December 02, 2022

Gic-Owens Fiestan: Improving the business of health care

Gic-Owens outside the Ross School of Business

Gic's Michigan Answer: Michigan has allowed me to explore my interest in the discovery, development and implementation of medical innovations through my involvement with various groups and projects.

Gic-Owens Fiestan (he/him/his) comes from Orlando, FL, and graduated from Duke University in 2017. During his time at Michigan Medicine School, he has pursued a dual degree for both a Master's of Business Administration (MBA) and a Master's of Science in Clinical Research (MSCR). The accelerated curriculum gave him time to explore different specialties after his core clinical rotations and to focus on the relationship between medicine and business. He has also been involved with the Innovation and Entrepreneurship Path of Excellence and the Center for Medical and Surgical eXtended Reality (CMSXR), and he's had the chance to operate as a venture capitalist with the Zell Lurie Commercialization Fund.

In his free time he enjoys adventuring with friends to places like Traverse City for water sports, apple picking, campfires, and even taking time for some quiet reflection.

View his LinkedIn profile here.

Why did you decide to attend Michigan?

The University of Michigan is able to support its students no matter what facet of medicine they want to explore. The breadth and depth of experience here is incredible given the wider network of professional schools that fall under the Michigan umbrella. Not only is there a lot of expertise in the community, but the camaraderie and welcoming nature of students, professors and alumni at Michigan means that the decision to “Go Blue” gives you family anywhere.

What have been your favorite parts or features of the med school curriculum so far, and why?

The accelerated curriculum that front-loads the didactic portion of medical school gave me a lot of time to explore different specialties after my core clinical rotations. This was really important to me since I did not know what specialty I wanted to pursue for residency; a lot of my peers also had a hard time deciding between two or more specialties that they loved and this extra time affords more insight into life as a resident and attending.

Why did you decide to earn a dual degree while in med school?

Medicine and business have distinct, particular needs which require different skill sets. Nevertheless, they are intertwined, and providing high-quality care while improving the business of healthcare are two goals that rely on each other. By appreciating both sides of this relationship, I hoped to improve my perspective and learn where I could fit in with the changing nature of medicine.

What has the experience been like, and what advice do you have for others who are considering a dual degree in medical school?

During medical school, I pursued an MBA and an MSCR both of which have reshaped my understanding of healthcare. The MBA gave me insight about how industry operates and the tension that exists between innovation and policy. The classes I took refined my thought processes about the goals of health care administration and how those translate into the environment that providers operate under. On the other hand, the MSCR taught me what it means to have a career in academic medicine and to contribute to the growth of medical knowledge. Although the classes offered for these degrees have been exceptional, the best part is that they require real-life application of these concepts. The MBA required interning for any company during the summer while the MSCR required developing a research project and publishing a manuscript. The advice I have for those considering a dual degree is that they pursue opportunities that will not only teach them but will let them exercise the skills they learn about.

Any other opportunities you'd like to share?

During the MBA portion of my training, I had the chance to operate as a venture capitalist with the Zell Lurie Commercialization Fund. This is a student-run VC fund that invests in Michigan-affiliated start-ups. Through this experience, I reviewed novel technologies that have the opportunity to transform healthcare, and I developed a better understanding on how medical innovations move from academia to our patients.

What is your favorite place to go in/around the Ann Arbor area and why?

York is a great place to grab food and drinks with friends. They have a fun outdoor space that they fill with interesting food trucks every month. As the weather gets colder, they also have heaters and fires that pair nicely with the crisp Michigan fall.

What activities have you most enjoyed being able to do in the State of Michigan?

Every year, my friends and I rent a cabin near Traverse City that allows us to enjoy the northern part of Michigan. If you’re looking for vineyards, water sports, apple picking, campfires, or other fun activities, it’s only a few hours drive away. Going “up north” also provides a good reprieve from medical school and leaves room for reflection.

What do you like to do in your free time?

Floating down the Huron River is one of my favorite activities. During the warmer months in Ann Arbor, my friends and I enjoy tying our river tubes together, listening to music and debriefing about our lives. The best part is that there are several exit points so you can tailor the experience according to your schedule!