Where does the art of patient care intersect with the business of medicine? How can design thinking help you navigate and innovate through uncertainty? To survive and thrive in the complex and chaotic world of health care, you need new models and mindsets. The Innovative Health Care Leader: From Design Thinking to Personal Leadership delivers. It’s a groundbreaking academic partnership between the Graduate School of Business (GSB) and the School of Medicine.

Price subject to change. Program tuition includes private accommodations, all meals, and course materials.


Innovation. Leadership. Resilience. Today’s successful health care leaders require all three. In this extraordinary one-week program, you’ll learn how design thinking and personal leadership skills can help you develop innovative solutions to the specific challenges facing health care leaders—from improving patient care and prioritizing physician wellness to developing negotiation skills and anticipating health care reform.

For the first time ever, world-class faculty from both the GSB and Stanford Medicine will share their cutting-edge research and strategic insights to create a rigorous, relevant, and experiential curriculum. Find creative solutions to health care challenges with hands-on design thinking sessions. Develop personal leadership skills that inspire innovation in your team and across your organization. Learn about the key challenges facing health care organizations—from the ethical use of big data and the patient-physician relationship to measuring clinical outcomes. With guest speakers, case studies, and a professional network of thought leaders, The Innovative Health Care Leader will give you the tools, skills, and mindset to tackle uncertainty and drive change.

Faculty Directors
Other Faculty
Sarah A. Soule

Sarah A. Soule is the Morgridge Professor of Organizational Behavior at Stanford Graduate School of Business and Professor of Sociology (by courtesy), School of Humanities and Sciences. She has taught courses with the Stanford d.school and is also Faculty Director for the Executive Program on Social Entrepreneurship.

Abraham Verghese

Abraham Verghese, MD, MACP, is the Linda R. Meier and Joan F. Lane Provostial Professor, and Vice Chair for the Theory and Practice of Medicine at the School of Medicine at Stanford University. He is also a best-selling author and a physician with an international reputation for his focus on attentiveness to the patient in an era where technology often overwhelms the human side of medicine. Dr. Verghese leads The Program in Bedside Medicine and the Stanford Medicine 25 online efforts, which train faculty around the world in becoming teachers and champions of basic bedside diagnostic skills so as to practice cost-effective medicine, and satisfy a time-honored ritual that is fulfilling to patients as well as physicians. In addition, Dr. Verghese is the founder of a soon-to-be-launched center at Stanford that will focus on scholarship and research to better understand the art and science of the human connection in medicine.

Associate Professor of Medicine (Cardiovascular), of Genetics and, by courtesy, of Pathology at the Stanford University Medical Center

Thomas M. Siebel Professor of Business Leadership, Strategy, and Organizations; Affiliated Faculty, Woods Institute for the Environment at Stanford; Codirector of the Executive Program in Strategy and Organization

C. F. Rehnborg Professor in Disease Prevention in the School of Medicine and Professor of Health Research and Policy (Epidemiology) and, by courtesy, of Statistics

Professor of Medicine at Stanford and directs the Stanford Clinical Excellence Research Center

The Carl and Elizabeth Naumann Professorship for the Dean of the School of Medicine, Professor of Otolaryngology—Head & Neck Surgery and, by courtesy, of Neurobiology and Bioengineering

Adams Distinguished Professor of Management; Director of the Managing Teams for Innovation and Success Executive Program; Director of the Influence and Negotiation Strategies Executive Program; Codirector of the Executive Program for Women Leaders

Henry J. Kaiser, Jr. Professor, Senior Fellow at the Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies and Professor, by courtesy, of Health Research and Policy and of Management Science and Engineering

Atholl McBean Professor of Organizational Behavior and Human Resources; Professor of Sociology (by courtesy), School of Humanities and Sciences; Academic Director, Stanford Innovation and Entrepreneurship Certificate; Director of the Managing Talent for Strategic Advantage Executive Program; Codirector of the Customer-Focused Innovation Executive Program

Professor of Pediatrics (Rheumatology) at the Lucile Salter Packard Children's Hospital

Video Introduction
The Innovative Health Care Leader
"How do you still deliver the sense of 'care' in caring while delivering cutting-edge science?"
– Abraham Verghese

Join Faculty Directors Abraham Verghese and Sarah Soule as they discuss this groundbreaking new program from Stanford GSB and Stanford School of Medicine.

The Innovative Health Care Leader program will help you:

  • Discover how your personal leadership style impacts those around you
  • Use the design thinking process to drive innovation
  • Develop deeper insights into the needs of patients, physicians, and other key stakeholders
  • Build a strong network of peers with whom you can share ideas and experiences
  • Develop a just-try-it mentality through rapid prototyping and iteration
  • Learn how to embrace diversity of opinion using a common process for design
  • Develop strategies for using personal power to build strong mutual-influence relationships within your organization


Learn design thinking—a human-centered, prototype-driven process for innovation that can be applied to products, services, and even business and organizational design. At Stanford, we believe that innovation is necessary in every aspect of healthcare leadership, and that it can be taught. These sessions will give you a strong understanding of the key tenets of design thinking, and how to execute them within your organization. You’ll start by working with a partner in hands-on exercises to experience how the design process works. Then, you’ll spend the rest of the day in small design teams working on a healthcare industry design challenge. Design thinking by its very nature is experiential, so please come with an open mind, comfortable attire, and make sure you’re well rested!

