HCDA Students Get First-Hand Access to Industry Leaders

The USC School of Pharmacy’s Healthcare Decision Analysis (HCDA) program, founded in 2014, is known for bringing a wide variety of high-profile business leaders to campus to speak to students.

The curriculum’s focus on analyzing complex, real-world issues prepares graduates to hit the ground running in business careers in healthcare, biopharmaceuticals, medical devices and diagnostics, and health insurance. Students also benefit from the quality and diversity of lecturers and fellow classmates. On any given day, the classroom consists of an interdisciplinary group of professionals representing a cross section of the industry, from private payers to pharmaceutical and medical device manufacturers.

This program fills an unmet global demand for professionals who are able to navigate at the intersection of health economics, policy and business intelligence to advance therapeutic value, access and reimbursement, notes Grant Lawless, RPh, MD, director of the program.

“The master of science program in Healthcare Decision Analysis uniquely offers our students both technical and problem solving expertise, integrated into the practical applications required to get that first great job in the biopharmaceutical industry,” Lawless says. “HCDA accomplishes this through developing each student’s analytical and leadership skills, incorporating classroom-based team projects and providing great networking opportunities with world-class industry speakers. Our program is specifically designed to place each graduate at the front of the line for tomorrow’s best careers.”

Neil Bankston, founder and managing director of NBCI, gives a presentation on economic value. (Photo by Eric Hensman)

Guest speakers

Name Title Company
Bernie Tobin President Crescendo Bioscience
Christine Ritzman Director Amgen
Danielle Zammitt Consultant Former: Novartis
Elan Rubinstein Principal Elan Rubinstein Associates
Gina Ewy Partner Jupiter Life Science Consulting
Glenn Garry Chief Marketing Officer Amgen
Jason Gomberg Actuary Milliman
Joe Greenberg Vice President Anthem Blue Cross
Matthew Gitlin Managing Director BluePath Solutions
Neil Bankston Founder/Managing Director NBCI, LLC
Neil Palmer President and Principal PDCI, LLC
Thanh-Nghia Nguyen Director Pfizer
Sarica Cohen Medical Science Liaison Sanofi Genzyme
Sean Robbins Managing Partner LatticePoint
Steve Avey Vice President MedImpact
Thomas Leary Partner Manatt
Tom Rice Vice President Amgen
Vincent Willey Vice President HealthCore

Impactful results

“As an entrepreneur, I started my own healthcare consultancy based in China that bridges American hospitals with Chinese natives who are seeking critical/specialized care not available in mainland China. As such, I wanted to learn everything about healthcare access and delivery in the U.S. as there are many differences between the States and my home country. Getting to connect with the HCDA guest speakers is one of the most valuable things about the program—by getting real-world insights from industry CEOs and VPs, I’ve been able to better serve my clientele.”

Yuefeng Zhang, student (MS in Health Care Decision Analysis ’19)

“When I was a first-year USC PharmD student, I couldn’t believe my luck that there was a pharma industry-focused graduate program as unique and timely as HCDA—and that it was in the School of Pharmacy’s own backyard! I wanted to learn all the intricate ins and outs of the business side of the healthcare industry. Because of the HCDA program and its wide array of guest lecturers all coming from high-level executive positions in biotech, pharma, managed, medical devices and diagnostics, I quickly discovered that there’s so much more I can do with a PharmD, and when coupled with the MS in HCDA, I would get to where I wanted to be FAST.

Jonathan Sedaghat, manager in value and access at Amgen (PharmD ’18/MS in Health Care Decision Analysis ’18)

About the Healthcare Decision Analysis program

USC’s Master of Science in Healthcare Decision Analysis (HCDA) is a 33-unit interdisciplinary graduate program that directly prepares students for successful business careers in value-based healthcare, global market access and reimbursement, product pricing, insurance operations and design and competitive business intelligence. For more information about the program, visit hcda.usc.edu.