Colleges with a Brilliant Healthcare Innovation Faculty

Healthcare innovation is dedicated to changing healthcare for the benefit of all, both healthcare consumers and providers. The Forbes healthcare predictions for 2019 point to the need for leaders in this area, as they estimate that 15 percent of global healthcare spending this year will be connected to a value-based model.

What this means is that there will be a shift, especially in countries that spend more than 10 percent of their GDP on healthcare (e.g., US, France, Japan, Canada, etc.) away from economic models based on cost-effectiveness towards ones that are focused on treatment and health outcomes. The goal here is that this shift would benefit both providers and payers, i.e., healthcare professionals and patients alike. Win-win, right? We can only hope. The Forbes 2018 predictions were close to 98 percent accurate, so the odds are highly in our favor.

Master’s programs in healthcare innovation focus on various areas. Core coursework in areas like healthcare systems, evidence-based leadership, and outcomes orientation provide students with the competencies required for innovative leadership in healthcare. While there are master of science degrees in healthcare innovation (HI), some programs offer an HI concentration within a traditional MBA, and others offer an HI focus within a master’s in healthcare management degree.

Whether coursework is completed in-person or on online, graduate programs in healthcare innovation often culminate with a capstone experience that includes a supervised practicum and completion of a project addressing a relevant industry problem. Students may have the option to work in groups or individually in collaboration with faculty members and community partners. This culminating hands-on training serves to reinforce theoretical learning and equip students with the skills to lead in this dynamic, constantly changing industry.

Job titles in healthcare innovation mirror the complexity and creativity of the field. Postings on LinkedIn for jobs in HI announced openings for healthcare solution architect, healthcare digital transformation consultant, healthcare ventures and innovation coordinator, healthcare payer talent and agile organization consultant, among others. This pays service to the fact that the field of healthcare innovation is quite diverse, calling for professionals from a variety of backgrounds and disciplines. An individual’s unique set of skills and body of expertise can be tailored towards the particular healthcare subfield chosen and desired professional setting.

This list includes 12 accomplished healthcare innovation faculty members chosen for notable academic and professional accomplishments. Five schools in particular stood out for their accomplished faculty members in this discipline: the Ohio State University, the University of Arizona, the University of St. Thomas, Johns Hopkins University, and Emory College.

These 12 healthcare innovation professors have demonstrated expertise gained through years of service, experience, study and research. Their contributions to the field consist of cutting edge research, considerable published works, teaching excellence, industry leadership, and other professional achievements recognized through honors and awards.

Read on to discover five exceptional schools for healthcare innovation programs.

Ohio State University, College of Nursing

Part of the “Big Ten,” the Ohio State University was established in 1870, honoring its first graduating class in 1878. It is a land-, sea-, and space-grant university named one of the most innovative institutions of higher education in the country by U.S. News & World Report and around the globe by Reuters.

OSU has also gained recognition as an LGBTQ-friendly college, earning an five out of five stars from Campus Pride. And as one of the top universities for sustainability from the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education. The university expresses its commitment to diversity by stating in its diversity action plan that “students who attend a truly diverse university are better prepared to live and work in a multi-cultural society and global economy”.

  • Michael Ackerman

    Michael Ackerman, PhD

    Dr. Michael Ackerman began his career as a candy striper and worked his way up through positions as a nurse, nurse manager, clinical nurse specialist and nurse practitioner to senior director of nursing. Throughout his career, Dr. Ackerman has focused on critical care and learning from the bedside. He has published widely and holds leadership roles in numerous academic settings.

    Professor Ackerman is known as a “disruptive innovator” working in the subfield of culture change. He has implemented the “Crucial Conversations” program within two of the institutions he has served. Notably, he is now the current director of the master in healthcare innovation program and professor of clinical nursing at Ohio State.

  • Megan Amaya

    Megan Amaya, PhD

    Co-director of the bachelor of science in health and wellness innovation in healthcare, Dr. Megan Amaya is an assistant professor of clinical practice. She is also the director of health promotion and wellness, providing wellness services for the university, community, and the state of Ohio.

