Alan Wikler

Adjunct Associate Professor of Health Policy & Management

Alan Wikler is an Adjunct Associate Professor of Health Policy and Management at NYU’s Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of Public Service, and a Clinical Instructor in the Department of Psychiatry at the NYU School of Medicine. Dr. Wikler has been on the staff of the Veterans Administration’s New York Harbor Healthcare System (VA NYHHS, formerly the New York VA Medical Center) for over 25 years and currently directs the facility’s Lean Six Sigma and Operational Excellence performance improvement program, and holds a Black Belt as a Lean Six Sigma coach and facilitator. He is responsible for identifying strategically-aligned performance improvement, patient safety, and operational efficiency projects, training staff, and overseeing all such projects at the Medical Center.

Before starting up the Lean Six Sigma program, Dr. Wikler was the Deputy Performance Improvement Manager at the VA NYHHS for eleven years, responsible for a wide range of quality, patient safety, utilization management and risk management activities, drawing on his rich knowledge of statistical analysis, behavior change, and scientific methodology to contribute to meeting the healthcare system’s strategic objectives. Much of his activity involved training Nurses, supervisors, new employees, and other front line staff in facility performance goals, performance measurement and methodology. Previous to his work in the Office of the Director, Dr. Wikler worked in the Department of Psychiatry where he created and directed the Alcohol, Drugs, and Psychiatric Treatment (ADAPT) program, the first treatment program for seriously mentally ill Veterans with comorbid substance use disorders at the NY VA Medical center.

Previous to his work at the VA, Dr. Wikler worked in a wide variety of setting and roles, including developing research protocols in psychopharmacology and diagnostic interviewing at the NYU School of Medicine and the Psychiatric Institute of Columbia University/Mount Sinai Hospital, providing psychotherapy in clinics, hospitals and private practice, clinical supervision of Clinical Psychologists at Bellevue Hospital, and teaching at the New School for Social Research in Manhattan.

Dr. Wikler earned a B.A. at NYU’s Washington Square College, an M.A. in Social Psychology at NYU’s Graduate School of Psychology, and an M.A. Clinical Psychology at Yeshiva University’s Ferkauf Graduate School of Psychology. He completed his Clinical Internship at the NYU-Bellevue Clinical Psychology Internship Program.

Only open to Executive MPA students. 

This course is designed to explore the complex organizational mechanisms that need to be in place for the delivery of world-class service. While many organizations understand the importance of service, the ability to consistently deliver on this service often eludes them. This is especially true in healthcare organizations.  Customer service is the end product, the outcome of a well-oiled machine that has the infrastructure, the staff, and the will to deliver on that service. It requires exquisite synergy among key organizational components: human resources - leveraging recruitment, selection, training, empowerment, coaching, recognition staff for service delivery; organization and systems design - implementation of an organizational structure that facilitates service delivery using customer-focused processes and systems; and the deliberate creation of a service culture that permeates all segments of the organization regardless of role, rank, or function in the organization.

This course will cover a broad range of service delivery topics including: defining service excellence, aligning core organizational and human resource systems for service delivery, seeing service from the customer’s perspective, improving systems and service, service failure and recovery, and benchmarking best practices in world class service organizations.

In addition to providing you with an understanding of current issues in service excellence, a second objective of this course is to develop your skills in applying these concepts. To do this, business cases, classroom exercises and assignments will provide individuals and groups an opportunity to practice analyzing and solving actual service problems. It is my intention that you leave the course with an expanded toolkit that can be applied to your work contexts as well as being better informed about organizational dynamics that impact customer service.

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This course encourages students to think creatively about what it means for a healthcare organization to make quality the highest priority. We will explore the current forces driving the push toward quality outcomes and accountability at all levels and settings of healthcare, while focusing on the philosophy of continuous improvement through team work and statistical thinking. Students will use structural tools for analysis, decision making and performance measurement.

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