We need MD/MBEs not MD/MBAs

by Arlen Meyers

We need MD/MBEs not MD/MBAs

In my view, we are training too many MD/MBAs that don’t add value to the system and that many programs should be terminated or restructured.

Also, more medical students are jumping ship to pursue non-clinical careers. While the numbers may a small portion of the roughly 20,000 first year US medical students, the trend is evident.

Instead, we should consider re-shuffling the deck and offer a new combined MBE (Masters in Bioinnovation and Entrepreneurship) degree or dual MD/MBE or PhD/MBE program. Here’s how it would work:

1. A four year program combining two years in medical school and two years in an MBE program, patterned similar to Professional Science Masters Programs.

2. The medical school curriculum would be separate and distinct from that offered to medical students interested in practicing medicine. Among other topics, we would teach sales.

3. Clinical rotations should start on day one, intended to instill an entrepreneurial mindset and emphasize being a problem seeker , not a problem solver at this stage

4. Interdisciplinary education with experiential learning in project teams that includes business, science, engineering, law and other health professionals.

5. Experiential learning and a mandatory internship with local, national or international company in biopharma, medtech or digital health.

6. A new tuition and funding structure, possibly run by private equity or medical technology companies who sponsor applicants. The present medical education business model won’t work if it depends on short term revenue by putting butts in the seats.

7. Project teams would be offered proof of concept funding and iCorps team support

8. Domain experts would work with project teams

9. Each student would be assigned an entrepreneur mentor throughout the program

10. Social biomedical entrepreneurship and ethics would be core streams thoughout training. Those interested in creating non-profits or going into public service might be candidates for tuition deferral or waiver.

Another alternative is to make medical school 3 years instead of 4 and offer a one year track in biomedical and clinical entrepreneurship.

The good news for educators is that you don’t need to start from scratch. Karolinska beat you to the punch.

The purpose of the degree program is to provide students with the knowledge, skills and abilities they need to lead global biomedical innovation. Here’s what the curriculum would include:

1. Building Biotechnology: Introduction to biomedical entrepreneurship

2. Regulatory Affairs and Reimbursement

3. Life Science Intellectual Property

4. International (Bio) Business

5. Biotech law and ethics

6. Internship

7. International trip

8. Device and digital health entrepreneurship

9. Leading high performance teams

10. Bioentrepreneurial finance

11. Drug discovery and development

12. Care delivery entrepreneurship

13. Social entrepreneurship

14. Electives in other aspects of entrepreneurship

We don’t need more physician administrators. We need more physician innovators and entrepreneurs who can lead us out of our sick care mess and close global health outcome disparities. While I believe the optimal career track involves a reasonable time practicing clinical medicine, students are thinking otherwise. For those that do,they need a new path to creating the future and medical and business educators need to create educational products that meet their needs.

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Arlen MyersArlen Meyers, MD, MBA is the President and CEO of the Society of Physician Entrepreneurs at www.sopenet.org and co-editor of Digital Health Entrepreneurship

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