“Mens et Manus” with Global Health Corps
During the last semester of my MBA program at the MIT Sloan School of Management, I was working with a partnership between Kenya’s Ministry of Health and the AMPATH program situated at Moi University Teaching Hospital to lay the foundation of a pricing model for an insurance program in Western Kenya. In order to incorporate the needs of the region, I partnered with students of Moi University and interviewed roughly 300 residents across Western Kenya’s Busia County to better understand the pricing sensitivity of the everyday citizens who lived there.
Throughout this project, what I quickly realized is that while I had learned various techniques and skills throughout my career (i.e. developing pricing sensitivity models) that were helpful, the key to the success of our project was local talent. They understood the local labor market and healthcare system, and they played a key role in appropriately interpreting the data that we were generating. Investing in this human capital is what can drive lasting change in the world. This reality has influenced my perspective on how to collaborate on global cross-functional teams in my roles in global commercial strategy, both at Roche and now at AstraZeneca.
In my career, I’ve carried MIT’s Latin Creed “Mens et Manus”, meaning “mind and hand” with me: the belief that our ability to change the world is in the action of putting textbook theory into practice. This is seen throughout the MIT undergraduate community where ~91 percent of students take part in undergraduate research throughout the labs on campus. At MIT Sloan, ~900 out of the ~1300 total students enrolled engage in some form of an Action Learning Lab.
I recently joined the Board of Directors of Global Health Corps (GHC), a leadership accelerator committed to the “Mens et Manus” approach. 100 percent of GHC fellows engage in action learning over the course of a 13-month fellowship on the front lines of global health. The organization identifies future leaders in healthcare across the U.S. and Africa, and places them in opportunities where they can create change and lay the foundation for their careers. To date, GHC has built a community of 1,000+ health equity leaders, of which 43 percent are African nationals and 73 percent are females. As they continue to grow within their careers, 12 percent now hold senior-level positions within healthcare organizations. At just 10 years in, we are only at the beginning of GHC’s journey. This impact will only continue to grow as many of these young adults rise in their careers and apply their leadership skills and a systems lens to tackle complex health challenges.
When I think about investing in the healthcare market in a specific region, there are several key pillars that require resources and attention:
- Public Infrastructure — electricity, water, etc.
- Space — hospitals, hospital beds, etc.
- Technological resources — hospital tools, diagnostic technology, therapeutics, etc.
- Human Capital — doctors, nurses, a wide range of public health leaders, supply chain experts, etc.
GHC excels in investing in human capital, with an emphasis on the under-recognized areas of public health and supply chain. In order to make healthcare systems more equitable, we need investment across the board.
In my short few months as a GHC Board Member, I have already seen several examples of this. Recently, I attended a panel featuring 2011–2012 GHC fellow Dedo Baranshamaje. Dedo is the current Director of Innovation — Africa for the Segal Family Foundation based in Malawi. Dedo is paving the way for the future in rethinking how we deliver healthcare in the African market and I am excited to follow his story. Supporting leaders like Dedo and the other 1,000+ GHC alumni as a member of GHC’s Board of Directors makes me hopeful for the future.
Dominic McDonald is the Associate Director of Global Commercial Strategy — Hematology/Oncology at AstraZeneca and sits on the Board of Directors of Global Health Corps. His views in this post are his own.
Global Health Corps (GHC) is a leadership development organization building the next generation of health equity leaders around the world. All GHC fellows, partners, and supporters are united in a common belief: health is a human right. There is a role for everyone in the movement for health equity. To learn more, visit our website and connect with us on Twitter/Instagram/Facebook.