MBA student, assistant dean participate in South American health care trade mission

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Two representatives from the Lipscomb University College of Business recently participated in an international health care trade mission to Santiago, Chile, and Buenos Aires, Argentina, held in November.
Lipscomb University PMBA student Sarah Cook was selected by the Nashville Health Care Council to receive the only Leadership Health Care scholarship to attend its ninth international health care trade mission. In addition, John Lowry, Lipscomb’s assistant dean of executive education, was also invited on the trip and was featured in blog postings in Nashville during the week-long trip.
(l to r) PMBA student Sarah Cook, Chilean Ambassador Alejandro Wolff, Assistant Dean John Lowry
(l to r) Lowry and fellow SMU alumni John Scannapieco and Jeff Jones were the subject of a Nashville Post blog on the trip.
(l to r) Nicholas Toth, general manager of Latin America for Healthways stands with Cook in Santiago, Chile.
Led by Jack O. Bovender Jr., HCA retired chairman and CEO, the executive-level mission is the first of its kind to South America for the Council and Nashville Area Chamber of Commerce. Unique to Nashville and one of only a few such initiatives nationwide, this and past missions bring together a diverse group of key health care leaders to promote economic development for Nashville’s health care industry and open the city to global markets.
Cook and Lowry were among a group of influential Nashville health care leaders who:
  • Met with U.S. Embassy leaders and Chilean and Argentine government dignitaries;
  • Established high-level contacts among private industry leaders, entrepreneurs, professional service organizations and industry associations;
  • Gained expertise about what U.S. companies are already doing in South America; and
  • Learned from leading experts about business development opportunities in the broader South American region.
The purpose of the mission is to make high-level connections with key government and industry leaders in Chile and Argentina, learn first-hand about the delivery of health care in those countries, further position Nashville as an industry capital and set the stage for future business and educational collaborations.
Cook, director of account management at Healthways in Franklin, Tenn., applied for and was selected for the only Leadership Health Care scholarship to attend the mission. Leadership Health Care is an initiative of the Nashville Health Care Council to cultivate emerging health care leaders.
At Healthways, a leading provider of health and well-being solutions, Cook supports client relationships by helping to design and implement disease management and chiropractic strategies for health plans and their customers. She is building on her bachelor’s degree from MTSU and her dietetics professional internship at Vanderbilt University with a Professional Master of Business (PMBA) Degree from Lipscomb.
Healthways has established an international unit to manage contracts in Germany, Brazil and Australia, so participation on the latest Health Care Council mission was valuable for the company. Cook was one of two Healthways representatives who attended.
The chance to interact with some of Nashville’s top health care leaders and to hear them discuss issues with similar executive-level leaders in South America was the opportunity of a lifetime, Cook said.
“I think there is something very valuable in seeing the world in a bigger perspective,” Cook said. “In September I went with the (Lipscomb) PMBA group on their study abroad trip in England, and I was struck with how little we know in America about other cultures and nations versus how much they know about us.”
Her international business course she completed at Lipscomb also came in handy on the trip, she said.
As Chile and Argentina are just starting to experience some of the health problems of a fully-developed nation -- such as obesity, smoking and low levels of exercise -- it was exciting to think about how she and her colleagues could make a real impact. “We have a real opportunity to help the South American health care community avoid some of the consequences of these unhealthy behaviors and consequences that America has been dealing with for some time,” Cook said.
Lowry, who is leading Lipscomb’s effort to build out a portfolio of programs in the health care industry and in its role as education partner for the new Nashville Medical Trade Center, was excited to participate on the trip to see how international relationships could enhance Lipscomb’s programs and those of its partners.
“Lipscomb wants to be a leading global education provider leveraging the Nashville health care industry in anticipation of its work in the Nashville Medical Trade Center, which is targeting an international market,” Lowry said in a Nashville Health Care Council blog posting written for the NashvillePost. “I was able to speak with hospital administrators about training for nurses and administrators.”
He also spoke with the Minister of Health for Chile about strategies for addressing the nursing shortage and health care management training gap in Chile
Lowry was highlighted in a Nov. 18 blog posting at the Nashville Post about three alumni of Southern Methodist University's Dedman School of Law participating in the trade mission. Click here to see the NashvillePost blog on the trip.
The Nashville Council and Chamber have hosted more than 200 U.S. health care leaders representing nearly 75 companies on such missions. The trips have led to ongoing partnerships overseas and created business opportunities for delegates.
Previous missions include Germany, the United Kingdom, France, Spain, Belgium, Italy, Hungary, the Czech Republic, Poland, Austria, and a virtual trade mission to India. The Council and Chamber also participated in the State of Tennessee’s 2007 and 2009 missions to China.