Carlson School of Management

Pulse - Summer 2012


Institute news

Pellere - By Stephen Parente, PhD, director

With the implementation of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) under way, we are seeing some of the most significant changes to the U.S. healthcare market. Directly engaged in this transformation are many MILI faculty, students, and affiliates. While Minnesota has an established reputation as a health policy and medical technology innovator, we thought it was important to leave the land of the 10,000 (plus) lakes and go out and investigate other major centers for policy and technology innovation in the U.S. As a result, MILI organized its first field trip of students, faculty, and affiliates to Washington, D.C., which has become ground zero for all policy development since the passage of PPACA. In the course of two days we were able to talk to Senator Al Franken (D-MN), senior staff from the FDA as well as the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), senior staff from the House of Representative's Energy & Commerce Committee, senior staff from the Senate's Aging Committee, and finally government affairs directors from Pfizer and the National Federation of Independent Businesses (NFIB). In between, we managed to fit in two happy hours to meet with Carlson School alumni and MILI affiliates in the D.C. area. Led by myself and Executive in Residence Susan Alpert with great ground support from MILI's Jessica Haupt, we all came away with a great experience. As a matter of fact, we thought it so valuable we are planning on doing this annually during the University's spring break in March so that more students and faculty can attend. Furthermore, we will be having our second field trip to San Francisco in January, 2013 during the University's winter break as an adjacent event to the J.P. Morgan healthcare market investors' conference. We look forward to seeing even more alumni, students, and faculty at these events to learn, discuss, and strengthen our community of medical industry leaders. Onward!

Remembering Carl Platou

We are filled with heavy hearts at the loss of Carl Platou. As sad as we are at this loss, we feel grateful to have known him, privileged to benefit from his remarkable leadership, and inspired by the amazing life he lived. Most of us know Carl's professional legacy; we want to tell you about the ways he touched the MILI and our students.

In 2009 with the help of Carl's dear friends, Nazie Eftekhari and Mark Eustis, MILI started the Carl N. Platou Leadership Competition. This MBA competition honors Carl's vision and leadership by recognizing those qualities in a group of elite students. Because of Carl, for over three years, the competition has helped to challenge and develop tomorrow's medical industry leaders, and guaranteed the tradition of continual cooperation and interaction between the medical and business community that Carl was so instrumental in establishing. The 2011 award winner, Avantika Chaudhary, a dual MHA/MBA student, tells us, "Mr. Platou was a visionary who reinvented the way healthcare is delivered. In 2011, I was awarded first prize in the Carl N. Platou Leadership Competition and had the enviable opportunity to meet him in person. I was touched by his kind words of inspiration and his spiritedness. It is indeed an honor to be able to associate myself with the legacy of his leadership and his contributions to the medical industry." Avantika is not the only student to be affected by Carl; the first year of the competition he organized a coffee meeting with the entire group of finalists. His gifts of time and knowledge will never be forgotten by those lucky students.

The competition will continue in Carl's name, but his presence will forever be missed.

MILI Hosts National Conference

Over three exciting days at the Carlson School, MILI teamed up with the American Society of Health Economists (ASHEcon) to take on the question of "Optimizing Health and Health Care" with the help of hundreds of sessions—and hundreds of engaged, energetic attendees. Highlights included a plenary session by the University of Pennsylvania's Mark Pauly, who presented "Wussinomics: The State of Competitive Efficiency in Private Health Insurance Markets." Additionally, we were excited to have Minnesota Public Radio's Kerri Miller on hand to moderate a wide-ranging discussion on healthcare reform with MIT's Jonathan Gruber and our own Stephen Parente.

The response to this conference, so full of information and events, has been overwhelmingly positive, with respondents telling us "This was the most organized and satisfying conference I've been to. The hardest part was selecting among the concurrentlyscheduled sessions!" Another attendee wrote, "All of the sessions were fantastic—and all of them were directly applicable to my work." A useful and exciting blend of presentations and networking: what more could any practitioner ask? Keep an eye out for information on the fifth biennial ASHEcon, coming in 2014.

