A former health care executive, Dr. David R. Williams has taught at Appalachian since 2003. He was vice president of strategy for a large health system in Iowa and CEO of a start-up joint venture in Georgia.
What excites you or otherwise inspires you about the field of health care management?
Health care management is a dynamic field that allows one to positively affect the health of a population or region. It is a challenging field where one can specialize in an area, such as finance or human resources, or be a generalist and utilize all the knowledge and skills within various management disciplines. As a health care manager, one gets to work with and for all types of people both within an organization and the community being served. It is also a field where one can “do well, by doing good.”
Why did you choose to come to Appalachian to teach?
Appalachian has one of the oldest undergraduate health care management programs in the country, being founded in 1972 and continuously certified since 1984. It is well known and well respected by academia and practitioners alike.
What is your research specialty and how does it fit into and/or strengthen your teaching?
My research interests are related to entrepreneurship and strategic management as applied to health care organizations. I’m interested in how individuals and organizations use, combine or create resources to the benefit of their organization, region or community-at-large. As an ex-health care executive, studying various theories and principles helps me to understand the bigger picture and how things relate (not to mention what works and what does not), which I then communicate to my students.
What do you hope students take away from the classes you teach?
Our program seeks to give the students the basic knowledge and skill sets to be a health care manager. Our goal is to get them to understand the fundamentals of the U.S. health system, the relationships among the various constituencies, and to teach them how to begin to think like health care managers. By example, it’s also to get them to start or continue to be lifelong learners – all the health care managers that I know continue to seek to learn and improve their skill sets.
Why should a student interested in health care management choose Appalachian?
We are very much a “theory-to-practice” program. All of our full-time teaching faculty have Ph.D.s in their respective disciplines. Additionally, the majority of the faculty have been senior executives in health care organizations. We bring both the theory and its practical application to every class. All of my colleagues are in it for the program, our students and their communities. Through internships, practicums and other initiatives, students have the opportunity to work closely with health care managers.