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Refocusing His Healthcare Lens

MMHC equips physician leader to ‘function at a higher level’

Laveil Allen MD
Executive Vice Chair, Radiology and Radiologic Sciences, Executive Medical Director of Clinical Imaging, Vanderbilt University Medical Center

Vanderbilt MM Health Care 2023

Dr. Laveil Allen has achieved a great deal in his medical career. At Vanderbilt University Medical Center, he occupies leadership positions in radiology and clinical imaging. He led a team that won the VUMC Elevate Award, the medical center's highest honor.

What would lead a physician with such accomplishments to want to return to school—and to take on the workload of a graduate student, on top of his already demanding professional schedule?

“I believe in lifelong learning,” Dr. Allen explains. “Gathering a deeper understanding of how to more effectively engage the healthcare system is a skill set that I longed for. This program provided the answer. The opportunity to learn the business behind healthcare—among a multidisciplinary cohort—was a huge draw for me. Medicine is a team sport, and learning how the many different players on the team come together to drive efficiency and profit margin has been highly enlightening.”

As an example, Dr. Allen cites being in a class with the chair of orthopedics, pharmacists, nurses, physicians, administrators, surgical techs, and physical therapists. “It’s not every day that we are all in the same room, functioning together and actually moving toward the idea of making healthcare better,” he says. On top of that, the program provided opportunities to learn different dimensions of healthcare from faculty such as Professor Luke Froeb, who provided insights into the federal healthcare policy that he helped to formulate.

Perhaps even more than he expected, Dr. Allen found that the new knowledge and skills he was gaining each week applied to his work in real time. Often, he says, “I found myself utilizing skills in finance or business concepts we had just learned in class, literally the next day. There were so many times when I was able to function in meetings at a higher level because I had just studied what we were discussing.”

While the dividends from the program were immediate, they also propelled Dr. Allen along his journey to lifelong learning. “The program has helped focus my lens with reference to leadership on team outcomes,” he says. “Prior to my MMHC courses, my vision was significantly more limited to individual goals. My knowledge base and team-building skills have been exponentially impacted in a very positive way that will allow me to improve processes and clinical care at VUMC.”

Fun Fact: Dr. Allen has two siblings who played professional sports—one in the NFL and the other in the NBA.

“It’s not every day that we are all in the same room, functioning together and actually moving toward the idea of making healthcare better.”