Giving Compass’ Take:
• Pooja Kumar interviews Catherine Jacobson, president and CEO of Froedtert Health, and Thomas Zenty, CEO of University Hospitals, as she explains how their academic medical centers and academic-based health systems are finding their niche in the healthcare ecosystem.
• How do changing consumer expectations and social determinants of health change their vision for the future?
POOJA KUMAR, M.D.: Cathy and Tom, thank you so much for joining us.
Today, we’re hoping to focus on the role of academic medical centers and academic-based health systems in our broader healthcare ecosystem. This is a topic that I’m personally passionate about, and I know that these two leaders are as well. Tell us, what brought you into the academic space? Was it something you always wanted to do?
CATHY JACOBSON: Sure. I never intended to go into healthcare. I kind of fell into it. I’m a CPA. I got my accounting degree and went up to Chicago with one [of] the big accounting firms. And when you get up there, they give you this list of industries, and I checked off hospitals.
[The reason was] My mom was a hospital Registered Nurse. My first job in high school was washing dishes in that hospital. [I know hospitals] actually freak out a lot of people, especially accountants.
I started on the health plan side, and was there for about eight years, and then went over to the main medical center working in the C-suite. Originally, I became the CFO, Chief Strategy Officer, and it went from there. I had no intention of going into academic medicine. Actually, when you start on the health plan side, you don’t look at it through a very good lens, because it’s expensive, and that’s exactly what you don’t want to have when you’re on the health plan side. [I had a] completely different view once I got on the inside over at the academic medical center, and was actually able to see the specialization and the differentiated services.
Read the full article about academic-based health systems by Pooja Kumar at McKinsey & Company.