The University of Arizona Eller College of Management has announced a $2.5 million commitment from Peter and Nancy Salter.
The gift endows the Center for Management Innovations in Healthcare, which was founded in 2011.
"At 17.5 percent of our economy, health spending in the U.S. surpasses any other industrialized nation," said Stephen Gilliland, executive director of the center and holder of the Peter and Nancy Salter Chair in Healthcare Management, also funded through the gift.
"Challenges around health care as an industry are among the biggest problems we face as a society," Gilliland said. "We have a vision to develop ideas and talent to address these issues and transform health by building connections between business and medicine."
Paulo Goes, dean of the Eller College, said "Peter Salter is an entrepreneur and visionary who has long supported health care-related work at the Eller College. Years ago, he funded a health care entrepreneurship class, and has supported business students' engagement in the industry since then. By supporting this center, the Salters are helping the college accelerate its research and teaching in an area where cross-disciplinary thinking is a must."
When the economy took a downturn in 2009, "health care was still wide open for employment," said Peter Salter, a UA alumnus and founder of global medical devices company Salter Labs. "It's important for business students to be aware of the demand for their talent and skills within the health care industry."
The Center for Management Innovations in Healthcare offers certificate programs at the undergraduate and graduate levels, and is developing partnerships with health care organizations on campus and across the state to facilitate hands-on learning opportunities in the form of job shadow experiences, internships and consulting projects.
"These types of connections are a win-win," Gilliland said. "Engaging students in real-world projects gives them experience, and positions them well for their job searches. And the organizations they serve benefit from the fresh thinking of students who approach problem-solving with enthusiasm."
The center also funds health care research within the college. Recent projects include economics research that evaluates the effects of hospital mergers; information systems research that uses big data to "translate" medical information for patients; and marketing research that examines how people's risk tolerance in medical decision-making differs from financial decision-making.
"The Salters' gift not only supports innovative thinkers focused on the business of health care, it also supports students who aspire to transform a critical sector of the economy," said John-Paul Roczniak, president and CEO of the UA Foundation. "We are grateful for supporters like Peter and Nancy, whose gifts will have immeasurable impact not just at the University but in the broader field of health care."
"The business of providing high-quality health care is incredibly complex, and ensuring that our nation meets the challenges of providing clinical care, educating new medical professionals, and continuing groundbreaking research in the science and management of health is among the University's most critical areas of impact," said UA President Ann Weaver Hart. "Helping to bring the talent and drive of Eller College students and faculty to this critical area through their support of the Center for Management Innovations in Healthcare is a wonderful extension of the Salters' already incredible legacy of generous support for the University, and I am so very grateful for their partnership in this vital area of impact and service."
The Center for Management Innovations in Healthcare was founded by the late Keith Provan, an eminent researcher in public management who focused on interorganizational and network relationships, especially in the domain of health, mental health and human services. The Salters' gift is revitalizing the center.
The gift brings the Eller College closer to its $65 million goal for the Arizona NOW campaign. The college already has brought in $55.7 million in support of faculty and the student experience. The Eller Professional Development Center, a $5 million capital project within the campaign, opened its doors in August.
Thanks to the generosity of approximately 100,000 campaign donors, the UA is well within reach of surpassing Arizona NOW's fundraising goal of $1.5 billion by July 2018 — nearly two years ahead of schedule.