    Professor Amaya teaches evidence-based practice and self-care approaches in the BS program and serves as principal investigator on several health and wellness projects. She is a certified specialist in health education. Dr. Amaya is president of the National Consortium for Building Healthy Academic Communities and past-president for the Ohio chapter of the Society of Public Health Educators.

University of Arizona, Eller College of Management

A leading research educational institution, the University of Arizona was founded in 1885, about 30 years before Arizona became a state. Since its first graduating class of three (two women and one man), UA has developed into a school of more than 40,000 students, with close to 10,000 degrees awarded in 2017.

Despite the dramatic changes the school has undergone since its inception, its purpose has remained the same. As stated in the original language in which it was written, UA continues “to provide the inhabitants of this state with the means of acquiring a thorough knowledge of the various branches of literature, science, and the arts,” and, to the greatest extent possible, to provide technical education suitable to the development of the resources found in the state Arizona.

  • Allison S

    Allison S. Gabriel, PhD

    Associate professor of management and organizations Robbins fellow, Dr. Allison S. Gabriel teaches courses in organizational behavior and the human side of organizations. She earned her PhD in industrial-organizational psychology from the University of Akron in 2013, and in her young career, has already published widely in the field and been recognized with numerous awards and honors.

    In 2018 alone, Dr. Gabriel was awarded six different honors including the Eller College Student’s Choice Award for Outstanding Faculty, the Eller Online Business Administration Cohort Outstanding Faculty Award, and the Western Academy of Management Ascendant Scholar Award, among others.

    Professor Gabriel is also actively engaged in service to the field and is currently on the editorial boards of five academic journals, such as the Journal of Applied Psychology, the Journal of Organizational Behavior, and the Journal of Management to name a few. Her expertise is in interpersonal stressors, emotions, and relationships at work, motivation, employee well-being, and employee recovery.

  • Gautam Gowrisankaran

    Gautam Gowrisankaran, PhD

    Dr. Gautam Gowrisankaran is the director of economics graduate studies and Arizona public service professor of economics and UA. Professor Gowrisankaran has written extensively in his areas of expertise, and his work can be found in the Journal of Political Economy, the RAND Journal of Economics, and Health Affairs, among many other scholarly publications. His current research focuses on health economics, industrial organization, applied econometrics, and energy and environmental economics.

    Dr. Gowrisankaran holds a doctoral degree from Yale University and was honored with an honorary doctorate from the University of Oulu, Finland in the spring of 2017. He teaches the economics of dynamic industrial organizations.

University of St. Thomas, Opus College of Business

The University of St. Thomas is Minnesota’s largest private university. Offering over 100 undergraduate majors and 60 graduate programs, St. Thomas has the benefits of a large university with a student-faculty ratio of just 14-to-one. What’s more, 100 percent of classes are taught by faculty members.

The school was founded by Archbishop John Ireland in 1885 and is a Catholic university offering an education that is “values-centered” and “career-oriented”. The school was listed on the EPA’s list of the 20 largest college and university purchasers of greenpower and earned LEED Gold designation for its new student center by the U.S. Green Business Council. The Opus college of Business espouses a “principled leadership” philosophy and has over 90 full-time faculty members.

  • Jack Militello

    Jack Militello, PhD

    Former senior executive fellow in the Center for Innovation in the Business of Healthcare, Dr. Jack Militello is a professor of management. His main research interests are in the areas of institutional alignment, strategic alignment, leadership, and innovative management in the realm of healthcare.
    Professor Militello teaches courses in the overview of healthcare systems and storytelling: influencing organization.

    Dr. Militello has been a full professor at the University of St. Thomas since 1987 and has over 35 years of experience consulting on business development, strategy, mergers and acquisitions, alliances, and divestiture. He has also held numerous administrative positions at the University of St. Thomas including program director of the healthcare MBA and executive MBA, as well as director of the Center for Applied Research in Business. Professor Militello holds degrees in philosophy (BA, Boston College), communications (MA, University of Colorado), and business and applied economics (PhD, Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania).

  • John Olson

    John Olson, PhD

    John Olson is a professor of operations and supply chain management and the faculty director of the master of science in business analytics program. His research focuses on the impact of blockchain technology on healthcare systems. Dr. Olson is interested in how such technology can be used to transform the use of data in healthcare to increase the quality of care and lower costs.

