2016 Best EMBAs: Susan Moffatt-Bruce, Ohio State (Fisher)

Susan Moffatt Bruc Ohio State

Susan Moffatt-Bruce, MD, PhD, FACS, MBOE, FRCS(C), MBA

Ohio State University, Fisher College of Business

“The hardest thing about business school has yet to be realized. Having the courage to apply all I have learnt, both academic and practical, will be my greatest challenge. I know I can do it.”

Age: 48 years

Location: Columbus, Ohio

Family Members: 3: Nigel- husband, Girls- 2 (10) and (11)


McGill University, Montreal, Quebec, Canada B.Sc. (Hon) 1986-1990 Biochemistry
Dalhousie University, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada M.D. 1990-1994 Medicine
Dalhousie University, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada FRCS(c), FACS 94-96,99-01 General Surgery
University of Cambridge, Cambridge, England Ph.D. 1996-1999

(awarded 2000)

Transplantation Immunology
Stanford University, Palo Alto, CA, U.S.A.

Ohio State University, Columbus, Ohio





Cardiothoracic Surgery

Operational Excellence

Where are you currently working? Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center, chief quality and patient safety officer; associate dean of clinical affairs, quality and patient safety; professor of surgery; professor of biomedical informatics

Extracurricular Activities, Community Work, and Leadership Roles:

Society of Thoracic Surgeons Workforce on Patient Safety, 2016-2019; Society of Thoracic Surgeons Workforce on Evidence Based Surgery, 2016-2017; Society of Thoracic Surgeons Workforce on Health Policy, Reform, and Advocacy, 2016-2017; America’s Essential Hospitals, Essential Women’s Leadership Academy, mentor, 2016-2017; Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (HSRQ), Healthcare Safety and Quality Improvement Research (HSQR) Study Section, 2015-2019; America’s Essential Hospitals, Investment, Audit, and Compliance Committee (IAC), 2016-2017; Association of American Medical Colleges, Hospital Quality Performance Report Advisory Group, 2015-2016; America’s Essential Hospitals, Essential Hospitals Institute Board of Directors, treasurer, 2015-2016; American College of Surgeons, Women in Surgery Mentorship Program, member, August 2014-2016; America’s Essential Hospitals, Essential Hospitals Institute Board of Directors, member, 2014-2018; National Quality Forum, Patient Safety Indicator Advisory Board, member, October 2014-2016; STS/AATS Workforce On Health Policy, Reform, and Advocacy, elected January 2014; America’s Essential Hospitals, Finance Committee, elected chair September 2013 (2013-2016); Encompass Student Organization-OSU, adviser, 2014-2017; Association of Women Surgeons OSU Medical School Chapter, adviser, 2014-2017.

Which academic or extracurricular achievement are you most proud of during business school?

  1. I was fortunate enough to apply for and receive funding from the federal government’s Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ), Patient Safety Learning Laboratory Program Project grant: Institute for the Design of Environments Aligned for Patient Safety (IDEA4PS), a four-year, $4 million research grant that is directed at improving the care we provide to patients. It is a truly multidisciplinary research grant that involves over 20 investigators from the entire university. There were only seven of these awarded in 2015 across America.
  2. I was involved in the development of a mentorship program for women leaders in the America’s Essential Hospital (AEH) Research Institute. AEH is the convening organization for all the safety net hospitals that care for the uninsured and socially disadvantaged patients across America. The mentorship program has been designed to help develop the women leaders who have chosen to manage and lead these resource-poor hospitals. These are truly selfless leaders who have few resources and little infrastructure to care for the country’s most vulnerable patients.
  3. I was awarded and completed the James IV Traveling Scholar program. This is a program that is granted every year from the American College of Surgeons. I was the first surgeon recipient of this award that used it to work in hospitals across the world to advance the development of systems to provide the safest patient care possible. This was a six-week commitment and required that I travel to England, Scotland, Wales, Thailand, Singapore, and Australia. All night conference calls, so to keep up with my school work and commitments in North America, became the norm for me!

What achievement are you most proud of in your professional career? I have been an academic administrator at the Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center for the past five years. During that time I have been responsible for the quality and outcomes for thousands of patients every year. I am very proud that during that time we have consistently ranked in the top ten of all academic medical centers (UHC Accountability and Leadership Award). To make this possible, I have the privilege of developing not only a safer system for our patients but I have also developed over two dozen faculty so they too can become leaders in academic medicine and facilitate continuous improvement across the care continuum. The successes in rendering our health care system one of the safest in America also allowed us to be awarded both the Champion and the Pioneer Leaning Health System awards from the Association of American Medical Colleges, which recognized health systems that were not only operationally superior but were able to leverage their system so to study change and influence national hospital standards. Lastly, being awarded the AHRQ federal funding to establish the IDEA4PS patient safety laboratory at OSU is the greatest accomplishment and speaks to our success as a team.

Favorite MBA Courses? Finance, Accounting, Organizational Behavior, Leadership Legacy, Entrepreneurial Finance

Why did you choose this executive MBA program? Health care is now provided and measured around the value-based proposition. We, as surgeons and physicians, need to not only understand it, but influence it. I chose many years ago to dedicate my career to developing better health care systems and providers, so to truly influence the delivery of patient-centric care. I realized that I could only do that with the understanding of the business of health care.

