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Programs News Kevin Storr August 19, 2020

Today, Joseph Baugh is Co-Managing Partner of Capital Growth Medvest, a Birmingham-based health care real estate development and funding group that has completed well over $1 billion in health care developments and acquisitions. But in his early 20’s, he had no idea what his future would be.

In 2001, Baugh was fresh out of college and looking for a job. That’s when his brother Tommy – older by eight years – told him he didn’t need to find a job, he needed to find his calling. He said, “Pick something you are passionate about and be the best at it. If you do that, people will pay you to do it.”

He calls it the best advice he has ever received.

Identifying Health Care Trends

Baugh’s first job in health care was with Medical Properties Trust. Today, the real estate investment trust is a publicly traded company on the New York Stock Exchange (MPW) that does around $1 billion annually in revenue. Back then, Baugh was their first hire.

“I learned so much – I owe a lot to those guys,” said Baugh. “I learned the overall business of real estate and health care, but as I traveled, I also found that there were a lot of smaller opportunities – more development-oriented deals – that did not fit MPT’s business model, but would be a great business model of its own.”

In 2008, Baugh founded Medvest, a group working to fund, own and fee-develop real estate properties for health care providers. Shortly thereafter, he joined forces with health care real estate veteran David Fowler, and they partnered with Capital Growth whose mission to deliver better health care environments aligned perfectly.

The Capital Growth Medvest team recognized a national trend early. They saw more and more downtown hospitals investing in communities, much like you see today in the Birmingham area with the UAB Health System opening clinics in Trussville, Vestavia, Hoover and more.

“I see a more patient-centered care model where they don’t want to make a patient drive all the way downtown, find a parking spot, and then go through a building maze to find their doctor,” said Baugh. “They want to make it easy on the patient and place free-standing clinics, emergency departments, surgery centers and diagnostic centers out in their community and CG Medvest is here to help them do that.”

Infusing Health Care Futures

Medvest MOBMedical Office Building, 97,000 sq ft project, AdventHealth, TampaNearly a decade ago, Jon Vice, MSHA Class 7 and former CEO of Childrens Hospital and Health System, Milwaukee, Wisconsin, asked Baugh if he had ever done anything with UAB. Baugh admitted he had bid on some projects but never been awarded the work. Vice said that is not what he meant – he meant working with the Department of Health Services Administration, home to what is now the top ranked M.S. in Health Administration program in the U.S. and more than 4,000 alumni located around the world.

The Capital Growth Medvest team initially invested in the UAB National Symposium for Healthcare Executives as an annual sponsor.

“Over the past five years working with and getting to know the department and the UAB MSHA program, I’m blown away by how productive this group is and how many strong people they have graduated,” said Baugh. “Back then the MSHA program was already ranked in the Top 10 in the nation and today they are #1 so you can see for years they have produced some of the most powerful leaders in health care.”

Capital Growth Medvest has since done several major projects and consulting work for UAB MSHA alumni leading health systems across the U.S. including John Crysel (MSHA Class 11, currently owner Dover Resource Group in Nashville), Jim Burkhart (MSHA Class 13, DSc Class 1, current partner CSuite Solutions), Mark Anderson (MSHA Class 14, DSc Class 1), and Vice, just to name a few.

“All the people from UAB are cut from the same general cloth – goal oriented,” said Baugh.

Investing in Health Care Leaders

2019 ONEMSHA DinnerONE MSHA Campaign Leaders, Supporters in 2019In early 2019, his phone started pinging with calls and texts. Health care leaders who are his mentors and others who he thinks very highly of were letting him know about a new investment opportunity. A way to directly impact the future of the health care industry. A new kind of “development” – rather than a real estate build out, it was an investment in people.

The ONE MSHA campaign was a visionary effort to raise $1 million in support of the UAB MSHA program’s #1 ranking in U.S. & News World Report. The campaign would fund multiple scholarships for students from outside of Alabama or from underrepresented populations. Both groups are vital to maintaining the diversity and excellence that helped propel the MSHA program to the top.

A scholarship in support of being #1 was a no brainer for the Capital Growth Medvest team.

“Getting to the top is not the hardest thing, it is staying at the top. It is not a one-year thing – it is a commitment year in and year out,” said Baugh. “To stay #1 you need people who believe in your mission, support your efforts and invest in your continued success. That is why we created a scholarship for the UAB MSHA program.”

The Capital Growth Medvest Endowed Scholarship in Health Administration will have a preference toward non-traditional students – those who are working parents or career changers that are pursuing higher education to better their lives and their families.

Baugh grew up in a small town with a working mother, so he understands those difficulties. He has thought about a Master’s himself many times, but admittedly is not up for the challenge of juggling kids, spouse, classes and exams. He is inspired by those who can do it all and it means a lot to him to support them.

His hope is that whoever receives the CG Medvest scholarship is able to become the health care leader they wish to be. He knows the extra stress of bills can cause distractions from lessons. He wants the scholarship to open up creativity and free students to change health care for the better.

“I want to look back one day and say Capital Growth Medvest built buildings that saved lives, but I also want to say the people we support with this scholarship will do the same on a wider scale across the country because that means even more,” said Baugh. “Helping others is important to all of us and we know the leaders graduating from the UAB MSHA program are going to evolve with health care and change health care to make it whatever it will become in 20 or 40 years from now. We want to be there to help them every step of the way.”

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