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July 24, 1987

How Best to Train Physician-Managers

Author Affiliations

St Elizabeth Hospital Medical Center Youngstown, Ohio

St Elizabeth Hospital Medical Center Youngstown, Ohio

JAMA. 1987;258(4):475. doi:10.1001/jama.1987.03400040073020

To the Editor.—  A recent Letter to the Editor by Dr Henry,1 outlining a proposal for combined MD-MBA educational programs, highlights a need that has received insufficient attention heretofore. Physicians sometimes move into positions of responsibility in our increasingly complex health care system with inadequate managerial skills and orientation. This may lead to unnecessary interpersonal conflicts and inadequate executive performance in many areas.There is, however, a danger that the model proposed by Dr Henry (concurrent medical and MBA training starting with medical students or first-year residents) will create a class of leaders with inadequate acculturation into the physician role—executives fluent in medical jargon but lacking the perspective, judgment, and dedication to patient needs that come from years of clinical experience. The result would be a cluster of managers with MD degrees who had acquired reasonable amounts of textbook medical knowledge but only superficial familiarity with the realities of