What did you enjoy most about business school? Business school was not what I thought it would be. I realized very quickly that I was going to engage in a life-altering program and I have gained tremendous personal and academic insight. Firstly, I enjoyed the classmates I have met. Never again will I be able to interact with professionals from such a variety of backgrounds and professions. In healthcare, we are incredibly siloed and to be able to actually learn from other industries has been phenomenal. Secondly, we were privileged to have professors that were not only inspirational, but also incredibly real.

What was the most surprising thing about business school? I was surprised how practical the entire experience would be. I knew I would learn about finance, accounting, economics, and other business topics. I did not know that I would learn so many practical life lessons that I will be able to apply to all I do for a lifetime.

What was the hardest part of business school? The hardest thing about business school has yet to be realized. Having the courage to apply all I have learnt, both academic and practical, will be my greatest challenge. I know I can do it.

What is your best advice for juggling work, family and education? You need to dedicate time, away from work and family, for this. I could only do this very early in the morning. I think that a good time to break away is when you are fresh and things seem clearer.

I also tended to do my homework when my girls were doing theirs. They thought that was great, and it soon become a quiet time for all of us.

Lastly, I put my team times and class times on the family calendar. That way there were no surprises for my family when I was in school and when I was on a team call.

What’s your best advice to an applicant to your executive MBA program? This program takes time! I have completed more degrees and successfully more exams than many, and this was the toughest both due to the speed of the program but also the breadth. You need to dedicate time not only to do your own work but also to commit to your team. Your team is depending on you and you must really learn to work as a team. Additionally, learn to leverage your team as they are most likely good people that are interested in your success. Let them know when you are stressed. Ask them to help and be prepared to listen when they need help as well.

“I knew I wanted to go to business school when …” The Affordable Care Act passed and the future of health care become our reality.

If I hadn’t gone to business school …” I would continue to be a surgeon, taking care of one patient at a time. Now I have the ability to affect thousands and perhaps even millions of people as I embrace health care transformation.

Which executive or entrepreneur do you most admire? After completing the EMBA, I now know so many new people and their stories. I think that Warren Buffett is worthy of admiration become of his humility. I also think Kathy Levison is admirable for her moral commitment and convictions.

What are your long-term professional goals? I ultimately want to lead and become the CEO of a large, academic health care system. I think that academic health care systems have a responsibility to help shape and inform value-based health care transformation that is our new reality and I intend to have an influential leadership role.

Who would you most want to thank for your success? My family. Hands down. My parents for providing strength and support, even when they did not understand what I was doing. My husband for always caring for me and my girls. My girls for keeping me real.

Fun fact about yourself: I love completing triathlons but I cannot put my head underwater (I am very, very slow!)  

Favorite book: The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah

Favorite movie: The Suffragettes

Favorite musical performer: Anne Murray

Favorite television show: “Madame Secretary”

Favorite vacation spot: Prince Edward Island (home)

Hobbies? Marathon running, triathlons, reading novels

What made Susan such an invaluable addition to the class of 2016?

“Susan is a force of nature! She brings great energy, intelligence, and humor to all that she does. Her academic history that includes an MD, Ph.D. as well as a specialized masters in operations provides evidence of her capacity for hard work and rigor. Her “day job” as a transplant surgeon, chief quality officer, and associate dean indicate the confidence that others put in her skills and judgment. However, it is her personality and ability to connect in a meaningful way with all kinds of people that really sets Susan apart. The great set of talents that Susan brought to the EMBA program have been supercharged by her learning and experiences during the program. Susan will surely make an even larger mark as a leader as our health care industry faces challenges that will require exactly the sort of leadership capabilities that Susan has developed.”

Peter Ward

Senior Associate Dean

Richard M. Ross Chair in Management

Fisher College of Business

“I believe Susan’s character, professionalism and hard work made her an invaluable addition to the class of 2016. It took a couple of weeks for the students to learn about Susan’s position and professional accomplishments. I believe this was a direct testament to the humbleness nature of Susan as she has never promoted herself as anything but a student member of her EMBA cohort.  Susan’s team commented regarding her positive contribution to their team effectiveness with quotes including:

“She brought a completely different perspective to the team from the other members. I felt privileged to get to work with such a successful and driven person that had a different background.”

“Involves all members in the team to ensure collaboration.”

“Susan has a great medical career and is extremely smart. She helps us get focused and be more efficient in our team meetings.”

“I would characterize Susan as a student with an engaging style, who is warm and approachable and has an energizing influence on her team and cohort. She has a clear bias for action, takes personal accountability, and raised the bar for the entire EMBA cohort given her high standards of excellence which she practiced both inside and outside of the classroom. I have immense respect and admiration for Susan Moffatt-Bruce and believe I echo the sentiments of the EMBA Class of 2016.”

Daniel D. Oglevee, MBA

Academic Director, EMBA

Sr. Lecturer, Finance

Department of Finance


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