Meeting of the Minds

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meeting-of-the-mindsOne way to gauge Carey’s growing impact is by the ever-broadening scope of its engagement with other divisions of Johns Hopkins University and with units of both the public and private sectors. These collaborations range from research projects to conferences to dual-degree programs, and even include a regular event that brings student musicians from JHU’s Peabody Institute to perform at Carey. 

Entrepreneurship and innovation are pretty standard business school fare, but increasingly their true impact comes when business schools partner with other disciplines to put such approaches into real-life practice, says Phillip Phan, a Carey professor specializing in management and organization. Phan, who holds a joint appointment at Johns Hopkins Medicine’s Armstrong Institute for Patient Safety and Quality and the Department of Medicine, is no stranger to collaboration. Seven years ago, when he heard Armstrong director Peter Pronovost speak about the importance of transdisciplinary approaches to solving safety problems in health care, he says it was a quick meeting of the minds.

“He is one of the first in the world who embraced focusing on safety issues not only as a health issue but as a business issue,” Phan says.

“In many universities, business schools stand on their own, but I didn’t think Carey should/ So we have extremely porous boundaries.”

— Phillip Phan

Since then, the patient safety institute and the Carey School have collaborated on several joint research projects with more in the pipeline. Currently, eight Carey faculty members – with research interests in operational and organizational issues related to safety – hold joint appointments at Armstrong. Such partnerships offer business faculty the opportunity to leverage expertise across Johns Hopkins – from Medicine to Peabody to the Applied Physics Laboratory – and to help colleagues in other divisions harness their research to make a tangible difference, Phan says.

“In many universities, business schools stand on their own, but I didn’t think Carey should. So we have extremely porous boundaries. That’s the only way we can make a difference and we can be different. Our low walls create the opportunity to do work in extremely interesting settings,” Phan says.

In one example, Carey and Armstrong have been collaborating for several years on the issue of “evening handovers,” when the team of residents on a hospital’s day shift transfers oversight of patients to the incoming night shift resident – an event the World Health Organization has named one of the top five key areas of patient safety risk. The Carey team found that using the brief interactions to deliver the factual information already available in patient charts was not helpful; what was needed was an environment of trust and communication in which providers share more qualitative observations that might tip one another off to subsequent subtle changes in patients’ conditions.

Sometimes the Carey-Armstrong connection entails sharing well-earned expertise with audiences far beyond Johns Hopkins. Another Carey faculty member affiliated with Armstrong – Bloomberg Distinguished Professor Kathleen Sutcliffe – makes a study of the characteristics of “high-reliability organizations.” (Generally, HROs follow several key principles, such as encouraging input from all team members and being able to make small mid-path corrections, that buttress an overarching concept known as “preoccupation with failure.”) In a recent article for the journal BMJ Quality and Safety, Sutcliffe collaborated with Pronovost and Armstrong patient safety director Lori Paine on an evaluation of high-reliability organizing within health care and found the industry still has work to do. Warning against a mood of complacency, the authors concluded that “health care must recognize that you never get safety completely behind you.”

With health care standing as the fastest-growing sector of the nation’s economy and relying on so many individuals and systems, the field offers plenty of room for business management collaborations to make real improvements, says assistant professor Christopher Myers, newly arrived from Harvard Business School and a member of Armstrong’s core faculty. “We hope to be able to do work that drives down human cost and errors, and creates more safe and reliable health care,” Myers says. “You have the mechanisms and ideas from a business school, but without the connection to health care to put the ideas into practice, the opportunity to have that kind of impact isn’t there.”

— R.W.

“If we’re going to create economies where we grow more of the food we eat locally, we’re going to have to rebuild processing capacity.”

— Former Maryland Governor and one-time Carey visiting professor Martin O’Malley at “Feding the 21st Century City” event co-hosted by Carey in 2015

Executives in Residence program

Since its launch in 2014, the Executives in Residence program has brought more than 30 top-level executives from the most influential and successful corporations in the world to Carey’s campus. During their day-long visit, the executives lecture in classrooms on topics pertinent to the course curriculum – talks that frequently turn into group discussions with students and professors. The list of EIRs has included:


Advisory Boards and Councils

To better obtain input from industry, the Carey Business School has developed a variety of advisory bodies consisting of leading business executives and alumni. These advisory boards and councils – the Academic Board, Dean’s Advisory Council, Industry Advisory Boards, and Dean’s Alumni Advisory Board – provide guidance to the school’s leadership and help create a conversation between the faculty and industry with particular focus on the fields of health care, risk management, finance, and real estate. Board members inform the school on current activity in their areas of expertise, meet with faculty, and students, and comment on the curriculum.

d-to-mDiscovery to Market

Through the Discovery to Market course of the Global MBA program, launched in 2010, teams of Carey students collaborate with each other and with entities from JHU and the public sector. D2M, as the course is popularly known, begins during the second semester of the students’ first year in the Global MBA program and continues through the following fall. During the nearly year-long course, they are assigned projects and conduct extensive feasibility studies to determine if, and how, the inventions can be launched commercially.

“By changing a kid’s address, you can change her life.”

— Johns Hopkins sociologist Kathryn Edin at the 21st Century Cities Initiative event, held at Carey in 2016 and featuring the White House Budget Chief Shaun Donovan

“Markets are an ancient human invention for improving welfare by letting people transact. … We have to think about all the ways we can increase the supply of kidneys, and among those is…compensating donors.”

— Economics Nobelist Alvin Roth at bioethics symposium, co-hosted by Carey in 2015

Music on the Mezzanine

Launched in September 2012, Carey’s Music on the Mezzanine concert series has brought together two Johns Hopkins communities that might not seem a likely match – those of the Carey School and the Peabody Conservatory. A few times each semester, student musicians from Peabody present late-afternoon concerts in the Passano Lobby of Carey’s Harbor East campus. After each performance, the Peabody musicians join Carey students, faculty, and staff in conversation and tastings from a big buffet spread. (The series expanded to Washington, D.C., in November 2013 with a performance for the Carey and School of Advanced International Studies communities in the nation’s capital.)


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