Kovner-Behrman Health Forum Focuses on Coordination of Cancer Care

Kovner-Behrman Health Forum Focuses on Coordination of Cancer Care

Established by NYU Wagner Professor Anthony Kovner in 1996, the annual Kovner-Behrman Health Forum focused on “Coordination of Cancer Care: The Patient Perspective” on April 20, with a discussion featuring Associate Professor Ingrid M. Nembhard of the School of Public Health and the School of Public Management at Yale and Ethan Basch, an oncologist and Director of Cancer Outcomes Research at the University of North Carolina.

Sherry Glied, Dean of NYU Wagner, offered words of welcome, while Professor Kovner set the tone with emotional remarks. Speaking to more than 100 attendees, he recalled his parents’ and brother’s struggle with cancer, and emphasized the life-and-death importance of the evening’s topic for so many, from the standpoint of cancer patients and their loved ones in particular.

The featured guests illuminated the challenging, evolving world of coordinated care in cancer treatment, citing growing interest among healthcare organizations and medical providers in new approaches.

They described pioneering innovations, such as: nurse navigators who help individuals with cancer to coordinate their  treatment; computer tablets for gathering and  sharing knowledge about a patient's diagnosis  and progress across all of his or her caretakers;  performance-based bonus payments for hospitals  that streamline costs through intensive care  coordination and management; and relational  skills building exercises to foster a greater degree  of mutual respect and communication between the patient and providers.

Many of these approaches still require additional study and development, while others are already in use, though not uniformly. The challenge will be to demonstrate their value and bring the most promising ones to scale. The 19th annual Kovner-Behrman Health Forum, in focusing on the issue of care coordination, marked an important step in this direction.

“The current model of care delivery does not have the patient at its center,” lamented Dr. Basch. But he, and Professor Nembhard, both described a rising level of interest in care coordination, notable instances of success around the country, and even, as Basch put it, a nascent “cultural change to bring the patient to the center of care.”

Kristof responds! NYT columnist answers critique from Wagner's own Dave Algoso

Kristof responds! NYT columnist answers critique from Wagner's own Dave Algoso

On Friday, 10/29, Nicholas Kristof responded to some critiques of his column in last Sunday's New York Times Magazine, including one penned by Wagner student Dave Algoso for Foreign Policy. Kristof writes, "My Sunday magazine piece a week ago on young Americans engaging in do-it-yourself foreign aid projects sparked a good bit of reaction, including some thoughtful criticisms. You can read the comments below the previous blog post to get a flavor. Let me try to address some of the complaints."

Read the rest of his response

Leading Indian banker describes the blueprint for a banking revolution in rural India

Leading Indian banker describes the blueprint for a banking revolution in rural India

The NYU Microfinance Initiative and the Financial Access Initiative (FAI) directed by NYU Wagner Professor Jonathan Morduch co-sponsored a rare opportunity for New York University graduate students and representatives from a range of Wall Street institutions to hear first-hand about the introduction of financial services in rural India from Nachiket Mor, a leading Indian banker who is Chairman of the IMFR Trust and President of the  ICICI Foundation. Among those attending the event were representatives from such financial institutions as Standard & Poor's and Pro Mujer, and members of NYU Stern's Social Enterprise Association, Emerging Markets Association, and South Asian Business Association.

Mor, who as former Depurty Managing Director of ICICI helped lead the largest private bank and second largest bank in India, was introduced by Thomas Cooley, Dean of NYU Stern, and Professor Morduch, Managing Director of the FAI and Professor of Public Policy and Economics at the Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of Public Service at NYU.  

In his presentation, Mor spoke of how the IFMR Trust, a for-profit holding company, is bringing financial services that are "continuous, reliable, flexible and convenient" to some of the poorest districts in India, aiming to build a 300-bank infrastructure.  That ideal comes from a vision for microfinance in India that Professor Morduch has co-published, in part inspiring Mor's work in this area.

The goal, Mor explained, is to offer 14 financial products, including ATMs, while paying the highest interest rate on savings and offering the lowest rate on loans.  (The interest rate on savings of 9% is three times higher than the going rate.) The first bank opened June 1, 2008 in  Tanjore, with 15 more planned.

Mor is using the US banking system as a model, but watching the sub-prime melt-down closely for lessons learned.  In particular, he is paying attention to transparency and who holds the risk of the loan originator.  He promises that the banks will stay in markets that are entered. By providing access to financial services where no alternative exists, Mor expects to markedly change lives - of those who work in the banking system as well as those who use its services.

Following his visit to NYU Stern, Nachiket Mor returned with Jonathan Morduch to the Wagner School, home of the Financial Access Initiative. He met there with Professor  Morduch and senior FAI staff members Caitlin Weaver and  Aparna Dalal about collaborative projects. In August, Weaver and Dalal met with Mor and his staff in India. Weaver visited Mor's new project in Tanjore. 


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