Sponsors for ASHEcon included Pfizer, Medtronic, Cornerstone Research, Daiichi-Sankyo, the Workers Compensation Research Institute, the Center for Health and Economy, Analysis Group, Medica Research Institute, Verisk Health, UnitedHealth Group, and Bates White, along with federal collaborators the United States Census Bureau, Minnesota Population Center, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Medical Expenditure Panel Survey, the Healthcare Cost and Utilization Project, and the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality.

Medical Industry Innovation in China

At the close of the semester, MILI, the Center for International Business Education and Research (CIBER), and LifeScience Alley took the time to bring together Professor Chengli Song, the executive director of the Shanghai Institute for Minimally Invasive Therapy at the University of Shanghai for Science and Technology, with MILI panelists Susan Alpert and Stephen Parente and industry panelists Ken Paulus (President and CEO of Allina Hospitals and Clinics) and Randy Schiestl (Vice President of Research and Development at Boston Scientific) to give attendees a glimpse into the booming Chinese medical device industry. In the course of the panel following Dr. Song's presentation, discussion focused on the shared roles of universities, government agencies, and private interests in China's medical innovation, as well as the ways in which U.S. companies may benefit from and provide support to this burgeoning market. Attendees also gained insights into the multi-disciplinary approach the University of Shanghai for Science and Technology has taken in teaching and cultivating medical innovation, which can be applied in Institutes like our own. One attendee commented, "Dr. Song's presentation was outstanding. It was a great combination of panelists who covered different aspects of the medical industry." Dr. Song's presentation can be found here:

Lunch and Learning

MILI is pleased to invite our wide constituency to attend upcoming Lunch and Learn sessions scheduled for July 23 and August 27. Both sessions will be held at the University of Minnesota's Carlson School in room 1-135 from noon to 1:00 p.m. Each of these sessions 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 on upcoming Lunch and Learns and to find out how to participate remotely, please visit

Research Seminars

The Wage/Benefit Tradeoff

In his early spring seminar, Bradley Herring, an associate professor and health economist at Johns Hopkins' Bloomberg School of Public Health, explored the results of his empirical testing of health reform and its effects on insurance premiums and wages. Herring showed an audience from the Carlson School and beyond how his research, which focused on a stable group of full-time workers, gave an unambiguous result: there was, indeed, a wage/benefit trade-off, and that has substantial ramifications for provisions of the 2010 Affordable Care Act as it is phased in with 2014 and 2018 standards regarding employer healthcare provisions.

Updating our Understanding: Michael Chernew revisits his Alternative Quality Contract Research

Harvard Medical School Professor Michael E. Chernew has spent a lot of time with MILI lately, and we couldn't be more grateful. In a March seminar, Chernew shared analysis from the second phase of his New England Journal of Medicine study on the savings—and future prospects—of Blue Cross Blue Shield's pilot program, the Alternative Quality Contract. In this program, provider groups assume accountability for their spending, bearing financial risk but also becoming eligible for quality bonuses. His work showed that, by 2009, all of the participant groups had met their targets and, indeed, earned bonuses. Co-sponsored by the Department of Health Policy and Management in the University of Minnesota's School of Public Health, Chernew's visit provided a forum for students, faculty, and practitioners to look at hard data on an emerging healthcare trend. More on Chernew can be found online at

Making the Case for Provider-Based Research Networks

Dr. Paula Song of the Ohio State University's College of Public Health joined us in April to discuss her case-based research into the benefits for businesses in providing access to clinical trials, even as financial and in-kind costs mount for participants. Using her work in examining the National Cancer Institute's Community Clinical Oncology Program (CCOP), Song explained the comparative approach she took with fellow researchers to develop a way to document the business case for CCOP participation. As she told the MILI audience, how this work, supported by the National Cancer Institute, the long-term sustainability of such community-based health programs may depend on improving providers' understanding of the financial and health implications of their participation. Song holds degrees in health services organization and policy, health services administration, applied economics, and the biological basis of behavior. Learn more about her work online at

