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Institutional Leadership and Faculty Response: Fostering Professionalism at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine

Wasserstein, Alan G. MD; Brennan, Patrick J. MD; Rubenstein, Arthur H. MBBCh

doi: 10.1097/ACM.0b013e31815763d2
Professionalism

Fostering professionalism requires institutional leadership and faculty buy-in. At the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, policies and educational programs were developed to enhance professionalism in three areas: conduct of clinical trials, relations with pharmaceutical manufacturers, and the clinical and teaching environment. Responsible conduct of clinical trials has been addressed with mandatory online education and certification for clinical investigators, but some still fail to recognize conflicts of interest. Activity of pharmaceutical representatives has been strictly regulated, meals and gifts from pharmaceutical companies prohibited, and the role of the pharmaceutical industry in the formulary process and in continuing medical education curtailed. Some faculty members have resented such restrictions, particularly in regard to their opportunity to give paid lectures. Professionalism in the clinical and teaching environment has been addressed with interdisciplinary rounding, experiential learning for medical students and residents in small groups, increased recognition of role models of professionalism, and active management of disruptive physicians. Leadership has been exerted through policy development, open communications, and moral suasion and example. Faculty members have expressed both their support and their reservations. Development of communication strategies continues, including town hall meetings, small groups and critical incident narratives, and individual feedback. The understanding and endorsement of faculty, staff, and trainees are an essential element of the professionalism effort.

Dr. Wasserstein is vice dean, Faculty Affairs, University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

Dr. Brennan is chief medical officer and senior vice president, University of Pennsylvania Health System, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

Dr. Rubenstein is dean, School of Medicine, and executive vice president, University of Pennsylvania Health System, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

Correspondence should be addressed to Dr. Wasserstein, Renal Electrolyte and Hypertension Division, Seventh Floor CRB, University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, Philadelphia, PA 19104; telephone: (215) 662-2525; fax (215) 615-0349; e-mail: (alan.wasserstein@uphs.upenn.edu).

© 2007 Association of American Medical Colleges