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Global Business Forum Ends with Call to Action From Industry Leaders

January 14, 2011
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 Jeffrey R. Immelt, the chairman and CEO of General Electic,  was|
 the Global Business Forum's closing keynote speaker


The chairman and CEO of industry giant General Electric closed out the University of Miami’s Global Business Forum Jan. 14, insisting that health care is central to the competitiveness of a country, and that Americans need to become more educated health care consumers. The remarks by Jeffrey Immelt capped three-days of deep discussion focused on the theme of the conference, “The Business of Health Care: Defining the Future.”

“No matter how old you are, we are going to be working on health care in the U.S. for the rest of our lives,” Immelt said. “Big business has the most to lose if we don't get it right.”

Troyen Brennan     

Troyen Brennan, MD, executive vice president and
chief medical officer for CVS Caremark, speaks
during the closing session.

Immelt’s remarks followed a speech and question and answer session by Troyen Brennan, MD, executive vice president and chief medical officer for CVS Caremark. Both executives stressed the need to focus on consumer-driven health care. As Brennan sees it, the industry and government must empower and educate consumers to make better decisions about health care.

"We need to make sure patients are taking the right medicine, and that they are taking the medicine," said Brennan, noting that more than half of people are not taking their medication because of the cost, confusion, inconvenience or lack of help. "Pharmacists are a critical part of the health care system. Pharmacists are the gatekeepers."

The Forum’s other keynote speakers included Kathleen Sebelius, the U.S. secretary of health and human services, Margaret Hamburg, MD, the commissioner of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, James Forbes, global principal investments executive for Bank of America Merrill Lynch, and Arthur Agatston, MD, the author of The South Beach Diet.

The forum, which drew more than 700 people, also featured more than 30 panel discussions organized in six tracks on topics including economics and health care, aging, innovation, wellness and prevention. There were nearly 150 speakers and panelists in all.

Although the Forum was a campus-wide event, involving schools and other units from the entire university, it was hatched at the School of Business by Barbara Kahn, who joined the School as dean in 2007. The Forum was Kahn's last School event as dean. She has taken a new position at the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School, where she was prior to joining UM.

ovation for kahn

Outgoing School of Business Dean Barbara Kahn receives
a standing ovation as the close of the Global Business Forum.

“I want to thank everyone in Miami and the University of Miami,” said Kahn in her closing remarks. “I think this is the best business school in the world and it's been great being here,” she added as the audience took to its feet for a standing ovation to thank Kahn.

View photos of the Forum on Facebook

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