staff. My current executive responsibilities include being a Board Member for the Saint Alphonsus Health System and Trinity Health.
Q: Why did you decide to apply and ultimately matriculate into the MHCDS program?
I had recently completed my specialty's MOC and recognized the amount of time and enormous changes to our health care system since my last formal educational experience. The well-designed and highly-focused curriculum of the MHCDS program provides the knowledge, skills and frameworks necessary not only to understand, but to help shape how care is delivered in this new world of uncertainty. Being subjected to the rigors of to healthcare reform as a surgeon is one thing; being professionally immersed in the process while embedded with the world’s experts as mentors, is another.
Q: What has been the best part of the program for you – so far?
The MHCDS program team delivers the curriculum in an ultra-professional manner from subject matter to the minor details of logistics for each residency. The constant learning through my interactions with fellow students and teachers has been invaluable. I am also proud to be a Dartmouth College graduate student.
Q: How have you used the skills and knowledge you have gained so far?
The classwork in finance and operations have immediate applicability as unit cost in hospital operations is paramount to quality calculation and disclosure. Recently, the Health Care Operations course had us studying conceptual and real-world processes in our own institutions, helping us identify and remedy bottleneck situations - allowing us to do our work more efficiently, with the same or fewer resoures. In many ways, healthcare reform is translated as "efficiency redesign" to the ears of a health system/hospital/insurer, demanding prompt and measurable change and the operations course has helped me speak the language of administrators and be able to contribute in a meaningful way that enhances patient care.
Q: What else would you tell a candidate for the MHCDS program about your experience?
The MHCDS program is the premier study opportunity to expand the perspectives and capabilities of physician and administrator alike. There is no better place than Dartmouth to understand the future of health care and to prepare to lead us to it.