Summer 2021 | Volume 10 | Number 3
In Every Issue
Feature Articles
In Upcoming Issues
Recovering and Thriving Post-Pandemic - Part 2

The Invisible Impact of an Invisible Threat – Invisible No Longer
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Editor's Letter
This issue begins with the passing of the presidential torch from Maria Whitman, WG’05, to Heather Aspras, WG’08, Director of New Product Strategy and Business Development for US Oncology at Merck. Maria has left us in good hands. Heather received her MBA with honors from the Wharton School, with a double major in Healthcare Management and Marketing. She has remained involved in her alma mater after graduation, serving as President of the Wharton Club of Philadelphia for 5 years (2014-2019) and on the board of the Wharton Healthcare Management Alumni Association since 2017.
After 16 months that have forever changed the world, we are beginning to see some light and hope for the future despite the innumerable challenges which lie ahead. Some of these are new and some very, very old. Too many are urgent, with no time to lose to take the action needed to survive and ensure a life worth living for future generations.
From the physical and mental health and well-being impacts of infection with the novel coronavirus to the health and healthcare inequities of systemic racism (and its kin) and social injustice inflicted on the poor and other marginalized populations….. from technology which advances the ability to deliver more care in the home setting to the global collaboration which led to the development of vaccines in record time ….. and from the further destigmatization of emotional distress and mental health disorders to the increased interest of medical students in primary care and public health, the healthcare arena has an embarrassment of riches when it comes to opportunities to make the world a better place.
We each have the privilege and power to drive real change (and sometimes don’t realize the far-reaching effect just being who we are can have on the lives of others). Let’s take a moment to reflect on that reality……and then get back to work!

“Always remember, you have within you the strength, the patience, and the passion to reach for the stars to change the world.”
~ Harriet Tubman

Managing Editor
Contact Colette at:

In Every Issue
The President's Desk

I am excited to be taking the reins as WHCMAA President from my dear friend, Maria Whitman (WG’05). A huge thank you to her and all of our departing board members for their incredible service, passion, and ideas: Ed Chan (WG’11), Amy Fitzpatrick (WG’93), Diana Peng (WG ’14, Secretary), Visali Ramanathan (WG’15), Amanda Wyatt (WG’17), and Reed van Gorden (WG’12).
I’m energized by the impact that our committed, passionate alumni can have as we look towards the possibilities of the future. We are at an inflection point right now, where we all have the ability to shape the future of healthcare after one of the most disruptive and personally difficult experiences of our lives. Read more.
The Philosopher’s Corner
This eclectic standing column features insightful musings, words of wisdom, life lessons, and stepping stones to business success. This month's philosopher is Amy O’C. Fitzpatrick, WG ’93, Program Director for the Massachusetts General Hospital Center for Precision Psychiatry. Read more.
Affidavit: Healthcare and the Law - Hold the Phone: Telemedicine Subject to Increased Scrutiny by Enforcement Agencies 

The COVID-19 pandemic has caused a record increase in demand for expanded access to remote medical care. Backed by the new regulatory flexibilities of federal and state governments, providers have met that patient demand through a rapid increase in the use of telemedicine. By all accounts, it looks like telemedicine—and its amplified use—are here to stay. But such increased use, no matter how well-intentioned from a public health perspective, could expose providers to increased scrutiny and enforcement actions.  Read more.
Not a Freudian Slip: Virtual Reality for Mental Health [Virtual Reality for a New Reality?]
Contributor: Connie Mester, MPH

For over fourteen months, during the pandemic, I have been working in my home office while my teenage daughter attends school virtually in another room in our house. To make matters more daunting, my daughter has ADHD, visual sensory processing difficulties, and dyslexia. All of these conditions make digital learning a nightmare!
What has worried me the most during this extremely unusual time, however, is her mental health. What I have noticed most in our situation is that my daughter's once confident disposition and positive outlook have completely transformed into feelings of “not being smart” or “capable of being successful” in school.
As an educator and behavioral scientist by training, I started thinking….could there be an exercise that could transport her out of her negative thought-loop into a three-dimensional world that boosted her confidence by allowing her to see herself being successful in different scenarios?  Read more.
Downloading Success: Succeeding as a Successor - 5 Tips 
Contributor: Jason Petros