    Professor Olson has taught courses in analytics in addition to operations and quality management and has served as the director of the Healthcare Research Center and the chair of the supply chain management department. Dr. Olson has numerous publications in esteemed journals to his credit.

  • Michael C. Porter

    Michael C. Porter, EdD

    Distinguished service professor Dr. Michael C. Porter has been the faculty director of the master of science in healthcare communications since 2016 and was recently named the faculty director of the MS in healthcare analytics program as well. He teaches courses in healthcare writing, reputation management, management priorities for communicators, and communication research. Professor Porter’s current research interest is in crisis communication, specifically investigating how external consultants are used during times of serious organizational crisis by senior managers.

    Dr. Porter has significant professional experience in marketing, public relations, and communications, and he is a frequent speaker at industry conferences. He also worked as an outside consultant with the Minneapolis Star Tribune from 2009 to 2018 and as contributing writer for the “Ask the Consultant” column. Notably, Dr. Porter’s record of service is huge. He has served on boards of directors or advisors for over 20 companies and organizations over the past decade.

Johns Hopkins University, Whiting School of Engineering

Daniel Coit Gilman believed that teaching and research are equally important aspects of educational success and that sharing knowledge and discoveries would contribute to the betterment of the world. As the first research university in the United States, Johns Hopkins is making good on its first president’s ideals.

JHU’s center for Bioengineering Innovation and Design (CBID) offers a unique master’s program in global health innovation that combines formal study with clinical observations at JHU hospital, travel to the developing world, and immersion in the process of medical device development. The center’s mission to “create and develop solutions for major challenges to human health” is achieved through a “bedside-to-bench-to-bedside” model, which encourages teamwork, collaboration, and a broad reach with regards to commercializing solutions.

  • Soumyadipta Acharya

    Soumyadipta Acharya, PhD

    Dr. Soumyadipta Acharya is an assistant research professor of biomedical engineering and the graduate program director of the Johns Hopkins Center for Bioengineering Innovation and Design. One of Professor Acharya’s research foci involves global medical technology innovation. He has been funded by several global relief agencies, including USAID, to create diagnostic and therapeutic technologies designed to reduce maternal and neonatal mortality with current field studies in progress in East Africa and South Asia.

    Dr. Acharya was honored with the Olympus Emerging Educational Leader Award from the National Collegiate Inventors and Innovators Alliance (NCIIA) for his work in medical technology innovation, education, and entrepreneurship. Dr. Acharya is the chief architect of the graduate program in bioengineering innovation and design and a medical doctor educated in medicine and surgery in India (MBBS, University of Calcutta) and biomedical engineering in the United States (MSE and PhD, Johns Hopkins).

  • Youseph Yazdi

    Youseph Yazdi, PhD

    Assistant Professor of biomedical engineering Dr. Youseph Yazdi is the executive director of the Center of Bioengineering Innovation and Design and the Johns Hopkins-Coulter Translational Partnership. Prior to joining the JHU faculty, Dr. Yazdi worked as director for Johnson & Johnson’s corporate office of science and technology, where he was involved in guiding initial healthcare innovation efforts.

    Dr. Yazdi holds degrees in electrical engineering (BS, Rice University and MS, University of Texas at Austin), entrepreneurial management (MBA, University of Pennsylvania Wharton School of Business), and biomedical engineering (PhD, University of Texas at Austin). He has contributed to the creation of ultrasound and biophotonic devices for which he holds multiple patents.

Emory University, Rollins School of Public Health and Goizueta Business School

Emory University is a private, liberal arts university in Atlanta, Georgia and the second-largest employer in the metro region. In addition to enriching the area with its economic impact, Emory was ranked #1 for “quality of life” by The Princeton Review in 2019.

Emory Healthcare, part of the University’s Woodruff Health Sciences Center, is the most comprehensive health services system in the state. With “innovation and empathy” as its motto and “excellence, caring, and integrity” as its mission, Emory Health aims to “serve humanity by improving health” through its care transformation model.

