Gary Gaumer Shares his International Health Care Policy Work
Dr. Gary Gaumer, Associate Professor in the School of Management (SOM), has always had an interest in health policy and the performance of health systems. Before coming to Simmons 10 years ago, Gaumer worked for Abt Associates, a think tank that conducts studies and pilot projects to improve quality of life issues around the world. There, he led a practice focused on improving domestic health policy. Since coming to Simmons, his research focus has evolved to challenges in international health care policy, particularly in poor countries.
One of Gaumer's current areas of research is the cost of projects that aim to prevent unwanted pregnancies in poor countries. As a consultant for a local non-profit that provides reproductive health services, his role is to develop a program of internal research aiming to improve project performance. He calculates the cost and benefits of each completed project, and analyzes the data to determine what factors drive some projects to be more successful than others. The goal is to help the client integrate this approach into operations: “I’m helping them try to develop an internal quality improvement process.”
Gaumer also has extensive experience as a consultant to improve the health systems in poor countries. He is now working with the government in Kosovo, which is trying to migrate their government-run healthcare system into a modern system found in more developed countries. He explained that the situation in Kosovo was best described by a cab driver who told him that “because of poor quality he took his wife and kids to Macedonia for private healthcare, 60 miles away, and pays for it out of pocket, rather than use the free care in Kosovo.” He has been working on a designing and delivering a training program for government officials to help them implement new health reform laws: “to help officials get a perspective on what they need to be doing, and how similar things work in other countries,” and ensure they have the knowledge, systems, and management skills to move forward with reforms.
Gaumer uses his research in his Health Care MBA classes at the SOM, “Most of the students aspire to be managers in healthcare, and there are lots of lessons about that in my work with Kosovo.”