Terry Urbine, Ph.D.

Dr. Terry Urbine Helps Students Forecast Health Care’s Future

With a Ph.D. in Economics and an accomplished finance career, Dr. Terry Urbine now applies his mastery of free markets to mine data for medical discoveries. While his previous industry work was lucrative, he said it lacked a sense of purpose. That’s why he joined the University of Arizona in 2008 as an assistant research scientist focused on health outcomes.

It soon became clear Dr. Urbine had more to contribute than insights on the research team. His expertise was quickly channeled to form a new course, Health Care Economics and Policy.

“At the time, the Pharmacy and Public Health colleges were trying to develop a new inter-professional degree in health economics due to mutual interests and an overlap in the faculty and students,” Dr. Urbine said. “The program needed a gateway course and I volunteered to create it and teach it.”

Competing Markets vs. Quality of Care

Now an instructor for the online Master of Public Health program, Dr. Urbine helps students apply economic theory to the consumption of health care. At a time when health care spending and demand are both rising, his insights help graduates control the quality of care.

Dr. Urbine continually examines total health care spending in the U.S. As an observer, he sees room for improvement in both the public and private sectors. It’s his goal to help online master’s in public health students recognize how competing markets affect how health care is provided.

“Increasing competition among providers and between public and private sectors will increase the importance of administrators working to help organizations survive or succeed,” Dr. Urbine said.

Direction to Disrupt the System

Dr. Urbine’s knack for forecasting extends to his outlook on public health. He offers the following advice for his students enrolled in the Master of Public Health online:

“Recognizing opportunities for improved efficiencies or better use of limited resources will be more important than clinical skills in the future,” Dr. Urbine said. “Clinical practice will continue to become more formulaic and standardized. Recognizing when to depart from this via disruptive innovation is a skill that the master’s in public health online can help students acquire.”