New Faculty Member Brings Executive-Level Experience in Health Systems Administration

MARCH 13, 2015 – The newly recruited director of experiential learning and professional development in the Department of Health Systems Administration at the School of Nursing & Health Studies brings executive-level experience in health systems management and population health improvement.

Before coming to Georgetown this winter, Christopher King, PhD, FACHE, served for several years as the first assistant vice president of community health for MedStar Health, a not-for-profit health system comprised of 10 hospitals. His accomplishments included planning, launching, and managing a new corporate function designed to apply more rigor and evidence in community health planning, implementation, and evaluation.

“One of my interests is bridging the gap between the health care and the public health sectors,” says King. “Social determinants of health are strongly correlated with health status, and managing the care of populations requires us to think outside the walls of our institutions. We must consider how to more formally integrate social factors in how systems of care are organized and delivered.  This shift in thinking is aligned with cura personalis, and it is critical for improving the health of the nation.”

Experiential Learning

In his new role at Georgetown, King says he is excited to use his experience as a health administrator to open up doors for students within the department’s master’s program.

“My aspiration is to prepare our health systems administration students for the future and to be dynamic leaders who can contribute to a change in how health care is delivered in this country,” he says. “We’re in an environment that is always changing. It’s important for us to instill a mindset that embraces change and continuous quality improvement. There’s no place for complacency.”

King, who will also teach courses on human resources, organizational leadership, and strategic planning, will facilitate the students’ experiential learning requirements, such as the administrative residency and executive mentorship.

“My role will ensure students have meaningful opportunities outside of the classroom to engage with organizations from a leadership and health administration perspective,” he says.

Health Equity

Additionally, King plans to continue his research, which focuses improving health outcomes by institutionalizing equitable systems of care – a passion that aligns well with his previous leadership roles at MedStar and Greater Baden Medical Services, a federally qualified health center in southern Maryland that provides primary care and support services for low-income populations.

“For my dissertation, I examined racial and ethnic differences in access to care for cancer survivors,” says King, who received his PhD at the University of Maryland and is now a fellow of the American College of Healthcare Executives and a senior fellow for the Health Research & Educational Trust.

King’s work has been published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine and the American Journal of Medical Quality.

Future Leaders

King says he is excited by the opportunity to educate students in a changing health care environment prompted by passage of the Affordable Care Act – which supports population health, prevention, and wellness.

“It’s important to envision what the world will look like moving forward, and our students must understand where we’ve been, where we are, and the important role they can playing in shaping the future,” King says. “We have some of the brightest students I’ve ever met. To contribute to their education is so meaningful and fulfilling.”

By Bill Cessato