Insiders View: Practitioner's Perspective

A Device Development Journey

As last fall semester drew to a close and our students prepared for trips to visit family, take a needed break, or find international excitement, Dr. Marie Johnson, President and CEO of AUM Cardiovascular, visited the Carlson School to share her story—and very likely give those students some inspiration to ponder while enjoying some time off. In her talk, which focused on the twin journeys of her life and her product as she ushered it through design, testing, and implementation, Johnson discussed the joys and pitfalls of creating an award-winning company and its signature product, a heart disease risk diagnostic tool.

Coming Soon: Justin Paur on the Future of Medical Production

Join us on July 18, 2012 for this lively talk on the short- and long-term effects of product engineering on emerging technologies and the shift to integrated production from NACS's Director of Production Services Justin Paur (a MILI Fellow and current Carlson School MBA student with degrees in mechanical and aerospace engineering). Paur will touch on laser technology, multi-axis motion control, and vision-guided machinery as he gives attendees a glimpse of the high-tech insights he's gained in setting up medical production operations on three continents. The event is free and open to the public without an RSVP. Guests are also welcome to join via UMConnect online. Please go to MILI's website events page for more information:

Design of Medical Devices: A Multi-Disciplinary Conference

MILI was proud to continue to sponsor December's 11th Annual Design of Medical Devices Conference in Minneapolis. This national forum brought together world-class designers, researchers, manufacturers, and the public to share cross-disciplinary perspectives on healthcare innovation and production. It also showcased the University of Minnesota's leading role in the medical device community and raised funds to support education of future leaders. Over three days, this confluence—the world's largest premiere medical devices conference-covered everything from emerging laser therapies to nano devices in poster presentations and technical sessions. Stephen Parente and MILI Valuation Lab faculty Michael Finch and Randall Nelson presented a session on "Valuing Early and Global Medical Technology within a University." By all accounts a smashing success, next year's iteration of this world-class conference is already being planned. For more, visit

UnitedHealth Group Actuarial Scholarship Awarded

This annual scholarship supports up to 15 University of Minnesota undergraduate students with a strong interest in a career in the healthcare actuarial sciences. Students are awarded a scholarship that covers the cost of up to two semesters of full-time, in-state tuition. With this gift, UnitedHealth Group is helping to develop the next generation of healthcare actuaries and to inform top leaders in the field through a seminar series. This year we had a record number of applicants. We congratulate this year's winners:

  • Carlson School of Management students: Jacob Marette*, Ryan Mundon, Jahan Rafian, Daniel Ries*, and Thomas Seeba
  • College of Liberal Arts students: Gretchen Fehl* and Kyle Rudnik
  • College of Science and Engineering: Samuel Brunell, Christopher Hughes*, Claire Kingstad*, Amanda Muehlbauer, Brian Nelson, Matthew Reinke, Steve Sulkin, and Moche Volovik

*also received award in 2011-12

Health Care Reform on the Ground

The UnitedHealth Group Actuarial Seminar Series, sponsored by the UnitedHealth Group Actuarial Scholarship Fund, continues to help MILI bring fascinating leaders in healthcare to campus to speak with students, faculty, and our business affiliates. And, as would be expected, the topic recently has been healthcare reform. In October, John Stenson, Senior Vice President and Chief Actuary of Kaiser Permanente, shared his leadership team's significant role in helping prepare his own company and others for the various provisions of 2010's Affordable Care Act (ACA). Stenson told the crowd about how he is using advocacy, strategic planning, and complex problem solving analyses to ensure the financial stability and sustainable growth of Kaiser Permanente as the landscape of healthcare changes.

And in April, Dale Yamamoto, President of Red Quill Consulting, came to explain the realities of the ACA for future actuaries. With over 30 years of experience in helping employers create and manage their benefits programs, there is perhaps no one more versed in the application of such legislation on the ground. In an open discussion, Yamamoto considered the Act's provisions, their timed roll-out, and the intricacies of both for business owners.

