Lilly Marks has little time for extra activities. She stays active as vice president for Health Affairs at the University of Colorado and executive vice chancellor of the Anschutz Medical Campus.
But when she was asked to serve on the Kansas City Fed’s Denver Branch Board, she appreciated the chance to work with the U.S. central bank.
“I have a business and financial background,” she said. “It’s a wonderful opportunity to broaden my perspective of the economy.”
It also allows her to bring education and medicine to the board table.
“Healthcare is 18 percent of the gross domestic product,” she said. “I have perspectives about it that I think can be of great value.”
Most of her 25-year career has been in academic medicine. She served as senior associate dean of Administration and Finance at the University of Colorado School of Medicine and executive director of University Physicians Inc., prior to her current position.
Given the scope of the university and medical campus, it’s not unusual that Marks spends most of her time in meetings.
“We have 17,000 employees and $2 billion budget,” she said. “I deal with a lot of operational issues.”
The weakness of the healthcare market is distorted, Marks said. What economists normally focus on fails to incorporate all the economic issues within the industry.
“Healthcare impacts the economy several ways—it’s not just the GDP,” she said.
As adult care becomes more consolidated, doctors more specialized and hospitals burdened with increasing costs, Marks says it’s important to recognize healthcare’s role in local, regional and national economies.
Academic medicine also continues to train health professionals and medical research strives to develop new and improved medicines, medical procedures and overall medical knowledge. The costs, however, continue to rise.
“Illness is recession resistant and patient care is recession proof,” she said.
But paying for healthcare is not and neither is insurance, she said. There also are concerns about federal sequestration and state and local government budget constraints.
“I think it’s very important to present all aspects of healthcare when considering the overall economy,” Marks said. “I look forward to not only sharing these aspects, but learning about different facets of the economy from other directors.”