Alumnus Basu to head Cancer Treatment Centers of America
Not only did Basu return to the Illinois campus to receive a College of Engineering Distinguished Alumni Award, but he has also been named the new President and CEO of the Cancer Treatment Centers of America.
Basu's previous roles include President, Chief Operating Officer, and Chief Medical Officer at vRad, and President and Co-Founder of Doctor on Demand. He also served as Senior Vice President at Optum, where he worked tirelessly for more collaborative, team-based care for the chronically ill, cutting down on redundant visits and incentivizing doctors to keep patients healthy and thus lower costs.
It’s an illustrious career, especially considering Basu is only 40 years old. He credits his engineering education for much of his success.
“There are a few distinct things that mechanical engineering gave me that has applied to every aspect of my career as a doctor, as a Stanford physician, as a White House advisor to President Obama, as an executive to large organizations, all of these have stayed with me,” Basu said. “One is just a constant lens toward optimization. I literally cannot walk down a hallway or building without kind of thinking, is there a better way to do that? So it’s just a constant innovation and improvement mentality which has served me very, very well.
“The second aspect I would say is a real systems level approach to things. How do you build a system that is reliable and consistent and dependable? It’s a lifelong professional mission to build a better American Healthcare system, and by extension a better America, because it impacts so much of us on such a big scale. I think of systems, and this traces back to my engineering, if you build a really good system, it can account for human error, it can account for mistakes. But if you build a bad system, it doesn’t matter if you’ve got great people or things like that, the system will lead to bad outcomes.
“The third is probably equally important in life. It has just given me an unbelievable perseverance to be able to say, ‘I’ve done hard things before. I can do this again.’ Just in my life, there’s been tough times in med school, having to learn 8,000 drugs and 4,000 diseases in 3 weeks. I’d look back and say, ‘You know what? I’ve done harder things at Illinois Engineering.’”
As a consultant, Basu works with medical centers and Fortune 500 companies, and he is cofounder of two additional ventures: Extend MD, a web portal to enhance outpatient care, and STARS Luncheon, a nonprofit to support the career success of disadvantaged children. Dr. Basu cofounded Doctor on Demand, an app (backed by Google) that gives patients real-time access to video chat with 1,000+ physicians. The company grew into a covered benefit for over 30 million Americans.
Dr. Basu continues to play a prominent leadership role in community and public service. He was a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, White House Fellows Foundation, Truman National Security Fellow, Illinois State Board of Health, and Institute of Government & Public Affairs. He serves on the Board of Directors for the University of Illinois and Stanford University Medical Alumni Association. He is a member of key bilateral societies including U.S.-Italy Council, Atlantik-Breucke (US/ Germany), USJLP (US/Japan) and Indiaspora (US/India). As a board certified physician specializing in cancer care, he cares for veterans of the U.S. armed forces in the VA Hospital System. He has served as visiting faculty at seven major U.S. universities.
He served as a White House Fellow and Special Assistant under President Obama, where he helped execute portions of the economic and health agenda. He has served on advisory boards for Walgreens, GE, CareCredit, Mckinsey and the AMA, and has advised six private equity firms directly as an operating board member.
Basu's expertise has been featured multiple times on CBS, Fox, NBC, WGN, NPR, and CNN. He is a recipient of the AMA’s National Excellence Award for Leadership, Chicago “40 under 40” Award, Stanford Medicine’s Physician of the Year Award, and the Booth School of Business Distinguished Alumni Award.