Being the next in line for a top job is challenging. After discussions with executives across the healthcare provider ecosystem, I embarked on a journey to understand some of the intended and unintended consequences, emotional challenges, and professional decisions that successors are challenged with once they are named or insinuated as a potential successor to their bossRead more.
CyberVitals: Cybersecurity in the New Normal
Contributor: Vidya Murthy, WEMBA’42 

Each year, healthcare organizations collect, store, and share more patient data than they did the year before — the result of connected medical devices, clinician mobility tools, and emerging Internet of Things use cases. More data means more potential jackpots for hackers, whose attack methods continue to evolve. We must remember the impact ransomware attacks and data breaches can have in healthcare is severe, not just to the bottom line but, even more critically, on patients’ lives. Read more.
Feature Articles
Calibrating Culture for a Healthcare Merger

As mergers and acquisitions in healthcare continue at a robust pace, the realization of the importance of organizational culture grows. In any merger, each partner brings its own history, culture, and approach to getting work done. And in healthcare, the local environment plays a critical role in shaping success, even as organizations merge to increase market share and to strengthen population health-based models. Cultural gaps between partners can derail success, as the literature on failed mergers makes clear. On the other hand, if done right, the work of creating cultural alignment can be the source of powerful innovation in a mergerRead more.
Leadership Learning Through Disruption: Reflections from a Convening of Association CEOs

As we look ahead to a post-pandemic future, many are asking what we can learn from our COVID experience to help shape the organizations we work in and with, in healthcare and beyond? How can we use this experience to rethink our focus and impact, to reset our culture? What questions and issues must we grapple with to get there?

We recently convened a diverse group of 19 leading CEOs from a wide range of associations to come together and discuss both the current challenges and opportunities in this disruptive time, as well as the variety of shifts impacting their members and fields. The discussion proved to be a rich one, both about the present and the futureRead more.
Should I Stay or Should I Let It Go? Accelerating Partnerships in a Pandemic – Part 2

The healthcare environment has never been more challenging for physicians and their practices than it has been during this pandemic. The economic uncertainty created by the Covid-19 crisis is unprecedented in modern times and is threatening the viability of many independent medical practices. Physicians are questioning whether they can or should remain independent or take the plunge and partner with othersRead more.
Recovering and Thriving Post-Pandemic: Part 1 - Hospital of the Future

In the coming issues, we will discuss the broad and profound impacts the COVID-19 pandemic has had on the entire healthcare industry. We begin with hospitals and hospital systems. We draw our insights based on experience during the pandemic and other periods of economic and operational chaos impacting all of healthcare. Read more
Wharton Around the Globe: Scaling Non-Profits - How WGHV is Helping to Drive the Growth of Uganda Village Project 
Contributor: Kristina Mani, WG'22

In a year of no travel and even limited Penn campus exploration, a group of HCM students joined together through Wharton Global Health Volunteers (WGHV) to expand outside the virtual classroom of our living rooms. We started a consulting engagement with the Uganda Village Project in January 2021, at a critical juncture in the organization’s development and after a year of unexpected ups and downs. Uganda Village Project (or UVP) is a grassroots non-profit organization working in the Iganga District since 2003. They promote public health and sustainable development in the rural communities of southeast Uganda, through improved access, education, and prevention.  Read more
The Healing Benefits of Gratitude Post-Pandemic - Start Now  

In the March 2020 JAMA Open Network article, “Factors Associated With Mental Health Outcomes Among Health Care Workers Exposed to Coronavirus Disease 2019,” the authors recommended special interventions be implemented immediately. Other sources indicate not enough is being done for a variety of reasons, not the least of which was the state of overwhelm, burnout, and moral injury that existed in physicians, nurses, and other clinicians before the COVID-19 outbreak. Many healthcare institutions were already lacking systemic policies and programs to support mental and emotional needs adequately. Fortunately, gratitude can help mitigate the emotional distress and serve as a path to healing. Read more.
Disclaimer: The opinions expressed within are those of the authors and editors of the articles and do not necessarily reflect the views, opinions, positions or strategies of the Wharton School and/or the University of Pennsylvania, and/or their respective organizations. Publication in this e-magazine should not be considered an endorsement. The Wharton Healthcare Quarterly and WHCMAA make no representations as to accuracy, completeness, currentness, suitability, or validity of any information in this e-magazine and will not be liable for any errors, omissions, or delays in this information or any losses, injuries, or damages arising from its display or use.