JSOM Team Wins
North Texas 2012 ACHE Case Competition

Hernandez, Vinklarek, Thakkar and Fleming

In finding a cure for the ailing operations of a mobile clinic offering free asthma treatments to low-income children, a trio of Naveen Jindal School of Management students recently earned first place and $3,000 in an annual case-study competition focused on healthcare management.

Full-time MBA students Isaac Hernandez and Madison Vinklarek teamed with Veeraj Thakkar, an MS in Healthcare Management major, to win the third annual North Texas Case Competition, held by the American College of Healthcare Executives (ACHE) in mid-November.

The case-study “asthma van” was “generally inefficient,” Hernandez said. Beyond suggesting procedural improvements, contestants were prompted to propose new or modified metrics for assessing the van’s operational performance and demonstrating its social value in ways meaningful to current and potential donors.

“The judges said we presented the big picture well,” Hernandez said. “We presented clearly how the organization contributes to the community” by decreasing school absences due to asthma, by increasing parental involvement in their children’s treatment and by alleviating some system costs related to care.

Having completed three years of UT Southwestern Medical School, Hernandez took this academic year to pursue his MBA, because he said, he sees the need for “physician leaders” who can bridge the gap between medical and business worlds.

Besides the cash, the JSOM team earned reimbursement of their ACHE student membership fees. The North Texas ACHE chapter, which addresses the professional needs of medical-industry administrators and managers, has more than 1,300 members in Dallas-Fort Worth and 19 surrounding counties.

Last year, another JSOM team tied for first place in the competition.

“For the JSOM team to win this healthcare case competition two years in a row is a tribute to our student quality as well as the master’s program curriculum,” Dr. Forney W. Fleming, director of the Jindal School’s MS in Healthcare Management program, said. “Our students are being well prepared for future leadership roles in the healthcare community.”

Dr. Fleming advised both teams. The trio also got coaching help from John McCracken, director of JSOM’s Healthcare Management for Physicians program, and Kannan Ramanathan, a JSOM faculty member who teaches healthcare management courses.