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Thursday, February 17, 2011 - Executive MBA benefits alumnus in physician, leader roles

When Dr. Bassam Nasr was looking to enhance his business knowledge and leadership skills, the co-founder and medical director of Physician HealthCare Network discovered the perfect avenue in OU’s Executive MBA program and its concentration in Health Care Management.

“I intuitively sensed we were making the right moves, but I knew I needed formal training to lead this physician’s group in the right direction,” says Nasr, EMBA ’07.


Today, he says, it’s safe to say both his career and his medical group have thrived since he completed the EMBA program. Nasr is the immediate past chief of medical staff of St. John River District Hospital, which gave him its Physician of the Year Award in February 2009.


Physician HealthCare Network, a multi-specialty physician partnership serving St. Clair and surrounding counties, has grown from 35 physicians to more than 75 providers in recent years.


Quality, collaborative program


Nasr, who is board-certified in internal medicine, gastroenterology, sleep medicine, medical management and clinical nutrition, already had served seven years as the partnership’s medical director when he started looking for an EMBA program. He knew from the beginning that he wanted to look at Oakland. “I had heard good things about this program from graduates over the years,” says Nasr, who also spoke to SBA faculty members.


He considered an online program, but he knew Oakland’s proximity to work and home would give him the benefits of collaborative learning. “I wanted to be in a program where there would be dynamic interactions with peers and faculty,” Nasr says. “I felt there was opportunity to learn from others.”


The decision to go with Oakland was a good call, Nasr says. “It was a learning experience for me meeting individuals with various backgrounds in the health care industry. It was a high-caliber program with excellent faculty.”


When it was time to take on a capstone project, a final project culminating all of the EMBA training and experiences, Nasr and his teammates created the nonprofit Diabetes Prevention Foundation. “We considered diabetes based on its great burden on the health of a large number of individuals,” he says. “It would be an important contribution to our community.”


The foundation’s Web site,, gives patients tools for managing their illness and taking steps to prevent complications, including stroke, blindness and kidney disease.


Knowledge enhances expertise


Today, Nasr says, he finds himself applying the knowledge he gained through the SBA's EMBA program to work regularly. “There’s no question it added a lot to how I approach business problems and how to map solutions.”


He found the experience especially helpful in his interactions with other physicians. “It has impacted how I lead, how I encourage teamwork and how I mentor others so they can contribute to the organization.”


Nasr, who places great value on community service, is extending his relationship with Oakland’s SBA. His medical group sponsored two graduate students through the SBA's Experiential Learning and Innovation (ELI) program over the last two years.


“The students learn, and we benefit from their work,” says Nasr.


Nasr also continues to reach out to the community. He is chairing the professional division of the United Way Campaign this year, as he did in 2007, and he serves on the boards for the St. Clair County Chapter of the American Red Cross, the Community Foundation of St. Clair County, Port Huron Hospital and Lakeshore Woods Village. He also is a member of the executive committee of St. Clair County Medical Society and is an elected member of the Board of Directors of the Michigan State Medical Society and a member of Michigan’s Delegation to the AMA.




By Flori Meeks


 OU’s Executive MBA program is designed for professionals who are currently engaged in successful careers and want to build a strong business foundation while enhancing their leadership and management skills. The program offers the schedule flexibility required for a full-time executive. Concentrations in health care management and information systems leadership are available. The two-year program meets biweekly for classes and offers online support and flexibility to accommodate working professionals attending school while working. A maximum of 30 students are admitted to the 39-credit hour, 21-month program annually.