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Markkula Center for Applied Ethics

Boards That Care

Santa Clara University logo; The Patient Revolution logo; Markkula Center for Applied Ethics logo

Boards That Care Retreat

Monday and Tuesday, September 9 and 10, 2024

Santa Clara University, home of the Markkula Center for Applied Ethics, the largest center for applied ethics in the United States, will host the retreat, in partnership with The Patient Revolution, founded and led by Dr. Victor Montori, Professor of Medicine at Mayo Clinic, researcher, and author of “Why We Revolt.” 


Achieving excellence while responding to the crisis of care – can your board help?

The U.S. healthcare system has become a technological and financial juggernaut, growing from 7% of the gross domestic product 50 years ago to about 18% of GDP today. This growth has given rise to three unintended consequences:

  • Costs have increased faster than inflation and faster than health system revenue, exacerbating inequities in health care quality and budget stresses in the system.
  • There is a serious shortage of doctors, nurses, and psychosocial workers needed for long-term care of our aging population and those with chronic diseases and/or mental health illnesses.
  • The stress of increasing demands for greater levels of productivity and efficiency, coupled with the exorbitant number of regulations that clinicians face, has led to a decrease in clinicians’ ability to care and an increase in burn out.

The results of these influences are leading to several troubling trends, including an overall industrialization of health care and an increasing number of patients seeking help from new types of competitors offering an “easy button” for care. While that might be appropriate for transactional health care needs, the growing population of U.S. citizens with chronic conditions will be woefully underserved by such models.
These three problems are forecasted to get worse over the next decade and beg the questions: How can the U.S. healthcare system be improved, and what is the role of Boards in that process? 

Boards That Care is a retreat that will bring together board members from different institutions to shed light on their power to induce needed change in health care delivery.

This retreat will:

  • serve as a space to share wisdom on how board members can add more value and derive strategies to bring care back to health care.
  • be unlike traditional executive and board training programs, focusing instead on the role of Board members as stewards of care in addition to serving as stewards of financial resources.
  • explore a framework and strategies to ensure that the organizations they are leading nurture and support environments in which clinicians, the staff who support them, and the patients they serve are able to care about and for one another. 

Many board members come from industries which have dealt with similar problems including increasing costs, shortage of key personnel, fast-changing markets, rapid growth, and new types of competition. Board members know how to change business models, organization structures, incentives, and metrics to address these issues. Most importantly, board members who choose to volunteer their time to help non-profit health care entities deliver on organizational missions are personally motivated by a desire to help others. Best efforts are sometimes thwarted by increased attention to standardization and efficiency to deal with the budgetary crises in health care.

Boards That Care Event Agenda

The retreat will feature several prominent speakers and multiple interactive sessions. (Finalized agenda TBA)

Keynote Speaker

Donald M. Berwick, M.D., M.P.P., Lecturer of Health Care Policy in the Department of Health Care Policy at Harvard Medical School and President Emeritus and Senior Fellow at the Institute for Healthcare Improvement


Payment is due when registering to secure a seat in this limited-participant retreat.

Registrations by June 30, 2024 cost $2,000 per person.

Registrations on or after July 1, 2024 cost $2,500 per person.

Register to Participate in the Boards That Care Retreat


Have Questions About Boards That Care?
Thor Wasbotten

Thor Wasbotten

For questions, contact Thor Wasbotten, Managing Director, Markkula Center for Applied Ethics at:

The Markkula Center for Applied Ethics does not advocate for any product, company, or organization. Our engagements are intended to provide training, customized materials, and other resources. The Markkula Center does not offer certifications or seals of approval.