At Oxford University, Jason took advantage of his Rhodes Scholarship to supplement his previous education in bioscience with an entirely new discipline: English literature. As a subject area for someone intending to become a physician, the choice might have seemed odd, but it was, in fact, encouraged by the Dean of Medicine at Oxford. "We looked at the intersection of medicine and literature in books by people like Roddy Doyle, Robert Coles, and Rita Sharon," Jason says. "It's not just a matter of art. Taking patient stories seriously can help us become better diagnosticians."
Broadening perspectives through teamwork
Inspired by his college experience as a hospital orderly, Jason chose a path in medicine. But during his third year in clinical rotation at Harvard Medical School, "I saw that medicine needed more physician leaders," Jason says. "We need to extend our influence beyond individual departments to improve the overall delivery of care at the institutional and even regional levels."
For Jason, that meant complementing his MD with an MBA at Harvard Business School, and embracing an entirely new way of seeing his role as a professional. "In medicine, you're treated as an individual expert; you're expected to address every issue one-on-one," Jason says. "But in business school, the individual can't be prepared alone. The learning all happens in real time, in the class or in groups." The case method doesn't give the individual answers, but points for discussion among peers. "The process forces you to use both logical and associative thinking." As you're exposed to alternative arguments, your thinking evolves. Jason notes, "Your point of view can change dramatically over ninety minutes."
Applying business lessons to medicine
On a personal level, the case method has "systemized my thinking," says Jason. "I've learned to be more precise in my differential diagnosis. On a broader level, I've become very interested in teams." Jason taught second-year HMS medical students in Patient-Doctor II, the hands-on introduction to physical exams. Influenced by his exposure to the case method, Jason has encouraged his students to discuss their exams among each other, and to be open to alternative diagnoses or assessments.
In his MBA classes, Jason is "driven by course content not necessarily related to patients, such as finance and micro-economics. But these disciplines," Jason says, "can help healthcare managers think like managers in other industries. I want to apply good financial and entrepreneurial skills toward making effective policy decisions."