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Caring for Veterans

Award-winning administrator gains new expertise

Stephen Farrow
Medical Director, Interim Staffing Program at Department of Veterans Affairs Offices

Vanderbilt Global Executive MBA 2014

Dr. Stephen Farrow knows that management of medical care can be challenging and unpredictable. The month after he began work in the geriatrics, nursing home and palliative care units at Gulf Coast Veterans Health Care System, Hurricane Katrina swept through. (Stephen received the VA Secretary’s Hero Award for his service in response to the historic storm.)

While his responsibilities and expertise increased during the eight years that followed, Dr. Farrow wanted to “gain new abilities in business-level project planning; budget, capacity and staffing strategy; and quality assessment and negotiation.” Vanderbilt’s Executive MBA program was attractive to him because of its reputation and the convenience of its weekend class schedule.

But instead of a traditional EMBA, he chose the new Americas MBA. “Since medical care and administration are rapidly globalizing,” he explains, “Vanderbilt’s Americas program will help me prepare well for this new challenge.”

Stephen saw dividends on the job even during his first year in the program. The first business analysis project taken on by his C-suite team of peers involved a review of his hospital’s process for patient flow. “We mapped the process, identified constraints and excess capacity and calculated the provider-to-bed ratio necessary to accommodate patient demand,” he says. As a result, the team not only devised a solution to a supply-demand mismatch but built on the project to identify strategies to resolve such mismatches between patient demand and hospital supply across an entire system.