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Healthcare Management gains importance with each passing day – a conversation with Dr. Arif Raza of Goa Institute of Management

Prior to joining Goa Institute of Management as Assistant Professor, Healthcare Management, Dr. Arif Raza spent 10 years in the HCM industry. From a management trainee to managing a national program at state level, his professional journey is extraordinarily interesting!

During 2008-2011, Dr. Raza and a team of 12 professionals spent sleepless nights trying to improve medical facilities in government hospitals in Gujarat to make them at par with the best healthcare facilities in the country. One of them, the district hospital of Gandhinagar, eventually got NABH accreditation, the most coveted recognition for a hospital in India. ‘In our country public hospitals convey a very poor image in the minds of people. However, the condition of hospitals that serve the healthcare needs of poor must be improved,' says Dr. Raza. 

With the success of quality improvement projects in Gujarat, he took up the challenge of improving healthcare in other parts of the country. In 2011, he joined the state government of Chhattisgarh and worked to establish various ‘Public Private Partnership' projects in healthcare. The intention was to make medical care available to the poor living in urban areas. He eventually managed an entire ‘Urban Health' program and was instrumental in establishing various healthcare facilities supported by the state government for people living in city slums across Chhattisgarh. Things weren't easy. With a huge section of urban poor without access to basic medicines and healthcare facilities, a lot had to be done from scratch. Then there was always the hurdle of getting papers processed and approved within a government setup. However, working tirelessly, Dr. Raza and team were able to set up significant infrastructure and run PPP projects. Dr. Raza says, ‘It was extremely satisfying to realize that, in howsoever small a manner, I could contribute towards the progress of my country.'

Dr. Raza joined the field of NABH accreditation after qualifying in the NABH assessor certificate program. Always passionate about quality and patient safety, he started helping hospitals in implementing best practices in healthcare. He has provided consultancy to close to 20 hospitals so far - establishments that have benefitted from his crisp understanding of the subject and the passion with which he sensitizes healthcare professionals towards healthcare quality. Based on his experience and knowledge, Dr. Raza wrote a book on ‘Accreditation of Healthcare Organization', which has now become an important reference source for many hospitals trying to improve their services. He has been instrumental in organizing several MDPs that hugely benefited professionals. The on-field experience coupled with years of extensive research helped him gain deep insights into the industry. He says, ‘Healthcare in India faces many challenges and a large section of the country's population is still deprived of basic services. But it has also undergone unparalleled changes in recent years and there are sincere efforts from all stakeholders to make things better.'

After witnessing all kinds of challenges in the healthcare domain and realizing the acute shortage of quality healthcare management professionals in India, he moved to Goa Institute of Management to teach students and enable them to take up challenging roles within this sector.

After M.Phil., Dr. Raza joined Ph.D. in Healthcare Management. He now teaches courses related to hospitals, quality, and patient safety to students of healthcare management. Alongside, he continues to conduct MDPs and take up consulting work for the healthcare industry. According to Dr. Raza, the healthcare management program at GIM is one such serious effort to prepare well-trained professionals to take on important roles and make a difference. At the institute, students with understanding of the healthcare sector and its challenges apply management concepts to offer modern solutions. ‘The highlight of the program is that students get practical exposure to how management concepts are applied in the healthcare sector. After completing the program, they can take up leading roles in the industry and have the satisfaction of knowing that their decisions can positively impact many people in the country.'

While greater good is a powerful motivation, Dr. Raza adds that GIM-HCM graduates go on to have rewarding individual careers as well. With large institutional and foreign investments coming in, the industry is growing and offering huge scope for managers in the field. As someone who is actively involved with placements at the B-School, he knows it better than most. ‘Placement is the last important step in a student's life here. I have always believed in the quality of students we produce; it was only a matter of bringing renowned organizations to the campus. In the past 2-3 years the placement packages for our students have been the highest among healthcare management institutes in the country.' And that bears testimony to the program, which is definitely a step in the right direction for healthcare industry in India.