HMI Exchange Program Introduces Students to Health Systems Abroad

Philippe Diserens, PhD

Thanks to an exchange program between the Department of Health Management and Informatics and the University of Bayreuth in Germany, students like Philippe Diserens, PhD, receive firsthand exposure to another country’s health system.

In the fall of 2014, the then doctoral student spent two months at MU, conducting research and interning with the Department of Health Management and Informatics. Under the guidance of Patricia Alafaireet, PhD, MHA, director of applied informatics, Diserens studied hospital strategic management and organizational culture while surveying American health care CEOs on hospital mergers and acquisitions.

Now, four-years later, the health care management consultant and economist has returned to Mizzou as a post-doctoral visiting scholar. Diserens plans to continue his research at MU again in 2019.

Why did he choose to return? As an academic health system, Diserens said MU provides a deep well of knowledge to further advance both his career and his research.

Philippe Diserens, PhD

“I’ve found that here at MU, it’s the best of both worlds — I am exposed to both the clinical and academic sides of medicine,” Diserens said. “On the clinical side, I’ve had very fruitful and inspiring meetings that have enriched my international health care expertise as I’ve witnessed the challenges and opportunities facing U.S. hospital managers and providers. On the academic side, the abundance of rich data, access to a health sciences library and the availability of research databases have really made MU a research paradise for me.”

Leaders at the Department of Health Management and Informatics feel that Diseren’s work will be a valuable resource to health care leaders.

“Dr. Diseren’s research, done at both the University of Missouri and University of Bayreuth, highlights the importance of organizational culture and the need for an acculturation strategy as an integral part in any successful hospital merger or acquisition,” Alafaireet said. “Health care leaders planning or pondering a merger between two organizations have a key resource in Dr. Diseren’s work.”

“The Department of Health Management and Informatics of the MU School of Medicine is happy for having provided a secure base for Dr. Diseren’s research,” said Eduardo Simoes, MD, MSc, MPH, chair and Dr. Stuart Wesbury Professor in Health Management and Informatics. “This research partnership was possible because of the fruitful collaboration going on for nearly a decade between HMI and the University of Bayreuth, Dr. Diseren’s alma mater.”

The MU School of Medicine has had a relationship with University of Bayreuth since the 1990s before formalizing the exchange program in 2008. One to two master’s students have participated in the program each year, and five doctoral students have taken part since 2008.

“As an ambassador of the partnership between the Department of Health Management and Informatics and the University of Bayreuth, I am very thankful for the great opportunities that I found here,” Diserens said. “Thanks to the caring and welcoming attitudes at MU, I truly feel like I’ve come home.”