Jack DeHovitz, MD, MPH, MHCDS ‘17
Director, Special Treatment and Research Program (STAR), SUNY Downstate Medical Center
In 1980, Jack DeHovitz was six months into his medicine internship in New York City, when young men suddenly started presenting with a series of infections and dying. It took a year or two for the scope of the AIDS epidemic to become clear, but already DeHovitz was impassioned to learn more—and to get involved.
His interest in infectious disease led him to found an ambulatory care clinic at SUNY Downstate Medical Center in Brooklyn that now takes care of more than 1,200 people living with HIV and an international research program in Eastern Europe and Central Asia that spans 11 countries. Now, after more than 20 years of leadership, DeHovitz felt inspired to broaden his skill set to meet new challenges.
“I’ve been interested in management and leadership since I organized our first clinical and research team in the early 90s,” says DeHovitz. “And these skills will be a critical component of ensuring that this program thrives within a very rapidly evolving health care system.”
DeHovitz attended short courses on leadership at Wharton and Harvard, but he wanted a fuller immersion in the principles and management of health care organizations. He looked into MBAs, but they were too commercially oriented and less relevant for his work at a safety net hospital. Other similarly oriented programs seemed duplicative as he already had a master in public health degree. Finally a year and a half ago, he discovered that two colleagues were enrolled at Dartmouth’s MHCDS program—and he applied.
“I’m in an academic environment, so I have many opportunities to learn,” says DeHovitz. “But the MHCDS program has dramatically increased my knowledge base in the field. The teaching has been superb and relevant to what I handle on a day-to-day basis.” DeHovitz has already implemented several new concepts based on what he has learned in the first months of the program. He has been asked to serve on committees to assess Downstate’s readiness for value-based care and help bring health-care-delivery concepts to Eastern European research institutions.
DeHovitz appreciates the benefits of the stimulating interchanges he has had with his new colleagues. “It’s been so rewarding to work with my fellow students who have enlightened me about all the interesting innovations happening in their diverse settings,” says DeHovitz. “Additionally, it is rare to establish a new social and professional network at this stage of life —the program at Dartmouth has provided such a rich, wonderful experience and a remarkably supportive environment.”