Why I'm excited about the choice of Atul Gawande to lead the new Amazon/JP Morgan/Berkshire Hathaway healthcare venture


I was quoted a few days ago in this article and a number of people have asked why I think the choice of Atul Gawande to lead the new healthcare venture formed by Amazon, J.P. Morgan, and Berkshire Hathaway’s is so good. Several have suggested that this will be a part-time gig for Dr. Gawande since he will continue to practice medicine, do research, write books, etc. I thought it would be useful to publish the full statement released to the press because it touches on that concern and provides my rationale for celebrating this choice.

That said, I have no special knowledge of Dr. Gawande's plans nor how many hours he will work. In fact, I don't know him personally. I've based my assessment on what I've seen and read about him over the years. Plus, I have worked in healthcare for 25 years so have experienced plenty of leaders and management teams. And as it relates to physician leaders in particular: it has been my experience that the ones who continue to see patients, even when leading or managing organizations, have always been the best. They don't lose touch with what really matters in delivering care.

The following statement is attributable to Bunny Ellerin, Columbia Business School’s Director of Healthcare and Pharmaceutical Management Program, on the selection of Dr. Atul Gawande as the new head of Amazon, J.P. Morgan, and Berkshire Hathaway’s newly-formed healthcare venture: 

“This choice is brilliant. Dr. Gawande embodies exactly what we want in healthcare – a practicing physician with compassion, empathy and a patient-centered philosophy. He is someone who believes that we can do better and deliver improved healthcare if we focus on what’s important to the individual patient and to society more broadly. He also knows that confronting tough issues like pricing and cost head-on isn’t a choice – it’s a must. Dr. Gawande has already changed the practice of medicine with The Checklist Manifesto. That demonstrates how impactful he can be in his new role. Remember: it typically take 17 years for new procedures to filter down into medical practice, and he effected change in a far shorter time-period.

“Obviously the new company also needs talented business people on the team to address rising costs and lack of transparency throughout the system. But I have no doubt that this venture will bring together some of the best business minds, both from inside and outside the industry. Having Dr. Gawande at the helm is exciting for the industry, and should make us hopeful that we will see real change through this initiative.”

My NPR Debut

Every morning I wake up to NPR. This has been going on for decades. So imagine my glee at being invited to weigh in on a healthcare topic. A fan girl's dream. Bill of the Month: A Tale of 2 CT Scanners - One Richer, One Poorer aired on April 9, 2018 on Morning Edition. I spoke to reporter Alison Kodjak about healthcare pricing related to the Emergency Department - why it's often higher than other sites of care. Below is the audio version and here's the transcript

First Annual NYC Healthcare Venture Capital Report 2018

First Annual NYC Healthcare Venture Capital Report 2018

I'm thrilled to announce the release of the first-ever New York City Healthcare Venture Capital Report 2018 from NYC Health Business Leaders, the organization I co-founded with Dr. Yin Ho in 2009.

The goal of this report is to provide entrepreneurs, investors, executives, policy makers – and all industry stakeholders - with an objective, data-driven look at the importance of the New York market to the healthcare industry. 

The Ellerin Award goes to...Professor Michael Porter


Five forces.

Two words and the room erupts, as only a crowd full of MBA’s can. They know exactly who I’m talking about.

The father of modern business strategy. The man Fortune named "the most famous and influential business professor who has ever lived."

Who else? Harvard Business School Bishop William Lawrence University Professor Michael Porter.

It was humbling to present Professor Porter with the Ellerin Alumni Achievement Award at the 18th Annual HBS Healthcare Annual Conference on November 10, 2017. The award was created to commemorate my role in forming and leading the organization and is given to an outstanding leader annually.

Professor Porter has applied his intellect to myriad issues and industries throughout his career. We are lucky that he took an interest in healthcare and wrote Redefining Health Care: Creating Value-Based Competition on Results with Elisabeth Teisberg in 2006. Recognizing the need for more, he launched the Institute for Value-Based Healthcare Delivery to provide a framework for restructuring health care systems around the globe with the overarching goal of value for patients—not access, cost containment, convenience, or customer service.

Listening to Professor Porter discuss his work and all his team is doing to create more effective business models in healthcare was inspiring. Gave me renewed hope!


New York Health Care Summit: Strategies for Improving the Affordability of Care and Coverage

It's always a treat to be in the same room as the amazing Dr. Jack Lewin, who has led numerous healthcare organizations (e.g., American College of Cardiology, Cardiovascular Research Foundation) over his phenomenal career. Jack is Chairman of the National Coalition on Health Care, and invited me to speak at its November 2nd New York summit. I presented Leveraging the Healthcare Ecosystem to Improve Care & Decrease Costs

Columbia Business School Breakfast: Healthcare Entrepreneurship in NYC

 From left: Bunny Ellerin, Bob Hopkins, Dr. Joe Habboushe, Professor Linda Green

From left: Bunny Ellerin, Bob Hopkins, Dr. Joe Habboushe, Professor Linda Green

Moderating a panel where you know all the players is fun! I got this opportunity on October 25th when two Columbia Business School programs - Healthcare & Pharmaceutical Management Program (HPM) and the Lang Center - teamed up to organize a breakfast discussion on Healthcare Entrepreneurship in NYC. Held atop the Bank of America building in midtown, we could not have asked for a more beautiful or breathtaking view.

Our panelists were: Bob Hopkins, CBS '95, managing director in Bank of America Equity Research covering US Medical Technology, whom I've known since my interventional cardiology days; my friend Dr. Joe Habboushe, CBS ’07, who practices emergency medicine at NYU and runs several companies including MDCalc and Vitalis Pharmaceuticals; and HPM's Faculty Director Professor Linda Green.

Bunny Ellerin joins Board of Fund for Public Health NYC

I was invited to join the Board of the Fund for Public Health in New York City in September. New York has a long history of leading the country in public health initiatives which makes me extremely excited to be part of this organization. The Fund incubates innovative public health initiatives implemented by the Health Department to advance community health throughout the city.