Carlson School of Management

Pulse - Winter 2012


Institute news

Pellere - By Stephen Parente, PhD, director

Following the re-election of President Barack Obama on November 6th, 2012, the Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives John Boehner (R-OH) declared the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) the law of the land. The implementation of the ACA is now upon us, with most of the law's provisions to be enacted by 2014. For many who have championed health reform, whether as Democrats or Republicans, the election is a bittersweet affirmation of the work that lies ahead. We must expand insurance access, while finding ways to make the healthcare system more efficient. For MILI students, faculty, and alumni, this health reform represents a substantial, once-in-a-generation opportunity.

Many of the firms on MILI's National Industry Council have been active participants in designing the systems and financing the future human capital required for health reform. For example, the Mayo Clinic has been a strong proponent of the Accountable Care Organization template now being advanced. Allina and Fairview health systems are pursuing Pioneer ACO pilots sponsored by Medicare. Optum, a division of UnitedHealth Group, is working with hospitals throughout the United States to help hospitals build ACO infrastructure. McKesson is providing many of the electronic medical record systems that will be required to make health systems more efficient and compliant with future regulations on health outcome reporting. Medtronic continues to work with MILI faculty to examine the impact of bundled payment on reimbursement for medical devices. And Pfizer has been investing in a Carlson School alumni start-up firm to use administrative data to help reduce the extent of waste fraud and abuse in the U.S. today. This is just a sampling of how health reform has proven a catalyst for building a better and stronger medical industry.

Much work needs to be done. The Obama administration has just begun to issue guidance (proposed rules) to the insurance industry on ACA's most important insurance market reforms. Within months, insurance plans must have clarity on these issues in order to develop and price plans for the individual and small group markets (both inside and outside of the exchanges). And, of course, with great opportunity comes great risk. Health reform is a century-long story in the United States, and it reflects the political and cultural tolerances of an open and free democratic society. It is my honor and privilege as MILI Director to work with so many talented students, alumni, corporate partners, and community leaders who are driven to make this generation's health reform yield a positive, lasting, and sustainable consequence for all.


New Advanced Learning Opportunities for Professionals

The Carlson School is excited to open up a new opportunity for professionals to access cutting-edge classes offered through MILI. Taken on a non-credit, non-enrollment basis, these courses allow already accomplished professionals to advance - whether they work toward an Executive Education Certificate in Medical Industry Leadership or simply hope to deepen their healthcare knowledge in a specific topic area.

Why enroll? Success in every profession requires intelligence, drive, and curiosity. Our Executive Education program caters to early- to mid-career professionals who are looking to expand their skill sets and explore fast-changing fields. As you know, MILI is marked by its investment in lifelong learning, valuing the mutual benefits of interaction among students, faculty, and global industry executives. Together, we can help you build your expertise, resume, and career in heathcare.

A typical Carlson Executive Education participant will have a bachelor's or master's degree, as well as 3-5 years of professional experience in some sector of the medical industry. Our participants are often supported by their firm in their pursuit of a rigorous, relevant knowledge base.

For more information, please visit


Current Students & MILI Affiliates Invited to San Francisco Trip

Join MILI for an exciting trip to San Francisco (January 6-8, 2013) to learn the latest on Medical Industry Innovation from the experts. The trip will start with a welcome and overview on Sunday night before diving in first thing Monday morning. On Monday we have scheduled a full day of panels and discussions on topics such as healthcare delivery, healthcare financing, and healthcare reform. We will wrap up the day with a networking reception where local, west coast alumni, and industry professionals will have the chance to connect. Tuesday we will spend the morning touring local medical industry firms. The entire trip will be led by industry experts Professor Steve Parente and Dr. Susan Alpert.

The trip will be an opportunity to apply classroom learning to the real world as well as gain perspectives from experts working outside of Minnesota.

In addition to your expenses (hotel, flight, meals, transportation) MILI will ask for a $450 contribution to cover coordination, space rental, one breakfast, and networking event costs. Anyone that participated in the Washington, D.C. event last April is entitled to a $25 discount.

We have reserved a block of rooms at the San Francisco Club Quarters Hotel. To make a reservation, please call Member Services at 203-905-2100 using group code UMN106.. Room prices range from $164-$199 per night.

