The current curriculum for educating the future leaders in health care emphasizes policy, health, and static organizational models, and does not focus on the innovation that our system critically needs to manage the challenges of 21st century health care. 

Our analysis of health care-related curricula at 26 top U.S. schools, spanning 324 courses, found that the most frequently used words were health (1,049 occurrences in course descriptions), policy (259 occurrences), and organization (262 occurrences). The words “innovation” and “entrepreneur” were found only 27 times.

In contrast, in interviews of 58  leading global health care sector CEOs about their future needs the words most used were   innovation and change. The CEOs wanted people who could  investigate problems, find solutions through process and organizational innovation, and drive them forward -- people who could work in diverse teams, understand failure and its causes, and manage change. They judged that, by and large, academia fails to deliver these critical skills. The 98 health care management educators we surveyed  agreed. They largely recognized the current trajectory as unsustainable, judged that curricula pay insufficient attention to the real world—obtained through field studies, case studies, and mentorships, and cited difficulties in finding appropriate faculty with innovation expertise.

To help solve this problem, we formed the Global Educators Network for Health Care Innovation and Entrepreneurship (GENIE) Group. We represent diverse, global academic institutions, professional organizations, and health care consultancies (see the members tab for a list of our members). Our goal is to make innovation a central part of the education of future leaders in health care. We have already held two major conferences of stakeholders at Harvard Business School and Duke University and launched the Harvard edX program Innovating in Health Care to advance these goals.

For academics: Exciting programs for Health Care Innovation already exist, but we need to do more to broadly effect the necessary change. The GENiE Group has created a listing of Health Care Innovation programs on this site. Please let us know if you have a program you would like to include in our online listing of your interest in helping to advance this cause by emailing us:

For leaders of health care: Progressive leaders have traditionally partnered with educators to effect important changes in pedagogy. For example, at Harvard Business School, business leaders helped launch renewed entrepreneurship education by funding endowed chairs for professors in entrepreneurship; team teaching; providing leads, interviews, assistance, and guest lectures for case studies; and with all-important moral support. This sort of collaboration is what is needed for the education of future health care leaders, and we welcome your ideas and expertise to help guide us.