Helen Bevan

Helen Bevan: interested to see if lessons from health work in Alaska can be transferred to the UK

Leaders from one of the world’s most pioneering health and care organisations will be giving a talk to West Midlands health and care leaders and academics after being invited by Warwick Business School.

Southcentral Foundation has been described as “maybe the leading example of health and care redesign in the world” and in a rare visit to the UK April Kyle and Doug Eby, the CEO and Medical Director at the Alaskan organisation, have agreed to hold a workshop at WBS on Tuesday April 9, which is being supported by the National Institute for Health and Care Research (NIHR) and Applied Research Collaboration (ARC) West Midlands.

Helen Bevan, Professor of Practice at WBS said: “The is a great chance for health and care leaders across the West Midlands to learn from and talk to April and Doug, who are leading one of the most pioneering organisations in health and care across the globe.

“The Southcentral Foundation’s work has been celebrated and studied in equal measures. It delivers health outcomes in the top 25 per cent of providers in the US despite serving a significant minority population of Alaska Natives and American Indians that brings great health disparities and challenges. And all this is done with funding per capita well below the US average.

“How they have done this is something that NHS leaders can learn from and see if lessons can be transferred to the UK."


Healthcare transformation

Southcentral Foundation has developed a unique care system called ‘Nuka’ – an Alaskan Native word meaning ‘strong, giant structures and living things’ – that has seen it improve outcomes for patients while reducing costs.

The Nuka system is built on strong relationships with patients, known as ‘customer-owners’, and puts them in charge of their lifestyle choices and health and care decisions. It looks at understanding each patient’s unique perspective in an effort to engage them in their care and support long-term behaviour change.

It has seen Southcentral Foundation win multiple awards and earn international recognition for the quality of care it provides.

According to the King’s Fund, an independent healthcare think tank, in the first year of Southcentral Foundation’s transformation to the Nuka system, per capita accident and emergency use reduced by more than 45 per cent, hospital admissions by 53 per cent, referrals to hospital specialists by more than 60 per cent, and visits to primary care doctors by 36 per cent.

Professor Bevan added: “Nuka is one of the few systems globally that can show outstanding and sustained results through health and care transformation.

“This session by April and Doug is a chance to learn from the innovative practices of relationship-based care and adapt them to our own systems or build them into our research perspectives.

“As well as gaining insights, it will allow West Midlands health and care leaders to reflect on some of the most impactful person-centred care globally, which places people at the heart of decision making.

“We will be able to explore how to shift a culture, engage the workforce and align resources for radically redesigning care.

“This is an exciting opportunity that we at Warwick Business School are delighted to host and will hopefully give inspiration for changing practices that will improve care services across the West Midlands.”


Helen Bevan teaches the Improving Health Systems course on the Executive MBA and Executive MBA (London) as well as the Global Online MBA and Global Online MBA (London). She also teaches Operations Management on the Full-time MBA

Learn more about Operations Management on the online Executive Education programme Service Operations Management.