Business Advancement Center for Health (BACH)

New Carlson School Center Focuses On Health Equity Issues

Thursday, February 17, 2022

Professor Pinar Karaca Mandic is the founding director of BACH.

The COVID-19 pandemic exposed long-standing structural issues in the U.S. health system. The new Business Advancement Center for Health (BACH) aims to develop inclusive, sustainable solutions to solve these challenges. 

Recently launched at the University of Minnesota Carlson School of Management, BACH is a hub where faculty members, students, industry leaders, and community stakeholders from all disciplines can collaborate to tackle health disparities, health equity issues such as access and affordability, and improve value in healthcare. Pinar Karaca Mandic, the C. Arthur Williams Jr. Professor in Healthcare Risk Management, will serve as BACH’s founding director.

“We always need to approach these structural problems with an interdisciplinary perspective,” said Karaca-Mandic, who also spent a decade as a faculty member in the U of M School of Public Health. “Combining the power of public health solutions with a business lens will lead to sustainable solutions. At BACH, we can be an active, dedicated partner helping close the health equity gaps and address inefficiencies with the next generation of business model innovations.”

BACH evolved out of Carlson School’s research and outreach efforts in the health sector. This included the award-winning COVID-19 Hospitalization Tracking Project, which Karaca Mandic co-founded and will continue at BACH in partnership with the Carlson School’s Management Information Systems Research Center. The project led to novel research highlighting racial disparities in COVID-19 hospitalization rates and identified the impact of policy levers, like the stay-at-home orders and re-opening of economies, on hospital capacity and the pandemic’s burden in communities. That work, explains Karaca Mandic, exemplifies BACH’s efforts for impactful, data-driven research where the health and business worlds intersect.

“At the Carlson School, we have passionate faculty in core business disciplines such as finance, accounting, management, entrepreneurship, information systems, supply chain, work and organizations who conduct research in healthcare,” said Karaca Mandic, who previously served as the academic director of the Carlson School’s Medical Industry Leadership Institute. “Their work approaches fundamental questions on efficiency, quality, access, costs, and health outcomes with the goal to innovate on payment models, financial incentives, data analytics, and organizational structures among others. BACH will be a force for good in making healthcare an equitable entity for all.”

This mission is guiding research underway at BACH. Karaca Mandic is leading a three-year project, “Social Bonds as a Pooled Financing Mechanism to Address Social Drivers of Health Equity,” to reimagine healthcare funding through the creation and development of a new financial tool called a social bond. The research involves working with multiple local partners including the Minnesota Hospital Association, state government agencies, and nonprofits. The study is funded as part of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s Systems for Action research program.

In addition, BACH will be the home of the University of Minnesota’s Interdisciplinary Health Data Competition, which challenges students across campus to address healthcare challenges. Registration for this year’s competition begins in February. In April, BACH will host Convene, a virtual conference focused on the intersection of healthcare, technology, and data analytics as major solutions to healthcare issues. This year’s theme centers on the healthcare consumer in the digital era. Aneesh Chopra, president of CareJourney and former U.S. chief technology officer for President Barack Obama, will be the keynote speaker.

“BACH will be a home to develop novel research, where students can engage with mentors across different fields,” said Karaca Mandic. “The network will foster our future business leaders with new ideas to reshape the health industry with business-driven innovations.”

Read more about BACH:

About the Carlson School of Management
Located on the University of Minnesota Twin Cities campus, the Carlson School of Management exemplifies a commitment to excellence through a focus on experiential learning and international education, and by maintaining strong ties with the Minneapolis/Saint Paul business community. Through its undergraduate and graduate programs, the Carlson School offers access to world-renowned faculty members and an alumni network of 60,000 people.

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