Tom Erickson returned to campus to direct the new Faculty of Computer system, Info and Details Sciences

The September 2021 announcement of a key fundraising campaign — which will include things like a state-of-the-art building — to enable launch the University of Wisconsin–Madison’s new School of Laptop or computer, Details and Facts Sciences, or CDIS, brought with each other an array of campus luminaries.

Chancellor Rebecca Blank was there that day at the Discovery Developing. So were being John and Tashia Morgridge, alumni who contributed a staggering $125 million to the new organization, and Erik Iverson, CEO of the Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation, or WARF, which granted $50 million.

It’s fitting that the one particular ideal equipped to respect the working day in historic context — past getting prologue — was the new school’s founding director, Tom Erickson.

As the very first UW–Madison freshman at any time employed at the engineering building’s computer system lab, Erickson witnessed his future extra than 4 many years ago.

The lab was in the basement of the engineering building. This was the 1970s. Erickson basically realized computers — his significant school in Mondovi, Wisconsin, had a terminal joined to an early laptop or computer at the College of Wisconsin–River Falls.

But the vital was that Erickson’s desk in the engineering lab was following to an previous dot-matrix printer. All the graduate researchers arrived by for their printouts.

“I acquired to fulfill them,” Erickson states. “They have been applying these pc applications to clear up extremely intricate challenges that fairly frankly couldn’t be completed in any other case. It piqued my fascination and was persuasive to me, for confident.”

Erickson went on to a very productive entrepreneurial job in the tech business that took him all over the earth, most not too long ago to Boston at Acquia, a net written content administration program business that had 800 employees and around $175 million in once-a-year earnings when Erickson retired as CEO in 2017.

Tom Erickson1

Photo by Patrick Stutz

Now, for an encore, Erickson has arrive residence to Wisconsin, on the lookout to give back to the location wherever he got his begin.

“I really like the point out of Wisconsin and I enjoy the university,” he states. “It gave me an option I couldn’t have dreamed of.”

Erickson’s father ran a components retailer in Mondovi that was started out in 1905 by Erickson’s excellent-grandfather and is continue to operated by his sister.

Erickson absorbed the smaller-city values, accompanying his father on a pre-dawn farm take a look at to support a farmer who essential his water pump mounted to milk his cows. “You took care of each other,” he suggests.

But his father also shared stories of his far-flung Navy everyday living, as properly as pics and unique coins that stirred in his son a want to see the globe.

As a UW–Madison junior in electrical and laptop engineering, Erickson applied, unsuccessfully, for a cooperative schooling (outdoors the classroom) application in then-Yugoslavia. He had greater luck with multinational power big Chevron Corp.’s co-op plan, which took him to San Francisco.

Early on, he

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California need to direct on wellness technological know-how evaluation

In summary

An institute of overall health know-how evaluation could measure the value of clinical treatments to eliminate wasteful shelling out.

By Darius Lakdawalla

Darius Lakdawalla is the director of investigation at the USC Schaeffer Center for Wellbeing Coverage & Economics. 

Dana Goldman, Special to CalMatters

Dana Goldman is dean of the USC Selling price Faculty of Community Plan and co-director of the Schaeffer Heart.

How substantially cash is California wasting each year in Medi-Cal, the $112 billion well being insurance policy plan at present serving a person-third of the state’s inhabitants?   Or how about in CalPERS, the point out personnel pension and health plan, which spends additional than $9 billion to order well being added benefits for its 1.5 million users?

Wide estimates propose we could lessen investing by about $30 billion each year devoid of harming people’s health. But we seriously never know where to cut. We really do not even know how to discover out, simply because California does not overview which treatment options are worthy of the income and which are not.  

A superior location to start off monitoring down this waste is by systematically assessing the effectiveness and benefit of gadgets, medications, treatments and other merchandise that the point out is covering. An unbiased California Institute of Well being Technological innovation Evaluation could be set up with out direct regulatory authority but with the knowledge that could impact decisions across a wide array of technologies and well being care providers. 


Photograph an business office stocked with researchers, economists, doctors and other wellness treatment industry experts who would suggest Medi-Cal and CalPERS on what to cover and how much to pay out. For illustration, must the state agree to shell out for back again functions that help only a fraction of clients? On the other hand, is a refusal to obtain an expensive capsule shortsighted if it can remedy a high-priced long-term ailment? 

Proper now, payment selections revolve generally around the rebates that the condition negotiates with drug and machine makers. These rebates often bear no romance to what the prescription drugs and equipment do.  

A California Institute of Well being Technology Assessment would level out which technologies have decreased efficacy, and hence really should rebate a lot more to the point out, and which ones are offering extra benefit, and would be qualified to pay out decreased rebates.  This type of facts could gain privately insured Californians much too, since health and fitness care vendors, insurers, employers, overall health treatment innovators and many others all obtain from recognizing which solutions do the job very best for which individuals.

In a excellent earth, the federal governing administration would do this type of health technological innovation assessment. In the absence of action in Washington, California could consider the direct on the long-sought go toward benefit-dependent pricing of well being technological know-how.  Just as it did with stem cell investigation, California is in placement to believe …

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