Doctoral Student

Bethany Sheridan Gerstein

Bethany Gerstein is a PhD student in Health Policy/Management at the Harvard Business School and the Harvard Graduate School of Arts & Sciences. Her research focuses on how different organizational design features (e.g., staffing, IT, physical space) affect the way healthcare teams communicate, work together, and ultimately perform in a variety of clinical settings.
 
Prior to the PhD program, Bethany worked as a research associate with the Informed Medical Decisions Foundation, as an advisor and Global Health Corps Fellow with Partners in Health in Rwanda, and as a people analyst with the People Analytics group & People and Innovation Lab (PiLab) at Google, Inc. She graduated from Brown University with honors in international relations in 2007.
Bethany Gerstein is a PhD student in Health Policy/Management at the Harvard Business School and the Harvard Graduate School of Arts & Sciences. Her research focuses on how different organizational design features (e.g., staffing, IT, physical space) affect the way healthcare teams communicate, work together, and ultimately perform in a variety of clinical settings.
 
Prior to the PhD program, Bethany worked as a research associate with the Informed Medical Decisions Foundation, as an advisor and Global Health Corps Fellow with Partners in Health in Rwanda, and as a people analyst with the People Analytics group & People and Innovation Lab (PiLab) at Google, Inc. She graduated from Brown University with honors in international relations in 2007.

Journal Articles

  1. Lack of Shared Decision Making in Cancer Screening Discussions: Results from a National Survey

    Richard M. Hoffman, Joanne G. Elmore, Kathleen M. Fairfield, Bethany S. Gerstein, Carrie A. Levin and Michael P. Pignone

    Citation:

    Hoffman, Richard M., Joanne G. Elmore, Kathleen M. Fairfield, Bethany S. Gerstein, Carrie A. Levin, and Michael P. Pignone. "Lack of Shared Decision Making in Cancer Screening Discussions: Results from a National Survey." American Journal of Preventive Medicine 47, no. 3 (September 2014): 251–259. View Details
  2. Decisions about Medication Use and Cancer Screening across Age Groups in the United States

    Kathleen M. Fairfield, Bethany S. Gerstein, Carrie A. Levin, Vickie Stringfellow, Heidi Wierman and Mary McNaughton-Collins

    Objective
    To describe decision process and quality for common cancer screening and medication decisions by age group.

    Methods
    We included 2941 respondents to a national Internet survey who made at least one decision about colorectal, breast, and prostate cancer screening, blood pressure or cholesterol medications. Respondents were queried about decision processes.

    Results
    Across the five decisions considered, decision process scores were similar (and generally low) across age groups for medication and cancer screening, indicating that all groups had poor involvement in medical decision making. Overall knowledge scores were low across age groups, with elderly (75+) having slightly higher knowledge about medications vs. younger respondents. Elderly respondents reported similar goals and concerns when making decisions, though placed greater importance of having peace of mind from a normal result for cancer screening vs. younger respondents.

    Conclusion
    Across age groups, respondents reported poor decision processes about common medications and cancer screening, despite little evidence of benefit for some interventions (cancer screening, cholesterol lowering medicines in low risk elderly) and possibility of harm in the elderly.

    Practice implications
    Particular care should be taken to help patients understand both benefit and risk of screening tests and routine medications.

    Keywords: decision making; Screening; Decision Making; Health Care and Treatment; Health Testing and Trials;

    Citation:

    Fairfield, Kathleen M., Bethany S. Gerstein, Carrie A. Levin, Vickie Stringfellow, Heidi Wierman, and Mary McNaughton-Collins. "Decisions about Medication Use and Cancer Screening across Age Groups in the United States." Patient Education and Counseling 98, no. 3 (March 2015): 338–343. View Details

Cases and Teaching Materials

  1. Merrimack Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (B)

    Amy C. Edmondson, Bethany Gerstein and Melissa Valentine

    In 2006, the leadership team at Merrimack Pharmaceuticals, Inc. had to decide whether to keep its R&D organization in functional departments or restructure it into interdisciplinary teams. This case follows the outcomes of this decision from 2006 to mid-2014, and considers their impact on productivity, accountability, communication, and skill development from the perspectives of employees in Merrimack's R&D organization.

    Keywords: Organizational Design; Groups and Teams; Collaborative Innovation and Invention; Research and Development; Biotechnology Industry; Pharmaceutical Industry;

    Citation:

    Edmondson, Amy C., Bethany Gerstein, and Melissa Valentine. "Merrimack Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (B)." Harvard Business School Supplement 614-083, June 2014. View Details
  2. Merrimack Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (A)

    Amy C. Edmondson, Bethany S. Gerstein and Melissa Valentine

    In 2006, Merrimack Pharmaceuticals was a fast-growing biotechnology company. Its leadership team was divided over whether to keep R&D organized in functional departments or transition to interdisciplinary teams. As a small company, Merrimack's R&D organization had established a culture of collaboration across scientific disciplines that some worried would diminish with larger functional departments. Others were concerned that an interdisciplinary team-based design would be inefficient and difficult to manage. This case describes the two proposed organizational designs and presents the arguments within Merrimack's leadership team for and against each. It highlights the tradeoffs associated with each design as they relate to accountability, efficiency, innovation, product orientation, and people management at every stage in the R&D process. Students will explore the relationships between task complexity, collaboration, and organizational design in R&D.

    Keywords: organizational design; Teamwork; interdisciplinary collaboration; R&D; biotechnology; complexity; innovation management; Organizational Design; Groups and Teams; Collaborative Innovation and Invention; Research and Development; Biotechnology Industry; Pharmaceutical Industry;

    Citation:

    Edmondson, Amy C., Bethany S. Gerstein, and Melissa Valentine. "Merrimack Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (A)." Harvard Business School Case 614-063, April 2014. View Details