Jason Flood
Home Region

Cambridge, MA

Undergrad Education

Harvard University, Mathematics, 2011

Previous Experience

Mass Health Policy Commission; Google

“I had to learn to be an advocate for myself and a project manager for my own care.”

Just six months after graduating from Harvard five years ago, Jason Flood noticed a swelling lymph node on his neck. His partner, a medical resident, insisted that Jason see a doctor. Unfortunately, his suspicions were confirmed: Jason was diagnosed with lymphoma and underwent a series of six chemotherapy treatments to address his cancer.

Today, Jason is cancer-free, but the experience proved transformative. “It was draining,” Jason says, “but it was a communal experience with a whole bunch of people receiving treatment at the same time.” Together, they shared not only a diagnosis, but an up-close experience of the United States’ health care system.

“There were mind-boggling inefficiencies both in terms of delivery and coordination,” Jason says. “We had multiple doctors who failed to communicate to each other and ordered the same test. I saw so many discrepancies in my bills, inappropriate charges that required three-way calls with providers and insurers to resolve. I had to learn to be an advocate for myself and a project manager for my own care.”

Jason proved to be a successful self-manager, but he recognized that many others lacked the skills, knowledge, and access to resources that he had. “I realized that my college education, my relatively high socio-economic status, and my employer-provided insurance were privileges most of America does not have access to.”

Improving a flawed system from multiple angles

Before his cancer diagnosis, “I was in technology and excited about the future of tech. Google was my dream job—and I got it. I had a fantastic experience there, and my life plan was to scale the ranks at Google.”

But his cancer experience, Jason says, “inspired a passion to get involved in health care.” Enrolled in both Harvard Business School and the Harvard Kennedy School, he is pursuing the joint MBA/MPP degree. “I see the joint degree as the best path toward leveraging both the private and public sectors to improve the system. It’s also an effective way to shift careers from tech to a completely new industry.”

At HBS, Jason reflects, “The most valuable part of the curriculum is the way it solidifies my knowledge of core business fundamentals, like operations and finance, as they pertain to running an organization. If I were to run a health care organization—a community clinic or a private company—I need to make sure I run it efficiently to not inhibit our mission.”

Jason’s long-term ambitions continue to evolve, but he does know he wants to “spend time in both private and public sectors over the course of my career.” Meanwhile, he draws considerable inspiration from his HBS colleagues. “It’s incredibly motivating to see how ambitious they are,” says Jason. “I’m overwhelmed by the amount of social enterprise and social impact support and interest there is here.”