Students in Focus

New Course: Healthcare Delivery Innovations

If we are to improve delivery of care alongside the economics of the healthcare industry as a whole, we must learn from allied industries and their own best practices. In this course, MBA students will become acquainted with methods for optimizing cost and quality across healthcare delivery sites, learning how the components of the care continuum fit together and can be re-engineered together. The course will be taught for the first time in the B term of fall 2012 by Rahul Koranne, MD, MBA, FACP. Dr. Koranne is the Medical Director of HealthEast Bethesda Hospital, he earned his MBA at Carlson where he was designated a Carlson Scholar in addition to being the recipient of the Outstanding Academic Achievement Award for ranking highest scholastically in the program. Dr. Koranne's expertise will be bolstered by a host of guest faculty and practitioners, and students will be primarily evaluated on the delivery of an executive summary of peer-reviewed literature and a group project consisting of a white paper and presentation on a contemporary healthcare delivery innovation's concept, intended market, business case, and expected outcomes. After experiencing this course, we expect students to gain a better grasp of healthcare from home to hospital to community, as well as the changes those healthcare sites are experiencing in real time. Further, students will focus on communicating key takeaways to shareholders at every level of healthcare delivery.

Student Spotlight: Dan Gilbertson

MILI is excited to congratulate May 2012 graduate and MILIsa President Dan Gilberston on his successful completion of his MBA and his new position as part of Medtronic's Leadership Development Rotational Program in Business Development. A Minnesota native, Gilbertson received his BA in economics at St. Johns' University and attended intensive Japanese language school in Kyoto before working for four years in auto and medical equipment for a Japanese company on the outskirts of Chicago.

Gilbertson's attraction to the medical device industry brought him back to Minnesota, which he describes as a "mecca" for his interests, and MILI brought him to the Carlson School. In his time in the MILI program, Gilbertson has been particularly appreciative of his experience in the Valuation Lab, in which he really saw the experiential aspects of MILI play out: "You start to understand what it means to have a successful medical device, looking at all of the challenges that need to be overcome, working on real devices, and working with real investors and real companies. As a MILI student, you don't just read out of a textbook."

As he became more involved in MILI, Gilbertson became president of the MILI Student Association (MILIsa), and had an active role in the Medtronic Case Competition, which brings together student teams from across the University of Minnesota to compete to present the best solution for a real-world business problem.This case competition remains one of the highlights of his time at Carlson as he recalls that it solidified his interest in the industry and helped him earn an internship with Medtronic. "Part of the whole process, learning to speak the language of doctors and biomedical engineers and business people, is to have an interviewer see you as someone they can work with—MILI really prepares you for that."

Gilbertson is now looking forward to his move into the marketplace, smoothed by the experiences he's gotten as a MILI student, the connections he's made with our vast alumni network, and the lifelong partnerships he's formed with his fellow students. "Coming to Carlson and being involved in MILI was a total game-changer for me, and I think that I owe it to future students to help them out in the way I was helped," he says. "I will sign-on as an Affiliate of the program and hope to be involved with Medtronic's recruiting efforts here at Carlson. I'm a big believer in paying it forward."

Course Spotlight: Carlson Brand Enterprise

The Carlson Brand Enterprise (CBE) is the newest of the Carlson School's enterprises, having been in business for eight years. In that time, though, it has been awfully busy: "We've done over 150 projects with clients ranging from Fortune 500 companies to non-profit organizations," reports CBE Co-director David Hopkins (who works alongside Professor of Marketing Mark Bergen). Within a school that prioritizes experiential learning, the CBE is a prime example of helping students put their research and study into practice. Luckily, they have fun and gain connections from all that hard work.

