Vanderbilt Business

Policy Matters

Discussions are animated when a congressman joins a business professor in the classroom

by Jennifer Johnston | Features, Winter 2013 | Comments | Print Print |

Health care students benefit from a mix of professionals in the classroom. In addition to his Medical Center responsibilities, C. Wright Pinson, MD’80, draws on his experiences as a liver transplant surgeon to teach courses in ethics. R. Lawrence Van Horn has an appointment as associate professor of health policy at the School of Medicine. And U.S. Rep. Jim Cooper team-teaches with Van Horn at Owen six months of the year in an ongoing conversation—often animated—that “pulls back the veil on the nature of the challenges facing health care,” Van Horn says.

The pair teach two courses within the Health Care MBA program—Health Care Economics and Policy, and Health Care Law and Regulation. The classes are billed as an overview of the health care sector, with Cooper and Van Horn facing off with very different viewpoints. Van Horn teaches a similar course to Master of Management in Health Care students with Cooper as a regular guest speaker.

Congressman Jim Cooper


The intense engagement of faculty members such as Van Horn and Cooper makes the out-of-classroom experience just as valuable as the coursework, says Alon Peltz, MD’12, MBA’12, now in residency in Boston. “One of the absolute highlights was every couple of months when we would get together over pizza with Larry and Jim to talk informally about health care, the landscape, ideas that we had, questions that we were encountering,” Peltz remembers. “Every time, it turned into several hours of incredibly engaging, thought-provoking discussions. I still sometimes think back to conversations we had, to things they’d bring forth to challenge the paradigm.”

photo credit: Daniel Dubois

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