Skip to:

The Origins, Purposes, Governance and Management of Not-for-profit Organizations

The Origins, Purposes, Governance and Management of Not-for-profit Organizations


  • Charles E. Phelps, PhD, MBA

In this special seminar, Professor Charles Phelps will address the question of why healthcare organizations run the gamut from small not-for-profit entities to large for-profit conglomerates. While some health economists have noted that not-for-profit entities build a needed sense of trust in health care, the reality is that many healthcare sectors are dominated by for-profits. Using examples from health care and other fields, Phelps will examine questions including: How does the structure and form of an organization shape its specific goals? What form of organization leads to the most socially efficient way to achieve specific goals? What are the advantages and disadvantages of for-profit and not-for-profit entities?

Charles E. Phelps came to the University of Rochester in 1984 as professor and director of the university's Public Policy Analysis Program. In 1989 he became chair of the Department of Community and Preventive Medicine in the School of Medicine and Dentistry. In 1994 he became Provost (Chief Academic Officer) of the University of Rochester, and since then has been responsible for overseeing the entire academic activity of the University, including all teaching and research and supporting services (e.g., libraries, information technology, and technology transfer) in each of the University's six schools.

Phelps has achieved national and international recognition for his scholarly research. In 1991 he was elected to the Institute of Medicine and to the National Bureau for Economic Research. He began service three years ago on the Report Review Committee of the National Research Council (the quality control process for the National Academies). His well-known textbook, Health Economics, is now in its third edition and has been translated into both French and Chinese. He has authored numerous other well-known papers in the field of health economics and medical decision making, including a 1997 paper titled "The Economic Foundations of Cost-Effectiveness Analysis," co-authored with CHP/PCOR director Alan Garber.

Phelps earned his bachelors degree from Pomona College in Claremont, California. He then earned both an hospital administration and PhD in economics from the University of Chicago. Before coming to Rochester, he worked at the RAND Corporation.