MBA students at the Carlson School are eligible to apply to CBE after finishing their core curriculum. In their first project, they're encouraged to engage their academic knowledge, learn consulting skills, and begin getting the feels for project management and execution: "All this sets students up for success in their first summer internship," Hopkins explains. In their second year, students take on two of the six to eight, 14-week projects CBE accepts each semester, alongside their regular coursework. By that point, the branding projects are "driven by student-led teams and framed by rigorous project management." It's professional experience, and it yields a professional project.

"We have 100 percent customer satisfaction!" boasts Hopkins. This is due partly to the high caliber of students involved—up to 25 percent of each MBA class elects to work in CBE, while a very selective process allows for the inclusion of another dozen or so honors undergraduate students—but also to the high caliber of the work each group produces. "The most memorable projects," Hopkins recalls, "have been those where we see clients implement our strategic recommendations and see them make a difference in their business." This means each CBE project must mirror professional consultancy work, from communication to data gathering and final recommendations. "Our clients get great value, objectivity, and results...they often look for further opportunities to engage with us, including in evaluating and recruiting talent from our student pool," Hopkins says.

Current CBE student Kelly Doohen tells us, "Utilizing marketing research tools to address my project objectives and analyze the results to develop strategic insights for clients have greatly developed me as a marketer. Last semester, for example, I led a team working on a project for Land O'Lakes...[it] was an extremely challenging project in that it forced us to rely entirely on consumer research." In the end, though, Doohen felt the excitement came in the CBE's encouragement to think outside the box to create strategic alternatives for the client; she gained experience in project and team management, as well as managing client relationships.

In the end, says Hopkins, "We help companies with strategic marketing challenges, primarily by analyzing strategic analytical components and creating actionable recommendations. Companies get to work with experienced teams and leverage faculty expertise as we take on projects from improving brand architecture to digital marketing and pricing strategy." The CBE is a full-service branding agency; it just happens to employ the best and brightest newcomers to the field. To learn more about the program, please visit

MILIsa Update

As always, MILIsa has been busy, even in the weeks up to graduation! Outgoing President Dan Gilbertson reports that the transition to a new leadership team has been smooth, with a diverse group of students taking the reins, even some who are earning dual degrees (an MBA and an MHA). Additionally, the faculty and staff remain supportive and excited about the transitions, and the presence of Executive in Residence Susan Alpert, which has energized MILIsa members who so highly value the access MILI affords them to top executives and real-world entrepreneurs in the healthcare industry.

Events have continued to bring together MILIsa's membership, with successful happy hours for informal networking alongside more formal events such as a mini-case competition run by Dr. Rahul Koranne, Medical Director of Bethesda Hospital and Pat Wethington, CEO of Hemosphere (a medical device start-up). In the fall, the group is looking forward to hosting Larry Kuusisto of LifeScience Alley and tour the Visible Heart Lab. In the fall, such events will ramp up, as Gilbertson reports new students will need information about internships, interviewing, and early career choices.

Finally, MILIsa has hosted yet another successful MEDIHCC, as reported elsewhere in this issue of the Pulse, and is hard at work planning next year's event.

4th Annual Medtronic Interdisciplinary Health Care Case Competition

In December, MILIsa hosted its fourth 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, brought 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 sponsored the event, provided the case as well as generous cash prizes. Teams worked for 36 hours to develop recommendations that will help the company best formulate a strategy, then presented to industry judges and Medtronic representatives in two rounds. Round one took place at the Carlson School, but in round two, teams traveled to Medtronic where a multidisciplinary University of Minnesota team including public health, MBA, health informatics, and rehabilitation sciences students took the top prize. MHA student Preethi Napakkan ('13 MHA) reports that her team's go-to-market plan focused on an in-depth pricing strategy to gain market share and promote profitability.

