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September 23, 1988

Corporate Physicians: Between Medicine and Management

Author Affiliations

North American Reassurance Company New York

North American Reassurance Company New York

JAMA. 1988;260(12):1791-1792. doi:10.1001/jama.1988.03410120137046

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As a result of the deteriorating climate of private practice, salaried positions—often dreaded in the past—are now attracting quite a number of physicians. At the same time many corporations, recognizing the need for medical services (more than their value), are offering alternative opportunities to practice some of the skills acquired through medical training.

Diana Chapman Walsh, professor of behavioral sciences at the Boston University School of Public Health, undertook an ambitious project to analyze problems faced by physicians employed primarily by various industries. Her methodology included 127 separate interviews carried out between 1978 and 1982, as well as a special symposium in 1980 devoted to the subject of the corporate medical department. This was followed by an in-depth analysis of five selected corporations, resulting, as a final product, in an impressive 267-page scholarly dissertation.

The author reviews in detail historical background leading to a contemporary form of "occupational medicine" and