Technology is critical to quality and safety in the delivery of health care; it can, however, inadvertently create barriers between the patient and the health care team. The focus on efficiency can also have unanticipated impact on social rituals which are important to the well-being of both the provider and patient. A thoughtful physical exam performed by an effective listener not only results in a far better experience for the patient, it can be an important buffer against medical error and delayed diagnosis. In this session with Abraham Verghese, MD, MACP, from Stanford School of Medicine, we will discuss the human experience in medicine using The Institute of Medicine’s 2015 report, “Improving Diagnosis in Health Care” and Stanford studies to guide the discussion.

Health Care costs in the United States are increasing unsustainably and efforts to control expenditures are inevitable and essential. But controlling costs is only part of the equation. We must also focus on the value of health care interventions and whether the health benefits justify the costs. High-cost interventions may provide good value because they are highly beneficial; conversely, low-cost interventions may have little or no value if they provide little benefit. In this session with Douglas K. Owens, MD, MS, from Stanford School of Medicine, you’ll explore the concepts needed to assess the true value of health care interventions.

Health care spending growth in excess of national income growth presents a profound challenge for our society. Payers, policy makers, and providers all agree that we must lower the rate at which health care costs are increasing without negatively impacting clinical outcomes. In this session with Arnie Milstein, MD, MPH, from Stanford School of Medicine, we will explore the societal, political, and financial pressures that are driving the need for change and discuss innovative health care delivery models that improve health and patient experience of care.

Efforts to control health care expenditures should focus not on the costs or benefits alone but rather on the value of health care interventions. High-cost interventions may provide good value because they are highly beneficial; conversely, low-cost interventions may have little or no value if they provide little benefit. This session with Douglas K. Owens, MD, MS, from Stanford School of Medicine will introduce the concepts and frameworks needed to understand the value of health care interventions and assess impact.

Professor Huggy Rao devoted seven years to studying how the best leaders and teams spread constructive beliefs, behaviors, and practices from those who have them to those who need them. In this session, Huggy will reveal how the best leaders and teams develop, spread, and instill the right mindsets in their people and will unpack principles that help to cascade excellence throughout an organization. These insights are based on diverse case studies, hundreds of interviews with scaling veterans, and rigorous academic studies on organizations including Johns Hopkins Hospital, Wyeth Pharmaceuticals Facebook, Google, Pixar, and more.

The physician’s role is central to the effective delivery of health care, from the impact of the individual physician-patient relationship, to enabling the necessary advancement to our systems of care through clinical leadership, research, and education. However, shifting consumer expectations, and tectonic changes in health care finance and delivery systems have resulted in a steady increase in physician dissatisfaction and burn-out, up to 50% of physicians in some areas. This session with Christy Sandborg, M.D., Professor of Pediatrics (Rheumatology) at the Lucile Salter Packard Children's Hospital will cover the ways in which physician engagement improves health care delivery and innovation and describes the cost of physician burn-out to patient safety, outcomes, and satisfaction. We will then discuss approaches to increasing physicians’ engagement and wellness by returning the intrinsic motivation and joy to the practice of medicine and how this can be a powerful driver of the future success of health care enterprises.

Who Should Attend?

The Innovative Health Care Leader: From Design Thinking to Personal Leadership is ideal for executives who want to drive innovation in their health care organizations. It's specifically designed for:

  • Senior-level executives and policy makers with at least 10 years of experience—MDs and non-MDs—from medical schools, HMOs, PPOs, hospitals, and foundations
  • Titles may include hospital CEO, COO, and CFO; Academic Deans, Senior VPs, Department Chairs, and Center Directors
The Innovative Health Care Leader is tremendously exciting because this is one of the few schools where the departments of medicine, engineering, law, and business are on the same campus. In bringing people together to make this program, we’re really capturing a synergy that is everything that Stanford’s about.
Abraham Verghese
Faculty Codirector
A program like this is important because of the ever-changing nature of health care, both in the United States and abroad. Because of these changes, we need managers—health care leaders—who can manage this change effectively and do so with the skills that we will impart in this program: personal leadership, design thinking, coaching, feedback, and negotiation.
Sarah Soule
Faculty Codirector
This intersection of the best minds in medicine and the best minds in business will offer health care leaders tools for leadership and innovation to enable them to manage change effectively in this ever-changing health care environment.
Sarah Soule
Faculty Codirector


Stanford University
The Stanford campus is world renowned for its natural beauty, Spanish mission-style architecture, and temperate climate. With more than 8,180 acres (3,310 hectares), Stanford's campus ranks as one of the largest in the United States. Participants in Stanford's Executive Programs become part of a quintessential university setting, residing together, walking or biking to classes, and enjoying access to Stanford University facilities.
The Knight Management Center
Opened in spring 2011, the Knight Management Center has transformed the Stanford Graduate School of Business into a vibrant and unified indoor-outdoor, living and learning community. Participants will take classes at this new state-of-the-art campus, which features tiered classrooms with extensive floor-to-ceiling glass, the latest in audiovisual technology, numerous breakout and study rooms, outdoor seating areas to encourage informal discussion, and an open collaboration lab that employs hands-on and design thinking techniques.
Schwab Residential Center
Designed by renowned Mexican architect, Ricardo Legorreta, the Schwab Residential Center gives residents ample privacy while promoting collegial interaction through shared lounges, outdoor meeting areas, a library, and an exercise room.


Donna Obeid
Associate Director, Programs and Marketing
Phone: +1.650.497.5662
Email: donnao@stanford.edu

The Stanford Difference

The Place: Immerse yourself in innovation.
The Experience: Transform your thinking, your career, your company.
The Approach: Challenge yourself with research-based learning and real-world experience.