Medtronic's Will Au-Yeung, regional finance director, took care to remind students and the public that the case holds benefits for his company, too. They may hand out $7,000 in prize money, but he 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 is developed and run by MILIsa student leaders-particularly Kris Carver, Adam Carr, and Robert Parker—and Medtronic representatives. MILIsa is grateful for the support of Medtronic's Will Au-Yeung, Jennifer Guzman, David Giannino, Archana Baluasubramanyam, Mishthi Kapoor, Rachel Brucker, and Amaza Reitmeier, as well as Medtronic judges Steve Laux, Mike Hell, Jodi Weinzetl, and Amy Wilson in helping the competition thrive once again.

2011 Platou Awards

While we share more about Carl N. Platou and his leadership in healthcare and healthcare education elsewhere in this issue, we are delighted to announce the winners of his eponymous prize, the 2011 Platou Leadership Award.

To receive the Platou award, enterprising MBA students must submit a leadership statement outlining their knowledge of and experience within the broad spectrum of the medical industry from insurance, medical devices, pharmaceuticals, and biotechnology to the delivery of care and emerging technologies. These statements are also intended to display the students' innate and developed leadership skills as well as their innovative thinking. In short, it's a tall order! Through an executive summary and a project or paper, the following students distinguished themselves in this year's competition:

  • First prize, $2,000: Avantika Chaudhary, MBA/MHA, for her reminiscences of her summer work at the DongFang Hospital at the Beijing University of Chinese Medicine.
  • Second prize, $1,000: Jeong Ha Hwang, MBA, for her project exploring the opportunities of the American healthcare market from the perspective of a fast-growing medical device maker.
  • Third prize, $500: Brian Egan, MBA, for his thoughtful essay on his personal growth in his journey toward an MBA, in his career as an engineer, and as a future leader in healthcare.

New MILI Working Paper Now Available

In the latest of MILI's Working Papers series, 2012 MBA candidate Ramakrishna Talasila reports on the utility of the current "Meaningful Use" standards for Electronic Health Record (EHR) implementation as part of the healthcare overhaul in the United States. Reviewing both industry and academic reports, Talasila concludes that, as the government agencies responsible for creating and overseeing Meaningful Use work to create the standards for Stage 3 implementation, considerable attention to late-stage financial incentives, standardization of technology, and support of open-source technology creation can soothe the very real fears of physicians and hospitals faced with newer, better, and more complex EHR interfaces. Without such efforts, Talasila writes, EHR implementation may very well stall out in the most rudimentary systems, never reaching its full potential. While visiting our website to read Talasila's working paper, recall that a recent paper by Robert A. Book and Michael Ramlet ('09 BSB) looks at another aspect of healthcare reform: its effects on Medicare Advantage Plans.

Focus on Faculty

Faculty spotlight: Susan Alpert - Executive in Residence

"I've been engaged with MILI since before it was MILI!" Susan Alpert, MILI's inaugural executive in residence, speaks with enthusiasm about the program and her evolving role in it, and it's easy to see why. "It was very forward-thinking for Carlson to recognize what the healthcare environment in Minnesota needed and to create MILI." As she puts it, the program is an innovative lynchpin for a number of communities, and to be embedded in it provides exciting opportunities.

The first thing that Alpert points to when invited to talk about MILI is the student community. "They're self-selected and amazingly leads to such rich dialogs and collaborations. This group crosses sectors, and I think that's incredibly important if we're going to create a real healthcare system in this country. These students get it, and they're already, right here in the Carlson School, starting to work on these big-picture, real-world problems." Even better, once they come to MILI, the students who might get great courses anywhere, find that they can create and work within an environment here. "It goes beyond the standard MBA, and that's great for students and for the businesses who gain access to this group and their work."

As to her role as the executive in residence, Alpert readily admits many can't imagine what an executive in residence does, let alone that there'd be enough of anything for her to do! On the contrary, working with Director Parente and Associate Director Haupt, Alpert has found developing and expanding her position invigorating. She sees it as a blend of three primary goals. The first is to provide a resource for students, bridging academia and the business world into which so many of them will launch. Students frequently come to her office for a practical, executive take on the issues they're sorting through in their projects-and that's access most students can't claim. In her second role, Alpert and Parente have developed and fostered outreach efforts such as the MILI Lunch-and-Learns. "These talks have become a consistent place where the students and others in the Carlson community can gather and have real, in-depth discussions about the issues that are important in healthcare policy and practice right now," she says.

