Lecture to focus on health care in business

By Sarah Knight

An annual lecture series will strive to prove that health care is not only for doctors and nurses but should also be an important priority in the business world.

The Chellgren Lecture Series, hosted by the Gatton School of Business and Economics, will focus on the business world’s opportunity to expand and improve health plans and benefits, said Gordon Holbein, professor in the Gatton school.

Watts Wacker, founder of First Matter, a think tank based in Connecticut, will be heading a panel discussion focusing on the future of health care Friday at 1:30 and 4:30 p.m. in room 148 of the Gatton college.

The free discussion, titled “The Business of Life: Opportunities for Health Care,” will focus on how health care can be expanded and improved in the business world, Wacker said.

“In this post-technology era, young adults are able to stay better prepared than their parents were and they should take advantage of the opportunities presented,” said Wacker, also a futurist, someone who predicts future trends based on current tendencies.

Wacker has also been a lecturer, author, political commentator and social activist.

“He’ll really get you thinking and get you excited about the future,” said Holbein, who has worked closely with Wacker in the past.

The panel will provide valuable information for more than students, Holbein said.

“It is important for faculty and students because it will help with the university’s goal of being a top-20 institution as well as the Gatton school’s goal of being a top-20 business school,” Holbein said. “We must make a difference not only in the Commonwealth, but also in the world.”

Alongside Wacker will be UK alumni Tom Liston, senior vice president of strategy and corporate development at Humana, Sam Hazen, president of Western Group, and Scott Roeth, most recently of 1-800-DOCTORS, a hospital networking company.

The panelists’ success in business and progressive thinking as well as their positive attitude toward the future makes them perfect people to talk about the future of health care, Holbein said.

“We’re proud of them but we’re also grateful for their contributions to both the Gatton school and the university,” Holbein said. “They’re forward thinkers; they look at the future in positive ways.”

It is important to stay informed of the possibilities within health care to ensure the prevalence of opportunities, said Michele Sparks, director of communications for the dean of the Gatton business school.

“This is especially important for business students since they’ll be dealing with health care everyday in their careers,” Sparks said.