photo credit: © Linda J. Hirsch
Full Bio
Gary Hirsch has been consulting with organizations on management strategy and organizational change for the past 35 years. He has worked with clients in diverse areas such as health care, human services, education, and news media. He specializes in applying System Dynamics and Systems Thinking and using these techniques in the creation of simulation-based learning environments. The learning environments help people develop intuition about complex systems and problems by working with them in a manner not possible in the real world. These experiences help them understand why simplistic or fragmentary fixes don't work and how comprehensive, well-coordinated approaches are required for effective solutions.
Mr. Hirsch received SB and SM degrees from MIT’s Sloan School of Management with concentrations in System Dynamics and Public Sector Management. He then set up a Health and Social Systems Group at Pugh-Roberts Associates and managed it for 11 years. After leaving Pugh-Roberts, he became an independent consultant, working with a number of firms including Institutional Strategy Associates and Innovation Associates.
Mr. Hirsch’s work has included strategy development and program planning for a number of different health care organizations. One area of industry specialization for him has been medical schools, hospitals and other health providers in the US, The Netherlands, Pakistan, and East Africa. His work has also included the modeling of community-level delivery systems, health status improvement for communities, care of populations with particular problems such as cardiovascular disease, health manpower policies for government agencies, public policy problems such as heroin addiction and provision of children's services, and the strategic management of complex organizations such as academic medical centers. Recent work has included modeling the prevalence, treatment, and cost of chronic illnesses such as diabetes and heart failure in a community. Simulators based on these models enable a community to examine alternative approaches to preventing and managing chronic illness and assess which ones offer the most desirable impact. His latest work includes supporting emergency preparedness of communities by modeling the impact of major incidents on health care systems and assisting a state children’s services agency in the creation of a new system of care. Other models Mr. Hirsch has developed focus on contagious diseases and the control of epidemics.
Mr. Hirsch's work on simulation-based learning environments includes several projects with Innovation Associates to develop health care simulators. These simulators helped health care organizations deal with the many sweeping changes affecting their industry. One of these simulators, called “Mastering the Transition to Capitation”, was created to help health care providers adapt to changing payment patterns. Another, called “Creating Integrated Care and Healthier Communities” (CICHC), was developed in conjunction with a consortium of fourteen health care providers, the New England Health Care Assembly, and the American Hospital Association with support from Pfizer. CICHC helped providers deal with fundamental changes in how health care is organized and focus on how to keep communities healthier rather than simply treating people when they get sick. He has also developed simulators that helped news organizations understand the impact of the Internet and strategies for making the transition from printed publications to online news services. Mr. Hirsch has also helped design a simulator that lets people operating a seaport better understand how to respond to new security threats and maintain efficient operations while implementing more stringent inspection requirements.
Mr. Hirsch’s other recent work has focused on creating simulation-based learning environments for use in education. He developed a model to help school leaders understand the process of innovation in schools and then expanded on that model to help schools understand the impact of education reform on innovation. This work has led to a simulator currently under development that enables schools and their communities to examine alternative education reform strategies, develop coherent approaches to reform, and avoid pitfalls that lead to new problems. His other work in education consists of simulators developed as curricula for teaching physics and economics to high school and middle school students. He has also developed a simulator that will help teach people how to manage micro-financial institutions that make small loans in developing countries.
Mr. Hirsch is the author of three books and numerous journal and magazine articles and conference presentations about System Dynamics and Systems Thinking and their application to education, health care, human services, and other public sector management problems. He is also the author of a number of software packages that use simulation to teach complex concepts. For a number of years, Mr. Hirsch was a faculty member of MIT’s Summer Session on the Dynamics of Health Service Systems. His other interests include economic and social planning for developing countries, urban problems, delivery of welfare and related social services, and environmental problems. Another area of specialization for Mr. Hirsch has been the design of information systems for organizations’ Boards of Directors.
For more information, Please contact me at:
7 Highgate Road
Wayland, Massachusetts 01778
Gary B. Hirsch
(508) 653-0161
About Me