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Front Page » Education » FIU To Teach Mds To Lead

FIU To Teach Mds To Lead

Written by on July 4, 2013

By Vanessa Zambrano
The average US physician has 500 to 1,000 patients, says Modesto A. Maidique, executive director of the Center for Leadership at Florida International University. That in itself, he said, makes them leaders. Many of them also oversee staff, whether in a small private practice or a hospital.

Leadership and medicine haven’t usually been associated until now, when Dr. Maidique just announced that the center, a part of the Chapman Graduate School of Business, will launch a leadership program for physicians next spring.

The new idea to add to ongoing leadership programs came about when Bruce Avolio, author of The No People: Tribal Tales of Organizational Cliff Dwellers, pointed out that Miami is one of the great medical centers of the US, for both FIU and University of Miami have medical schools, and we have considerable infrastructure in terms of hospitals and physicians.

“We should develop a program for that industry,” reasoned Dr. Maidique, who was president of the university for 23 years.

Another impetus is that the healthcare MBA program, which is a management program for people in that industry, has been the most successful track of the business school at FIU.

“It may touch on leadership, but this should almost be a follow-up on that MBA,” Dr. Maidique said.

The Center for Leadership team has met with dozens of physicians, he said, and many of them have people working under them, whether it be five or 60.

The program would be very similar to all leadership programs offered at the FIU center in terms of teaching the “distinguishing factors of success that are important for any leader,” said Dr. Maidique, “such as self-awareness, self-understanding and self-regulation; moral compass; the ability to listen actively and interact with the other person; using those three to make informed and good judgments; persuasion, and tenacity.”

Then, what would make it specific for physicians?

“Doctors are generally not challenged by patients, nurses or assistants. They function in an unchallenged environment, so one of the things that doctors have to learn is to trust the “No People,'” said Dr. Maidique. The term, raised by Professor Avolio in his book, refers to people in business who can save you because they are the ones that don’t let you make mistakes if you listen to them, said Dr. Maidique.

He said that the skill of listening to others is taught in medical school, but many doctors lose it because they don’t get objections.

Another skill that would be taught to doctors in the program is teamwork, he said, because medicine is so specialized that physicians are educated to work by themselves. However, diagnosis would be more effective if physicians cooperated with each other and listened to one another, Dr. Maidique said. “Leadership is, to a great extent, about who the person is. We will try to provide guidance.”

Finally, the program would include notions of business, finance and marketing that the management programs offer.

The three- to five-day program is expected to be launched in the spring of 2014, and it would be able to admit 40 people at a time. The exact cost hasn’t been set, but Dr. Maidique said it would be about $6,000 to $8,000.

Doctors from any hospital or private practice are welcome, he said. The requirements are to be an MD and to have a leadership responsibility or be planning to assume it. To read the entire issue of Miami Today online, subscribe to e-MIAMI TODAY, an exact digital replica of the printed edition.