The Business of Healthcare

Tuesday, April 19, 2022  |  12 p.m.
Live Online via Zoom

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Join Texas State University McCoy College of Business faculty and industry experts for a candid conversation on "The Business of Healthcare." We will explore the healthcare industry from the perspective of business decision-making and talk about what that means for the patient experience.  How do healthcare systems use research capabilities to improve clinical care, population health, and equity and access? 


Dr. Ryan Leslie

Dr. Ryan Leslie

Associate Vice President of Research, Ascension
Administrative Leader, Ascension Clinical Research Institute

Dr. Ryan Leslie is Associate Vice President of Research for Ascension and is the business and administrative leader for the Ascension Clinical Research Institute. Prior to his national research leadership role, Ryan was a member of the executive leadership team of Ascension Texas, where his responsibilities included analytics, research, graduate medical education (GME), and the development and support of collaborative data, research, and analytics capabilities for Ascension’s partnership with The Dell Medical School at the University of Texas at Austin. Ryan holds three degrees from UT-Austin, including a BBA in management information systems and an MS and PhD in health economics and outcomes research. 

Before joining Ascension, Ryan spent 10 years as a consultant helping organizations build analytical capabilities and conduct advanced analytics. His research focused on Central Texas’ dynamic healthcare safety net for the area’s uninsured populations.  

Dr. Tahir Ekin

Dr. Tahir Ekin

2021-2022 Presidential Fellow
Associate Professor of Quantitative Methods
McCoy College of Business, Texas State University

Dr. Tahir Ekin is the Texas State University Presidential Fellow, the Stephen R. Gregg, Sr. Excellence Professor, and Associate Professor of Quantitative Methods at the McCoy College of Business. Dr. Ekin’s areas of expertise include statistical and analytical applications in health care fraud assessment and decision modeling under uncertainty. In addition to dozens of scholarly articles, Dr. Ekin authored a book, “Statistics and Health Care Fraud: How to Save Billions.”   He is an elected member of International Statistical Institute and currently serves as Vice President of the International Society of Business and Industrial Statisticians.  He has taught health care fraud analytics workshops for many organizations including the European Health Care Fraud Corruption Network, International Statistical Institute, and Association of Certified Fraud Examiners. His research has been funded more than $1M by federal, state and private agencies, and foundations including National Science Foundation, Air Force Scientific Office of Research, Texas Health and Human Services, and BBVA Foundation.  Dr. Ekin holds a Ph.D. in Decision Sciences from The George Washington University, and a B.S. in Industrial Engineering from Bilkent University, Turkey. 


Melinda Villagran

Dr. Melinda Villagran

Executive Director, Translational Health Research Center
Professor, Department of Communication Studies
Texas State University

Melinda Villagran is the Executive Director of Texas State's Translational Health Research Center, PI for the Community Health and Economic Resiliency Research Center of Excellence, and Co-PI for the Accelerating Credentials Data Science Platform research programs. With a Ph.D. in health communication, Dr. Villagran supports a broad program of interdisciplinary research involving Texas State faculty with community partners for applied research programs. Dr. Villagran returned to Texas State as a faculty member in 2012. Since that time her research has been recognized with the Presidential Award for Scholarly and Creative Activity at the professor level, and numerous research grants awarded by state and federal agencies and private foundations. She is the author of two books and over 65 peer-reviewed publications on communication topics.

The McCoy Conversations series offers topical webinars for the business community to bridge academic and industry perspectives. For more information, please contact Dr. Alexis Stokes, McCoy College of Business Associate Dean for Faculty and Research, at