Physician MBA alum opens urgent care center to improve access to healthcare on Chicago’s south side

Reuben Rutland, MD, MBA’16, is a trauma surgeon who thought his career path would eventually lead him to administration.

“I thought I’d earn an MBA and work in hospital administration,” he said. “Now, I have a new dream and a new focus. I’ve earned the Business of Medicine Physician MBA from the Kelley School of Business, and I’m leading my own company.”

Dr. Rutland and his two physician partners recently opened Premier Urgent Care & OCC-Health Center, the only urgent care facility in the Hyde Park neighborhood on the south side of Chicago and, possibly, the only black-owned urgent care facility in the city. The physician owners recognized a need for urgent care in the area, where the nearest emergency room is 20 minutes away and there’s a three-week wait for primary care office visits.

“We selected that location because there’s a need for a complement to a doctor’s office,” said Dr. Rutland. “If you can’t get in for three weeks with a minor medical concern, it’s almost as if you don’t have a doctor.”

Dr. Rutland graduated from the Kelley Physician MBA Program a couple years prior and says the degree was instrumental in his decision to partner in the new urgent care facility. Enhancing his medical experience with business acumen gained in the program, Dr. Rutland felt well equipped to succeed in the role of chief operating officer at Premier.

“My MBA experience has been invaluable. Not only did it give me the confidence to do this, but it also gave me the skill set to know what I should be responsible for, what I can delegate and when to speak up when I see room for improvement,” he said. “The MBA also taught me how to talk to hospital administrators. Physicians often talk from their hearts when administrators want to know the figures. The Kelley Physician MBA taught me how to communicate in both worlds.”

Dr. Rutland is an experienced trauma surgeon and serves as health commissioner for the City of Gary, Indiana. When he enrolled in the Kelley Physician MBA Program, he’d joined Methodist Hospitals as the medical director of trauma services. “I was hired to transform the hospital to a trauma center. I felt comfortable on the clinical side, but the business arena was very different from what I was used to,” he said. “There was so much on the administrative side that I didn’t know.”

Dr. Rutland heard about the Business of Medicine Physician MBA Program at the top-ranked Kelley School. The physician-only program provides flexible curriculum delivery designed for busy schedules, which appealed to him.

“The thing I loved about the program is you receive your assignments for the whole session from the beginning, so you can complete them today, tomorrow or a little at a time. Plus, you’re learning alongside other physicians,” he said. 

Any time I speak with physicians considering an MBA I encourage them to go to Kelley. Having a healthcare-based program geared toward physicians is critical.  

Reuben Rutland, MD, MBA’16