Cara Sterling is the Director of the Health Care Initiative at HBS with over 20 years of experience in the health care industry. Cara is passionate about the industry and dedicated to recruiting even more ambitious, smart, and results-oriented innovators to work in a sector that is full of possibility.

I had the privilege and good fortune to help launch the Health Care Initiative (HCI) at HBS in 2005. It still energizes me every day to be able to design a program that I would have wanted to participate in when I was an MBA and MPH student many, many years ago. The Initiative began simply with a group of students who lobbied the Dean to include more health care courses and programs in the curriculum. It is incredible how much it has evolved since that day. It often surprises people to hear how broad and deep the interest is in the health care sector at HBS. From any perspective — be it students, alumni or faculty — HBS has amazing resources around this critical topic.

Opportunities for students

From a student perspective, the best way to get involved is to join the student-run Health Care Club. The club organizes everything from the large annual health care conference, to small coffee chats with CEOs, and treks to New York and San Francisco to meet with cutting edge companies. The club is one of the largest at HBS, and in my perhaps biased opinion, one of the most well-organized clubs on campus. I love meeting with former students, now working in leadership roles, and hearing stories about how they are making a difference in health care.

Alumni involvement

Over 8,000 alumni work in every health care industry and function you can imagine, and the opportunity to connect with them is surprisingly easy. Alumni gatherings are held on campus, in Boston, and around the world at industry conferences like BIO, ASCO or JP Morgan. In fact, as I write this, we have a student and alumni gathering tonight at The MedTech Conference taking place in Boston.

Faculty and curriculum

HBS faculty offer numerous health care electives every year and are prolific publishers of health care research with over 100 cases, books, and articles about the topic. The school also offers several joint programs related to health care including an MD-MBA, DMD-MBA, MPP-MBA and two MS-MBAs, one with a focus on biotech and life sciences and one with a focus on engineering.

Bridging health care resources across the community

The role of the HCI is to bridge and bring together all these tremendous resources while also adding to the mix. Right now, we host several annual activities including:

  • a physician shadowing program in conjunction with Brigham and Women's Hospital
  • a student-alumni mentor program where you choose the alumni you want to meet
  • a series of industry exploration events every Fall that provide students with the opportunity to discuss key health care issues with industry leaders and alumni

Another crucial role of the HCI is to make it easier to navigate the tremendous health care resources around Harvard that are available to students, faculty, and alumni. From opportunities at the Pagliuca LifeLab and i-Lab, to sponsoring events in conjunction with Harvard Medical School. We recently launched the Harvard Health Innovation Network website in collaboration with ten other health care organizations around Harvard. I encourage you to check it out.

As you can see there are nearly endless ways to learn more about health care during your time at HBS, and we are continuously looking to improve and expand. Please check out the HCI's website to learn more about health care at HBS.