Physician Leadership: Enhancing the Career Development of Academic Physician Administrators and Leaders

Fairchild, David G. MD, MPH; Benjamin, Evan M. MD; Gifford, David R. MD, MPH; Huot, Stephen J. MD, PhD

Academic Medicine:

As the health care environment grows more complex, there is greater opportunity for physician administrative and management leadership. Although physicians in general, and academic physicians in particular, view management as outside their purview, the increased importance of physician administrative leadership represents an opportunity for academic physicians interested in working at the interface of clinical medicine, health care, finance, and management. These physicians are called academic physician administrators and leaders (APALs).

APALs are clinician–administrators whose academic contributions include both scholarly work related to their administrative duties and administrative leadership of academically important programs. However, existing academic career development infrastructure, such as academic promotions, is oriented toward traditional clinician–educator and clinician–researcher faculty. The APAL career path differs from traditional academic pathways because APALs require unique skills, different mentors, and a more expansive definition of academic productivity. This article describes how academic medical institutions could enhance the career development of academic physicians in administrative and leadership positions.

Author Information

Dr. Fairchild is currently chief, Division of General Medicine at Tufts-New England Medical Center, Boston, Massachusetts. At the time of writing this paper, Dr. Fairchild was director, Primary Care Services, Brigham & Women’s Hospital, and assistant professor of medicine, Department of Medicine, Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts. Dr. Benjamin is vice president, Healthcare Quality, Baystate Medical Center, and assistant professor of medicine, Tufts University School of Medicine, Springfield, Massachusetts. Dr. Gifford is assistant professor of Medicine and Community Health, Brown University School of Medicine, and chief medical officer, Rhode Island Quality Partners Inc., Providence, Rhode Island. Dr. Huot is director, Primary Care Internal Medicine Residency, and associate professor of medicine, Yale University School of Medicine, Department of Internal Medicine, New Haven, Connecticut.

Correspondence and requests for reprints should be addressed to Dr. Fairchild, Tufts-New England Medical Center, Box 212-General Medicine, 750 Washington Street, Boston, MA 02111; telephone: (617) 636-1083; e-mail: 〈〉.

For articles on related topics, see pp. 205–213, 250–257, and 258–264.

© 2004 Association of American Medical Colleges