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SICK: Healthcare in the Modern Era

CONGRATULATIONS, DR. PEARCE KORB! Dr. Korb is an epileptologist in the Department of Neurology at Emory University, and his proposal for a new course for The Center for Faculty Development and Excellence (CFDE) , titled SICK: Healthcare in the Modern Era, was selected from among several proposals to be the new offering to both undergraduate and graduate students at Emory University. Course proposals were sought out by the CFDE to encourage a multidisciplinary examination of issues and topics of interest to faculty and students from across the university.

This course, which addresses the important topic of healthcare reform, will be offered in the Spring of 2014 and is being coordinated by Dr. Korb along with Dr. Gregory Esper, who serves Emory Healthcare as the Director of New Care Models and the Department of Neurology as Vice Chair for Clinical Affairs.  The goal for this course is to focus the many intellectual perspectives and resources available at Emory on the study of this important topic and to enact a sense of common purpose across the diverse communities at Emory.

New course offerings through this program have been offered since 2011. For more information on past courses please click here.

Course title:

SICK: Healthcare in the Modern Era

Course description:

“America's health care system is neither healthy, caring, nor a system.”

― Walter Cronkite

Healthcare has evolved.  In the past the art of medicine began with illness and ended with a consultation and a plan.  The only essential players were a patient and his or her provider.  This period of time with house calls and familiar town doctors would be a wholly pleasant piece of nostalgia if it were not for the lack of modern therapies, technology and public health measures.  And with time medical treatments did advance but so did the complexity of that previously simple notion of patient and provider.  Now there are insurance companies or other third-party payers, both public and private, managed care groups, large consolidating hospital systems and a mammoth pharmaceutical industry complex. The current magnitude and complexity of the providing healthcare in the United States of America obfuscates even the most fundamental questions:

What does it cost? Why are medical bills so high? Who actually pays them? Who should have healthcare?  What direction should reform take? How do we measure success?

True understanding of the complexities of the healthcare system requires an approach with multiple disciplines, scopes and perspectives; from the macroeconomic and political forces that mold policy all the way to the ramifications at the bedside.  Knowing the historical, ethnographic, socio-cultural context for the development of the current system is as important as knowing the mechanisms of current healthcare delivery.  These mechanisms include public policy, governmental and legal regulation, access to care, insurance and the payer structure.  In addition to the complicated mechanism of delivery, it is important to consider the effect on ethical and social aspects of care including equity, social justice, spirituality, outreach and international care.  Finally it is vital to contemplate how change is affecting the future including technological and medical innovation, healthcare reform and the aging population.

In this course we will not be focusing on any particular disease state or patient population but will explore many aspects of the current healthcare system itself.  The multidisciplinary approach will include professors and experts from many departments from Emory University and from other distinguished institutions.  The focus will be on the historical context of the current system, an examination of the operation of healthcare delivery and its evolution.  There will be an emphasis on healthcare delivery in the U.S. but there will be sessions on international outreach and comparative healthcare systems.  We will also approach many of the most hotly contested debates in healthcare.