Please register early as space is limited. Registrations will be taken on a first-come, first-served basis.

If you are interested in attending and not yet an affiliate, please visit our affiliate page and submit an application:

Contact Jessica Haupt with questions: or 612-624-9202.


Lunch - and Learning

MILI is pleased to invite our wide constituency to attend our upcoming Lunch and Learn session scheduled for Monday, December 17, whether in person or online with the web conference links listed on our website. The session will be held at the Carlson School in room 2-219 from noon to 1:00 p.m. Our monthly Lunch and Learn brings the latest in health policy, regulatory affairs, and insider views on medical innovation news at the federal level to the public in presentations and lively discussion over lunch.

Recent sessions have included discussions led by Harvard's Michael E. Chernew and our own Stephen Parente, while our upcoming sessions will feature insights from our Executive in Residence, Susan Alpert, and Michael Ramlet, the director of healthcare policy at the American Action Forum. For more information, please visit


Research Seminars

Providers at Risk?

In a lively and insightful September visit to the Carlson School, University of North Carolina Professor of Health Economics Marisa Domino presented her recent research on the incentives created by pre-paid (or capitated) payments to healthcare providers. Domino put her statistical prowess and rich research model to work in showing how certain types of capitated payments affect diagnosis, treatment, and cost for providers and patients alike. Dr. Domino’s forthcoming research will look at innovations and incentives in clinical practice and drug-based registries for children with mental health concerns. To listen to Dr. Domino's presentation, please visit our website at [insert URL].

The National Institute for Health Care Management (NIHCM) Research and Educational Foundation is a non-profit organization whose mission is to promote improvement in healthcare access, management, and quality. You may download copies of all publications and sign up to receive future publications by visiting For further information directly related to the foundation's work on health-care spending, please feel free to contact Julie Schoenman directly at


UnitedHealth Group Actuarial Seminar

In October, MILI hosted the latest in our series of UnitedHealth Group Actuarial Seminars, funded through the corporation’s United Minnesota Initiative. Julie Schoenman, PhD, director of research and quality at the National Institute for Health Care Management’s Research and Educational Foundation, presented “A Detailed Look at U.S. Health Care Spending,” which helped the audience see top-level expenditures, a more fine-grained look at medical spending in America, and openings for greater efficiencies and better patient outcomes. Her presentation can be viewed online:


Insiders View: Practitioner's Perspective

Medical Production on the Move

This summer, Justin Paur provided an overview of the changes afoot in the design and delivery of new medical technology production as seen in his extensive experience doing business across continents and industry sectors. Paur’s unique perspective, created in his education in mechanical and aerospace engineering, along with his current graduate business work and his years in applied practice, informed an engaging and enlightening session exploring the “Future of Medical Production.” Going in-depth, Paur looked at both the short- and long-term effects of what he calls the concurrent engineering approach - the movement of production development “upstream” into the research and development areas of medical innovation. He identified two main implications of the upstreaming process: faster development of new and emergent technologies in medical production and testing equipment and a shift from siloed production development to an integrated approach that brings together once-separated functions including design, validation, and machining. To listen to Paur’s presentation online, please visit


New MILI Working Papers Now Available

MILI’s latest publication, the working paper “What is the Regional Impact of the Medicare Fee-for-Service and Medicare Advantage Payment Reductions?” is now available online at The piece was written by Robert A. Book, senior research director for HSI Network, and MILI Affiliate Michael Ramlet (’09 BSB), director of health policy for the American Action Forum. In it, the authors look at the summer 2012 Congressional Budget Office’s analysis of the Affordable Care Act that, for the first time, took into account Medicare payment reductions over the full 10-year payment window of the legislation. They find the payment reductions make up the bulk of the budget savings offered by the Affordable Care Act, but are not uniformly shouldered by the states. To better understand the effects of these reductions, Book and Ramlet took a regional view, revising and updating an earlier MILI working paper to reflect the state- and country-level impacts of this aspect of healthcare reform.

