As part of its ongoing effort to enhance collaboration among Yale’s graduate schools, the School of Management recently announced that it will launch a new executive business degree program.

Set to begin next August, “Yale MBA for Executives: Leadership in the Health Care Sector” will utilize faculty from the School of Medicine and the School of Epidemiology and Public Health in addition to the SOM.

“This is a continuation of a lot of advances that Yale has made in health care education,” said Howard Forman, a professor at the SOM and Medical School who serves as co-director of the program. “I think that it is a natural evolution of Yale’s great strength in education to be able to provide this to executives.”

Forman is also director of the Yale MD/MBA joint degree program, which has been in place since 1998.

He said the SOM has received inquiries about an executive MBA program since the late 1990s, and planning for the program began in earnest approximately three years ago.

“[Health care] is an area that is just replete with challenges and issues — everything from how to deliver quality care to everyone in the society to how one manages the financing around the development of new drugs and new treatments,” said Stan Garstka, SOM deputy dean and co-director of the program.

Both Forman and Garstka said the program will involve students from different sectors of the health care industry, including pharmaceutical companies and hospitals.

“The idea here is to get some of the very best and brightest … a network of high-level people who begin to communicate with each other, and collectively they will begin to improve a lot of the industry,” Garstka said.

Forman cited high numbers of uninsured and underinsured people as one of the most serious problems facing health care in the United States.

“I think that everybody has similar goals and missions, and I think people really do want to see health care improved,” he said. “Most of our participants don’t know how to bring together all the parties to find a reasonable solution.”

He said the program will accept 20 to 30 students each year so that the school will be able to keep classes small.

While any high-level executive with relevant experience may apply, he said recruitment efforts will aim to build relationships with organizations in order to identify particularly qualified individuals.

Over the course of two years, participants will attend classes on alternating weekends.

“It’ll probably initially be a fairly regional program, but the good news is our geographical location places us in the center of what is going on in health care — everything from firms like Aetna to a lot of the pharmaceutical firms, a lot of hospitals, [and] many of the major players in health care are right in the area here,” Garstka said.

The program’s third co-director, SOM professor Dick Wittink, was not available for comment.

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