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New school – first of its kind – aims to become model for health outcomes

William Riler
February 06, 2013

World renowned public health expert William Riley to direct

The current health care system in the United States is undergoing massive changes. Arizona State University is on the forefront of this transformation and has established a new School for the Science of Health Care Delivery.

The first of its kind in the nation, the school will foster research and prepare students from a variety of backgrounds to be leaders and innovators in the effort to improve health outcomes that are cost-effective for people and the community. The school will begin teaching students in fall 2013.

The Master of Science in the Science of Health Care Delivery will be the first degree offered by the school. This degree will provide a comprehensive overview of key issues and trends facing the health industry and will prepare students for entry into a wide variety of fields, such as health care delivery or administration, health policy and health system architecture. Additionally, this program prepares students who are interested in pursuing professional degrees, such as medicine, pharmacology, veterinary medicine or law for their advanced studies.

The degree also enables recent college graduates from liberal arts, business, science, public programs and engineering backgrounds to complement their undergraduate learning experience and gain a competitive advantage in their job search or candidacy into professional educational programs.

Students attending the Mayo Medical School when it opens in Scottsdale, Ariz., will get both a medical degree from Mayo and a Master of Science in the Science of Health Care Delivery from ASU as the program will be embedded in the medical degree curriculum.

“Behavioral decisions and environmental factors outweigh genetics and health care in importance in determining the health of a population, yet are too often ignored," said Keith Lindor, dean of the College of Health Solutions that will house the new school.

The program will connect students and faculty with industry leaders at clinical sites throughout the Valley.

To learn more about the School for the Science of Health Care Delivery at ASU, visit

William Riley to lead School for the Science of Health Care Delivery

William Riley, an internationally recognized expert in the field of public health and associate dean of the highly regarded School of Public Health at the University of Minnesota, has been named director of the new school.

“William Riley has the knowledge and experience to bring together talent at ASU and beyond to help shape the future of health,” said ASU President Michael M. Crow.

“Professor Riley will be a great addition to ASU’s faculty and management team,” said Elizabeth D. Phillips, ASU executive vice president and provost. “We are looking to him to help build the university’s public health and health care delivery programs.”

Riley has held several leadership positions in the private sector, including president and CEO of Pacific Medical Centers in Seattle, Wash.; CEO of Aspen Medical Group in St. Paul, Minn.; and senior vice president of Blue Cross Blue Shield of Minnesota.

Riley’s research and scholarship focuses on health care safety, quality health finance and health care management. He is leading a major, nationwide study to improve perinatal safety in hospitals. He is the co-author of two books, "Managing Healthcare Organizations for Quality Performance" and "Quality Function Deployment and Lean Six Sigma Applications in Public Health."

Riley earned his doctorate at the University of Minnesota.