Students in Focus

Student Spotlight: Hilary Johnson

Hilary Johnson, ’13 MHA/MBA, has had a unique path to the Medical Industry Leadership Institute. So unique, in fact, that it started at home and took her to Colorado and Guatemala before bringing her to the University of Minnesota. Inspired by her father, an anesthesiologist, Johnson became involved with the organization HELPS International as an undergraduate at Colorado College. Through the NGO, Johnson traveled to Guatemala three times, twice as an anesthesia assistant, and once to help build stoves for locals in need. This experience stuck with her as she went on to work as a financial analyst in the medical industry after graduation, and eventually led her to aspire to a career that more directly connected her with patient care. Combining her business savvy with her deep interest in healthcare, Johnson returned to her home state of Minnesota to pursue a dual degree, a Masters in Healthcare Administration and a Masters in Business Administration, at the University of Minnesota’s School of Public Health and Carlson School of Management.

In her first year in the MHA program, Johnson participated in the Medtronic Interdisciplinary Healthcare Case Competition, sponsored by MILI’s student association. The experience showed her all of the opportunities afforded by MILI’s broad constituency, both across the University and within the thriving Minnesota healthcare industry. The next year, Johnson joined MILIsa, and now serves as its president.
Johnson tells us that the most rewarding part of the MILI program - now her specialization track as an MBA student - has been working with inventors through the Medical Industry Valuation Laboratory course. “I’ve chosen to take the Valuation Lab as my ‘enterprise,’ which means I get to take 10 credits over three semesters in this course...I work with a team of interdisciplinary students on three 4-5 week projects each semester, providing an analysis of the technology, the marketplace, intellectual property, and more,” she says. Under the direction of Mike Finch, Randy Nelson, and Stephen Parente, the Valuation Lab allows Johnson to experience a range of industry opportunities and challenges: “We get to understand first-hand how changes in the marketplace are not only affecting the strategies and viability of medical technologies, but also the industry as a whole.” Further, she says, “The ability to function in an interdisciplinary environment is becoming increasingly crucial.”

If her success is any indication, Johnson has capitalized on the learning offered through MILI: She will join Allina Health as an Administrative Fellow upon graduation this spring. Johnson credits the big-picture approach of the MHA/MBA program and her MILI specialization: “MILI isn’t just about medical devices; it truly is about ‘connected health,’ from ideas to the bedside,” she says.


Course Spotlight: Managerial Economics

Professor Joel Waldfogel is blunt when it comes to talking about why he thinks Managerial Economics is integral for students who care about the medical industry: “We need to understand all aspects of business and the economy. Healthcare is no exception,” he says. It’s this no-nonsense approach that draws students into the coursework, which rests on a foundation of microeconomic theory, but quickly scales up to a full introduction to the operation of markets - a topic the students soon come to see, through Waldfogel’s extensive experience and ability to tie in real world issues, is just as foundational as their professor believes.

Waldfogel’s favorite way of bringing the point home each semester is in a pricing experiment he runs as a class project. In it, students are tasked with developing a new pricing scheme for iTunes. “To this end, I give students market research data on consumers' willingness to pay for different songs, then assign the students to use tools and ideas we've covered in the course to explore the implications of various kinds of ‘fancy pricing’ alternatives to the simple pricing scheme at iTunes,” he says. By using a familiar good and service, Waldfogel lets students see the actual implications of pricing decisions for consumer experiences and behaviors.

When we asked what has Waldfogel excited about the future of his class, he knew immediately: “Online is coming.” It wasn’t that he’s got an eye on diving headlong into remote education, rather that he sees the great potential in using online platforms to let some of the less engaging portions of class (the lecture time that can’t be ignored) be done remotely to reserve more classroom time for exciting discussions of truly applied economics: the challenges students see in their companies and organizations every day.

Waldfogel is a professor of applied economics in the University of Minnesota’s College of Liberal Arts and Carlson School of Management. He is the author of Scroogenomics: Why You Shouldn’t Buy Presents for the Holidays (Princeton University Press, 2009). Previously he wrote for the online magazine Slate’s The Dismal Science: The Search for Better Economic Policy.


2012 Platou Awards

The 4th annual Carl N. Platou Leadership Competition Awards were announced at a luncheon at the Carlson School on November 29. The awards recognize the leadership skills and innovative thinking of an elite group of students who are complementing their MBA education with a medical industry specialization.

