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Joe Underwood, MD ‘20

Chair of Emergency Medicine at Hackensack Meridian Health

Joe Underwood, MD ‘20 Image

I am the Chair of Emergency Medicine at Hackensack Meridian Health, responsible for the leadership and management of emergency medicine at the Hackensack University Medical Center Campus. I also have a service line role across the 17 campuses that make up our integrated provider network.

Q.  As a physician, why did you think it was important to take the MHCDS program? 

I strongly believe that my ability to positively impact our healthcare system is predicated upon occupying roles within the system that have a broad reach. In order to make my personal vision for growth and development a reality, I need to move beyond service line leadership and into more broad, organizational leadership roles. This program has given me the tools to make that vision a reality.

Q. Why did you choose MHCDS over another type of program (e.g., MBA, MPH, MMM)

After carefully researching my options, I felt that this program was ideal for me. It touches upon all of the key domains in our complex healthcare environment with an appropriate level of breadth and depth. There is not a single thing that I have learned in the program that I have not been able to immediately apply to my work. For me, this decision was not about a degree or a merit badge, but rather about new knowledge, new skills, and new perspectives that would allow me to have impact and shape our current environment. The MHCDS program is built upon that premise. It has given me exactly what I needed.

Q. How have you used the skills/knowledge you have gained so far, six months into the program? 

I’m calculating the net present value of proposed strategic initiatives and using the results to drive strategic decision-making. I’m having discussions with finance about corporate overhead allocation. I am also working with a member of my executive team who has a well-developed affiliative leadership style to focus on developing a directive style to strengthen his leadership.

Q.  What is the best part of the program for you – so far?

I have two best parts: the faculty and my classmates. The faculty are world class leaders in their respective domains. My classmates are incredibly accomplished, incredibly diverse, and great teachers. Together they create a rich learning environment and educational product who’s sum total is far in excess of its individual parts.

Q. Is there anything else that you would tell a friend or colleague who was considering the MHCDS program?

Don’t think twice about doing it. It was the best career decision I have ever made.