The final mark Alpert hopes to make in her time as MILI's executive in residence is a strengthening of the program's international ties. "I've been reaching out to those I know at Tokyo University and in Tel Aviv and beyond, trying to connect with programs working on healthcare issues in other countries," she says. Because even as globalization brings people together, knowledge of best practices and approaches can be slow to transmit. "Not only are there a lot of common issues healthcare providers and policy makers share across borders, there's a huge international healthcare market for us to tap," she says. In the end, "I think I'd like my legacy to be that I started a number of different interfaces with MILI, with the students, and with the Carlson School so that, in the future, more people will want to participate as executive in residence," Alpert says. "It's a two-way game: it's a gain for Carlson and MILI and it's a gain for the person coming in as an executive in residence to have access to this very wonderful environment, the students, and the different aspects of MILI's work."

Alumni & Friends

Affiliate spotlight: Christopher Scorzelli

Imagination. Rigor. Passion. Grace in the face of defeat. By the time he came to the U of M, Christopher Scorzelli was a doctor with a vague idea that he might just become a designer. Just out of residency and two years of clinical experience, he landed a fellowship at the U under the direction of Dr. Marie Johnson, who became a personal and professional mentor, someone who "represents the crazy innovator who can see that quality in others," as Scorzelli puts it. With her excellent tutelage and a knack for innovation, Scorzelli was soon at home in his fellowship and sure of his future. A chance meeting with his now-partner at Kablooe refined his goals: Scorzelli would be the big thinker who helped other innovators identify the true problems they need to solve, gently pushing them to learn from failure. Now Kablooe is a thriving consultancy: "We're a serious company with big plans, and with designers and doctors, we can take on important work in the medical field." It's all come together for Scorzelli, and it's time, he believes, to help foster the next generation of kids who look at Lego sets and can't resist creating something other than what's pictured on the box.

"As a fellow, I learned about MILI as a high-level group of business professionals who want to help get patents out and support companies," he says. "That's a high, high value. Since then, I've learned a lot more about the group and realized that MILI's a great friend to have; I keep in communication with my MILI compatriots and look for them for advice, information, and a sounding board." That realization has made Scorzelli a new, but enthusiastic MILI affiliate. He finds the Lunch and Learn sessions particularly useful: "Unless you have the time to read everything, you won't know about this stuff-you wouldn't have access, and it wouldn't come from such a credible source." Even further, he sees MILI as an incubator for the next generation of nimble innovators: "The best way to get passionate, eager, intelligent employees is to recruit them straight out of a top-notch program!" Our students, he says, come out with the right mix of grounded intelligence and a desire for action and challenge-plus, they know how to take a failure or two on the chin. "That's what entrepreneurs least, the ones who make it," he says.

Affiliate Board Report: Stephan Dunning, Minneapolis Medical Research Foundation

Alum and 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. "In their time with MILI, students not only receive a nationally ranked business education, they gain access to dynamic leaders and interdisciplinary opportunities across the campus. Students learn how to best engage and successfully navigate and manage diverse backgrounds and perspectives, so healthcare companies hiring students from this program get professionals with a head start," he says.

To support the dense network connecting MILI's students and faculty and the medical industry, the Affiliate Board has undertaken many efforts. In regular meetings, the Board has begun developing opportunities, including public and Affiliate-only events, roundtable and happy hour events, and member organization site visits for students and Affiliate colleagues, complementing some of the Affiliate Program's established opportunities such as mentorship engagements with MILI students. As a former student, Dunning credits MILI with a number of unparalleled experiences, including helping working alongside other student leaders to create MILIsa, plan expert panels and devise the first MEDIHCC (even while coursework deadlines loomed!), and developing MILI's relationship with LifeScience Alley. Now he 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

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