Taking first place and a $2,000 award was Jennifer Kamstra. Kamstra's project focused on the leadership role she played on a team charged designing a senior living building for residents with memory loss. Natasha Vragel won second place with a $1,000 award for her intern project at New York-Presbyterian Hospital/Columbia and Cornell Medical Centers . Third place and a $500 award went to Beth Lindborg who described her experience developing as well as assessing market potential for a new technology.

These students were among six student finalists who competed by submitting leadership statements illustrating a high value exposition of their experiential learning or real world, firm-based project. Leadership statements detailed the student's contributions and accomplishments, as well as insights gained for application in the medical industry. An external review committee determined the three winners.

Carl Platou, who recently passed away, was a visionary healthcare executive who was inducted into the Minnesota Business Hall of Fame in 2009. The competition, produced by the Carlson School's Medical Industry Leadership Institute, evokes his vision and leadership in the medical industry.

Platou's widow and daughter attended the event.


5th Annual Medtronic Interdisciplinary Healthcare Case Competition

On December 1, MILIsa began it's fifth annual Medtronic Interdisciplinary Health Care Case Competition (MEDIHCC). The competition, in which students apply their skills to a real case challenge presented by a medical device industry leader, brings together students from various colleges at the University, including the School of Public Health, the Medical School, the Humphrey School of Public Affairs, the College of Science & Engineering, the College of Biological Sciences, and the Carlson School of Management.

Medtronic, which sponsors the event, provides the case as well as generous cash prizes. Teams work for 36 hours to develop recommendations to help the company best formulate a strategy, then present their plans to industry judges and Medtronic representatives in two rounds. Round one took place at the Carlson School, and the teams will travel to Medtronic to present in the second round on Friday, December 7.

After last year's competition, Will Au-Yeung, formerly of Medtronic, took care to remind students and the public that the case holds benefits for his company, too. Medtronic may hand out $7,000 in prize money, but Au-Yeung told the Star Tribune, "It is a great opportunity for students to create new partnerships, gain insight into our business, and develop leadership skills... And it offers us the chance to evaluate students in a real-world scenario." Consider the competition one of the toughest, but most rewarding, job interviews out there.

MEDIHCC was developed by and is administered by MILIsa student leaders and Medtronic representatives.


MILIsa Update

MILIsa president Hilary Johnson (’13 MHA/MBA) reports that the student organization has been busier than ever this fall. In September, the group hosted a recruiting kick-off to invite new first-year members into the organization, as well as a Careers Panel, at which eight second-year MBA students shared their summer internship experiences in healthcare fields including medical devices, health insurance, and technology commercialization. In October, MILIsa hosted a networking event with MILI Affiliates and co-hosted the Twin Cities Medical Society’s Health Policy Series Health Policy Luncheon and election preview at the University of Minnesota’s Medical School.

November brought a site visit to Boston Scientific and a speaker event featuring Larry Kuusisto, vice president of education for Life Science Alley, who presented on current innovation trends, the importance of trade associations in healthcare, and the importance of bringing together industry and academic research. Later in the month, the student group will co-host the MILIsa/UST Healthcare Panel with the University of St. Thomas’s MBA healthcare club. The event’s theme is “What do you see as the biggest issues facing your sector within the next 3-5 years?” and this question will be addressed by four panelists from healthcare consulting and the provider, medical device, and insurance industries. December will feature the always-invigorating Medtronic Interdisciplinary Healthcare Case Competition described above.

MILIsa will end the semester with a Medtronic site visit and the annual Life Science Alley conference, and the group is looking forward to a visible heart lab visit and participating in the BAHM Case Competition at Harvard Business School in the spring.

Focus on Faculty

Faculty spotlight: Randy Nelson

One of the most popular courses in MILI’s suite of programs is the Medical Innovation Valuation Lab, and Randy Nelson has been involved since its inception. In fact, the idea grew out of a conversation Nelson, president of Evergreen Medical Technologies, Inc., had with MILI Director Stephen Parente one day. “We met,” Nelson recalls, “to discuss the difficulty for researchers and inventors in understanding the potential commercialization value of their inventions. Soon, we started to plan a course, reasoning that a class of graduate students from Carlson and other relevant colleges would be able to provide an inventor with a good analysis through the eyes of an investor and give the students a great educational experience in conducting real-life analyses and valuations.”

