By Terri Hughes-Lazzell
For most, earning a medical doctor (MD) degree would be an accomplishment that would need no other achievement. However, Reginald Eadie learned that his MD was only half of the equation if he was going to guide one of Detroit’s leading hospitals.
The board-certified emergency medicine physician, who had served in various clinical and administrative roles in Detroit hospitals, wanted to better understand the business operations of the medical industry—finance, strategic planning, business plans, and accounting—as his career took on more administrative responsibilities.
As chief medical officer for Detroit Medical Center (DMC) Harper-Hutzel Hospital in Detroit, Dr. Eadie had to manage budgets, but because his medical training did not include a focus on business or management he realized he lacked some of the knowledge that would make him more effective. He realized that his colleagues who were managing private practices were facing similar obstacles and asking themselves the question: how do we do the work we were trained to do and still operate this business correctly and efficiently?
The answer for him was earning a master of business administration (MBA). His search for a program led him to Michigan State University’s Broad College of Business and its Executive MBA program, now celebrating its 50th year.
MSU’s program offered him exactly what he wanted—the amount of face-time he believed he needed for interaction with peers and faculty, and the ability to continue working.
“I would be lying if I said it was an easy program. But the way it was taught, and the way they were able to bring in the healthcare industry was ideal,” Eadie said.
As his career led him from emergency medicine physician to emergency room chief to chief medical officer, Dr. Eadie wanted to know about quality and safety management, large budgets and business plans, and the “business language” to better communicate with the corporate office.
“I knew I needed more to really be effective,” he said.
After all, his responsibilities had already grown with the hospital, even before he enrolled in the Broad College Executive MBA program. He had been named CEO for DMC Harper-Hutzel Hospital. Since completing his MBA in 2013, he has also been named CEO of DMC Detroit Receiving Hospital, while continuing to serve as CEO for Harper-Hutzel.
Dr. Eadie credits what he learned at Michigan State with his continued success. And he points to his teammates—the Broad College program places its Executive MBA students into teams that work together from day one through graduation. Dr. Eadie’s teammates included finance professionals and engineers. “It was the perfect group,” he said, adding they even stay in touch today.
He said the team learned together, but also learned from each other. And that education has proved beneficial in his work at the hospital.
“I now have a complete understanding of what the business talk is,” he said. “ When we talk finance, I understand the language. And I can better get those in the business office to understand my language—from the clinical side.”
Dr. Eadie would recommend a MBA to any physician who is taking on administrative roles. Earning his MBA has helped him to feel more balanced. When he looks at the hospital operations, Dr. Eadie can put on his administrator hat and ask the necessary questions from that point of view, and he can put on his clinical hat to consider needs from the medical side of the operation.
It’s a way to reach a conclusion and feel effective from both sides. Dr. Eadie even sees these benefits in his community work and connections with those in government and business.
The Detroit native, who earned his medical degree from Wayne State University School of Medicine, strives to have a positive impact on his community. He serves as board president for the Benjamin Carlson High School of Science and Medicine and has been instrumental in students gaining access to role models and receiving real-world experience working in the hospital.
“When I was in high school, it was unheard of to have a conversation with physicians, but they get that here all the time, so it becomes not such a big deal,” he explains.
And he takes his role in promoting healthier lifestyles in the community seriously—which translates into a better quality of life and also helps to lower the community’s healthcare costs.
As part of this community service, Dr. Eadie started the “No Soda Pop in November” campaign. That soon was expanded to become the “61-Day Challenge,” which now extends through December and asks participants not to have soda pop, fried foods, or sweets and to increase their activity in an effort to combat obesity and unhealthy lifestyles during the holiday season. Dr. Eadie loves hearing from people who have gone through the challenge and changed their lifestyles.
When he talks about his community and where he came from, Dr. Eadie said he always knew what he wanted to do, but he did not know what it would take to reach his goals. As a student at Cass Technical High School in Detroit, Dr. Eadie would tell people he wanted to be president of a medical clinic.
“I had no idea what that meant,” he said.
He has learned.