Class of 2020

Joe Underwood, MD

Chair of Emergency Medicine
Hackensack Meridian Health

I strongly believe that my ability to positively impact our health care 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. The MHCDS program has given me the tools to make that vision a reality.

Joe, tell us more about your professional experience.

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.

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 health care 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.

How have you used the skills/knowledge you have gained so far?

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.

What would you 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.

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."