Now, several years later, Nelson describes his role in co-teaching the Valuation Lab as teaching students “how to think critically in topics that they may or may not be familiar.” He delights in thinking outside the box to bring in areas of information and expertise that can really prepare his students for the medical industry. “I like to think of additional areas that MILI can participate in to build on its leadership potential. The medical technology and healthcare business are very different from more typical commercial businesses and require additional expertise to ensure patient care improves and is more cost effective,” he says. This interdisciplinary learning is a challenge, to be sure, for students and faculty alike, but results in graduates who are well-prepared to lead in an evolving field. Nelson says, for his students, “The key lesson is to understand how to evaluate and make logical, supportable decisions quickly.”

Nelson’s experience in shaping the MILI program has redoubled his faith in its importance, providing an education that aspiring healthcare leaders can’t get elsewhere. “MILI offers a great education and experience opportunity for students who are interested in providing future leadership for the medical community, whether it is in a medical device company, pharmacological company, healthcare provider, or any healthcare-related entity. Students complete their program with an educational experience that can be immediately applied to their interviews and their work.” Further, he says, “For business leaders, the MILI program offers the ability to hire and advance employees who have a much better sense of the broader medical business, can ask more intelligent questions, and can make more informed decisions. MILI is also a forum for business leaders to discuss issues that affect the entire healthcare community.”

Randy Nelson holds a BA in economics from Willamette University and a BS in mechanical engineering from the University of Minnesota. He lives and works in the Twin Cities. His company, Evergreen Medical Technologies, Inc., develops and manufactures implantable medical devices and provides innovator product support.

Alumni & Friends

Affiliate spotlight: Renato Romani

As the snow falls in Minneapolis, it can be hard to imagine what would bring - and keep - a Brazilian physician to these chilly climes. As it turns out, Renato Romani, founder of Katusis, a company serving athletes and those seeking to improve their health outcomes, jumped at the chance. Not only would a move to Minnesota provide a career opportunity for his wife, Romani could work toward an Executive MBA at the Carlson School, advancing the knowledge that would support his fast-growing medical informatics company.

Once Romani came into the Carlson School sphere, he quickly learned that MILI would give him a leg up by providing a holistic look at the American healthcare system - even providing the opportunity to visit Washington, D.C. in April. The trip, he says, was “unbelievable,” showing him the full policy network surrounding the industry. He laughs that he even met a Senator - "I don’t know a Brazilian Senator!” Now, as a MILI Affiliate, Romani tells us he’s drawing on his past experiences as a professor at the Federal University in Sao Paolo, as a physician and software programmer, as a student, and as an internationally networked businessman. “Many Brazilian friends are reaching out to talk to me about what they’re hearing about the American healthcare industry,” Romani says, and his close relationship with MILI is informing his answers and the Brazilian healthcare industry through these conversations. It’s just one more example of the global reach of our developing leaders.


Affiliate Board Report:

Alum and MILI Affiliate Board President Stephan Dunning says that, in his strategy and business development role with the non-profit Minneapolis Medical Research Foundation's Chronic Disease Research Group, his MILI specialization gives him "an edge in understanding the market environment our sponsors are playing in." Because MILI was so key to his own career, Dunning knew he couldn't leave this transformative program behind - he became a MILI Affiliate.

To support the dense network connecting MILI's students and faculty and the medical industry, the Affiliate Board began its new programming this fall by cohosting a MILIsa networking happy hour and holding its first Roundtable Breakfast at the Carlson School in late October. Other opportunities the Affiliate Board has planned include Affiliate-only site visits and a special happy hour to follow the Life Science Alley Conference in December. In addition, MILI is planning an exciting field trip to San Francisco in January for Affiliates and students. Dunning hopes to help MILI continue "informing a new type of medical industry professional enabled to see the power of large observational data sources for the betterment of patients, the industry, and the community" through the Affiliate Board.

For more information on becoming a MILI Affiliate and making a commitment of service to MILI, please visit To suggest MILI Affiliate programming activities, e-mail

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