The healthcare innovation program (HIP) is collaboration between Emory, Georgia Tech, Morehouse, and the ACTSI (Atlanta Clinical and Translational Science Institute). It offers courses, events, seminars, lectures, and activities through Georgia Clinical and Translational Science Alliance (GCTSA) centers, schools, and colleges to advance research, education, and service in the field. Current GCTSA partners include the American Cancer Society, the Centers for Disease Control, Kaiser-Permanente, and the Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta, among others.

  • Steven D. Culler

    Steven D. Culler, PhD

    Dr. Steven Culler studies the utilization of healthcare services with particular focus on “observed variation” within three populations: the elderly, those with limited access to care, and individuals with chronic disease. Dr. Culler is an associate professor for the Department of Health Policy and Management and has authored over 75 scholarly works in his areas of expertise. His industry experience includes working in health service research, health policy, and financial management.

    Dr. Culler worked as a commercial lending officer for the First National Bank of Chicago, serving healthcare clients and as a health services researcher and policy maker for the American Medical Association and the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association. Professor Culler teaches finance and management accounting for health careers, pre-candidacy research, and dissertation research. His main area of interest is in health outcomes.

  • Arri Eisen

    Arri Eisen, PhD

    Dr. Arri Eisen is a professor of pedagogy in the biology department, the Institute for the Liberal Arts, and the Emory Center of Ethics. He teaches the values in science course for the healthcare innovation program, which focuses on the topics of cost-risk benefits, medical technology, resource allocation, and ethics.

    Professor Eisen’s scholarly activities involve biochemistry, genetics, epigenetics, science education, and science and religion. Dr. Eisen is also the director of FIRST (Fellowships in Research and Science Teaching), an organization that supports postdoctoral training and teaching. Notably, he is a leader of the Emory-Tibet Science Initiative, whose work integrated modern science into the curriculum of the India-exiled monks and nuns of the Dalai Lama. His book, The Enlightened Gene, co-written with one of the monks, was published in 2017.

  • Richard Saltman

    Richard Saltman, PhD

    Dr. Richard Saltman is a professor of health policy and management and teaches comparative health systems in the healthcare innovation program at Emory. He researches the structure and behavior of healthcare systems in Europe, and his prolific body of scholarly work focuses on reforms in hospital organizations and primary healthcare. He is currently studying the increasing role of patient responsibility in health services, among several other projects.

    Dr. Saltman is affiliated with the Department of Political Science and serves as the director of research policy, as well as the European Observatory on Health Systems and Policies (Brussels) and co-director of the Swedish Forum on Health Policy (Stockholm). He holds degrees from Dartmouth College (BA, MA) and Stanford University (PhD).


MHAOnline used the following criteria when choosing healthcare innovation schools for this list:

  • Accreditation: All schools have been accredited by associations approved by the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA).
  • Awards and Recognition: These schools frequently appear among the top 20 colleges and universities in the United States according to entities such as U.S. News & World Report, The Princeton Review, Forbes, and other respected ranking organizations.
  • Faculty: All schools have a world-class faculty who are widely published and have received prestigious honors.
  • Student Opportunities and Support: All of these universities provide opportunities for students to learn about healthcare innovation in hands-on capacities, including through real-world case studies and skills development services.

MHAOnline used the following criteria to choose healthcare innovation experts to include in this list:

  • University Affiliation: These individuals are all actively teaching and associated with healthcare innovation programs at accredited universities in the U.S.
  • Publication: The experts featured in this article have published extensively in peer-reviewed academic journals and other industry publications. Publishing is a main consideration when evaluating the credentials of distinguished candidates.
  • Institutional & Peer Recognition: Professors included on this list have been recognized as being the top in their fields through teaching awards and honors, publishing, and research grants.
  • Professional Commitment: These healthcare innovation professionals have also contributed to the field outside of their teaching obligations. They serve as faculty deans or program directors, primary investigators, speakers and presenters, industry consultants, community leaders, board members, and/or volunteers.
Cevia Yellin
Cevia Yellin

Cevia Yellin is a freelance writer based in Eugene, Oregon. She studied English and French literature as an undergraduate. After serving two years as an AmeriCorps volunteer, she earned her master of arts in teaching English to speakers of other languages. Cevia's travels and experiences working with students of diverse linguistic and cultural backgrounds have contributed to her interest in the forces that shape identity. She grew up on the edge of Philadelphia, where her mom still lives in her childhood home.

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