Jim Rice has spent his career helping people all over the world in the field of public health. His work has strengthened the performance of individuals and institutions in various health systems in almost 40 countries–from Afghanistan to Zimbabwe (literally).
After graduating from MHS, Jim attended the University of Minnesota with the intention of becoming a doctor. During his sophomore year, he discovered the field of healthcare management, which combined his passion for medicine with his interest in business. He went on to obtain both his master's and doctoral degrees in management and health policy from the University of Minnesota where he also received a National Institute of Health Doctoral Fellowship and the University of Minnesota School of Public Health Distinguished Alumnus award.
Early in his career, Jim focused on how hospitals and other health care facilities could deliver services most effectively. His roles during this time included President for Health Central International, Inc. and president of The International Health Summit where he traveled extensively throughout the world.
Later in his career, Jim explored how money moved through the healthcare sector. During this time, he lived for a while in Russia and recognized that the best way to ensure the sustainability of health system reforms would be to focus on strengthening health system leadership and governance structures.
Jim's current passion is improving how healthcare systems perform by building the effectiveness of the boards who govern them. This includes training and supporting the community members who serve on healthcare boards.
"These board members are a critical resource for healthcare institutions. They are the link between hospitals and clinics and the communities that they serve," explained Jim.
To help strengthen healthcare boards and ensure greater leadership within the health care industry, Jim collaborated with a friend from the University of Cambridge to develop an international health leadership program through the Centre for Health Leadership and Enterprise in the Judge School of Business at Cambridge.
He is also building "governance academies" at the University of Minnesota and the Advance Heathcare Management Institute in Prague. The academies will not only help to build the capacity of healthcare boards, but also encourage more physicians to take on leadership and governance roles. Jim would especially like to see more women in these roles.
When looking back on his time at MHS, Jim remembers his science classes as having a strong influence on his decision to go into medicine. He also spent time playing football and tennis, as well as the trumpet and baritone in Mr. Geldert's band class.
His advice to new graduates heading to college: "The world is more global than ever. Explore career paths and learning opportunities that happen outside of Minnesota and outside of the U.S. In addition, be active in your community. Try to have an impact that can be felt on the global stage, not just locally."