OMAHA, Neb. (AP) — A former fullback for the Huskers who used to hit linebackers is now hitting the books while studying the business of medicine.
Justin Makovicka is the first person scheduled to complete the University of Nebraska's dual business-medicine graduate degree program, the Omaha World-Herald (http://bit.ly/1g6XLqp ) reported.
He hopes to be an orthopedic surgeon and is on track to receive an M.D. from the University of Nebraska Medical Center and a master of business administration from the University of Nebraska at Omaha next spring.
Makovicka said he admired the work of the medical team who cared for a nephew who had a football-related brain injury as a sixth grader. He left the University of Nebraska football team as a senior to focus on preparing for medical school.
"Health care ran in the family growing up," Makovicka added. His older brother is the president of Makovicka Physical Therapy, and his father and sister are physical therapists.
Makovicka said he was interested in business, too, but never got to take a business class as an undergraduate.
Medical schools around the U.S. also offer similar dual-degree programs, including Creighton University which began its dual M.D.-MBA program in 2010.
"The old thinking was that business and medical schools should have nothing to do with each other, that they're completely different fields," said Dr. Maria Young Chandler, founder and president of the Association of M.D./MBA Programs, based at the University of California at Irvine.
"But they're really one and the same," she said. "Medicine is a business, no matter how you look at it."
Management principles learned in the business program helps future doctors better manage their office in reducing wait times, eliminating bottlenecks that slow down exams and improve hiring, budgeting, billing and other tasks.
"We're in the service industry, and people are going to be very cost-conscious," Dr. J. Brian Gill, a partner in the Nebraska Spine Hospital, who completed a four-year M.D.-MBA program at Texas Tech University in 2001. "If we're able to provide a good service for an affordable price and a competitive price and overall good-quality care, that's valuable."
Information from: Omaha World-Herald, http://www.omaha.com