Brainerd highlights health care, offers perspective for students

Nathan Halverson

Mary Brainerd, a University alumna, might be an inspiration to liberal arts students concerned about their careers.

Brainerd graduated from the University with a bachelor’s degree in philosophy. She is now president and chief executive officer of HealthPartners, a health care organization with more than 671,000 members.

“I really value my philosophy undergraduate degree from the University. It helped me be a broader thinker,” she said.

Brainerd was on campus Tuesday to speak at the Carlson School of Management’s First Tuesday Luncheon Series.

The monthly event brings in top executives to address alumni, students and local businesspeople. The topics typically focus on contentious business issues.

Brainerd spoke about what could be done to mitigate the rising cost of health care.

“Health care is both an enormous social benefit Ö but health care is also an enormous problem,” she said. “People are losing trust.”

Brainerd highlighted what could be done to fix the problems, including reducing smoking and obesity, and using prescription drugs more efficiently.

Some Carlson School students attended the event with their business mentors.

Chris Flynn, a Carlson School senior, was there with his mentor Stu Nelson, a senior partner and managing director for Computer Sciences Corporation in Minneapolis.

Flynn said the luncheon series provides an easy way to arrange time together, and it offers an additional perspective on business.

“I gain insight into the hot issues,” Flynn said.

Nelson added: “It’s a great way to network.”

Nathan Halverson welcomes comments at [email protected]