Finger on the pulse: Renowned Indian cardiologist pursuing DeGroote EMBA

| Burlington
Contributed by Andrew Baulcomb, Advancement Officer

Dr. Ashutosh VashisthaWhen Dr. Ashutosh Vashistha decided to pursue an MBA, he looked for two key things in a program – innovation and an interdisciplinary focus. A global search brought him to DeGroote’s new Executive MBA in Digital Transformation.

The 13-month program, which will welcome its first cohort in September, is built around four residential modules in Southern Ontario and Silicon Valley, California. Students will learn from a mix of DeGroote professors and industry experts. Corporate partners include theScore, CIBC, IBM, and SAS.

Like many of his EMBA peers, Dr. Vashistha is far from a traditional graduate student. An accomplished cardiologist based in Lucknow, India, he has more than two decades of experience at the forefront of his field. He was the first heart specialist in India to perform a pacemaker implantation at a private sector hospital, and is known for having a keen interest in digital health.

He’ll travel to Burlington this fall to begin his studies at the Ron Joyce Centre. The ultimate goal, Dr. Vashistha explains, is to apply the business and digital leadership skills he gains at DeGroote to India’s “paradoxical” health system.

“Healthcare is one of India’s largest sectors, in terms of revenue and employment, and the sector is expanding rapidly,” he begins.

“On one hand, it boasts of ‘best in class’ healthcare deliverance that attracts medical tourists from around the world. But on the other, quality healthcare services are inaccessible for a large portion of the general population.”

With nearly 70 per cent of India’s population of 1.25 billion living in rural areas, the latest advances in healthcare are not always available for those in outlying regions. Primary Health Centres, or PHCs, based in rural parts of the country often suffer from a shortage of medical staff – particularly specialists.

Healthcare should be more convenient, effective, and less expensive for increasingly empowered consumers,” says Dr. Vashistha. “Existing infrastructure in smaller towns and rural areas is not adequate to meet the increasing needs of the Indian population. Technology will help in filling this gap.”

According to Dr. Vashistha, the implementation of innovative new business models in India could help augment efficiency, improve care, save time, and reduce medical errors for millions of Indians. He’s already offering input on the country’s National Health Policy, which was last updated in 2002 and is currently being overhauled.

“Healthcare should be more convenient, effective, and less expensive for increasingly empowered consumers,” says Dr. Vashistha. “Existing infrastructure in smaller towns and rural areas is not adequate to meet the increasing needs of the Indian population. Technology will help in filling this gap.”

In India, as in Canada, technology is changing fast. As new trends emerge in the weeks and months ahead, Dr. Vashistha and his colleagues in the EMBA program will benefit from a continuously-evolving curriculum and custom, integrated case studies.

Core topics such as finance, marketing, and strategy will be a key part of student learning, but EMBA students will also study technical content more often associated with master-level programs in data science and business analytics. Dr. Vashistha is confident this unique combination of business knowledge and digital insights will equip him with a comprehensive set of skills to implement transformative changes in India’s health system.

After earning an undergraduate degree in medicine at King George’s Medical University in Lucknow, he completed postgraduate studies in cardiology at Ganesh Shankar Vidyarthi Memorial Medical College in Kanpur. He then went on to complete prestigious visiting fellowships in cardiology at the University of Ottawa Heart Institute, Atlanta’s Emory Crawford Long Hospital (now Emory University Hospital Midtown), and Royal Brompton Hospital in London, England.

He’s currently a fellow of numerous international societies, including: the American College of Cardiology, the European Society of Cardiology, the Asia Pacific Society Of Cardiology, and the Cardiology Society of India, among others. He is also an active member of Canadian Cardiovascular Society, Canadian Heart Rhythm Society, and the British Cardiovascular Society.

Work isn’t everything for Dr. Vashistha. He has a wife, Meenu, and two children, Anshuman and Ashlesha. The former wants to pursue management studies, while the latter is an aspiring fashion designer. He’s also an avid golfer and enjoys playing guitar.

The program’s first residential module will begin Thursday, September 18 in Burlington, where Dr. Vashistha will be joined by classmates from a variety of unique backgrounds. The first unit will focus on opportunities and challenges to businesses as they embrace new digital innovations and technologies. Learn more about the DeGroote MBA in Digital Transformation and its unique residential modules.

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