Monday, August 31, 2009

American Society of Handicapped Physicians (ASHP)

The American Society of Handicapped Physicians (ASHP) needs a corporate website. It's difficult to find information on an organization that lacks an online presence. We (or perhaps I should say, "I") have become so dependent on the Internet to find and research information. If you search for the "ASHP," the first thing you'll find is information about the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP).

Here's what I could dig up from various sources about the ASHP:
The American Society for Handicapped Physicians (ASHP) is a nonprofit membership organization founded in 1981 to provide support to and promote the interest of handicapped physicians. It aims to help handicapped physicians and medical students with rehabilitation, to aid them during their education, and to develop more employment opportunities for them. It also serves as a clearinghouse for information on the topic. Membership is open to physicians, health professionals, and other interested persons.

Serial publication: Synapse (newsletter), quarterly--news on the Society's activities and articles by and about handicapped physicians.

Description: Handicapped physicians and others concerned with the problems faced by handicapped physicians. Acts as a forum to address the needs of physically disabled physicians. Works against discrimination of the handicapped and serves as a support group and legal and career counselor. Disseminates information about resources for handicapped physicians. Plans to offer rehabilitation services. Maintains speakers' bureau and placement service; compiles statistics; offers specialized education. Founded by the late Spencer B. Lewis, M.D. and Terry Winkler, M.
According to another source:
The director is William Lambert, and the society’s address is 3424 South Culpepper Court, Springfield, MO., 65804.
Disabled physicians may not realize the fact that there are many non-clinical opportunities that might be well suited for them. I hope that I may be able to help disabled physicians come together to help each other find the opportunities and resources they need.

Shared-Residency Positions

Not sure if you can handle the harshness of residency? Don't want to get abused by overly-critical attendings? Don't want to live like a "scut monkey?" Prefer college hazing over internship? Then consider this: a shared residency position.
Shared-residency positions are offered by a few programs participating in the Match. In a shared-residency, two residents share one position, usually alternating months on clinical rotations with time off to devote to families, research, or other pursuits.
At the end of the day, you have to decide if clinical medicine is the right fit for you. Married to another medical student? Maybe you should think about this option?

To learn more about shared-residency positions, click here to go to the NRMP (National Resident Matching Program) website. Good luck finding a partner!

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Should you quit residency?

I get this question all the time: "I hate residency. I know that I want to pursue a non-clinical career in medicine. Should I quit residency?"

I always try to encourage people to endure the hardships of residency and persevere until completion. Of course, at the end of the day, I know that some people quit and drop out of residency programs. As a result, they burden their colleagues to cover their call schedules and this becomes especially problematic when you're in a small program.

My wife was a chief resident and she used to tell me all sorts of stories when her residents would quit. She was in a small program, so the impact was significant on the other residents. Fortunately, they didn't seem to have problems filling those vacant spots.

If you're thinking about a non-clinical career in medicine, remember that you'll have many more opportunities if you complete a residency. It's not essential for your success, but it will definitely open up many more doors for you if you're board certified in a recognized specialty.

Medical blogging as a bridge to medical writing

I know several physicians who began their professional medical writing career as bloggers. They were simply keeping an online journal and writing about personal (and sometimes professional) stories. What began as a hobby blossomed into a career for some of these extremely talented physicians.

If you enjoy writing, perhaps you may want to start a blog (or contribute to some blogs). This way, you can test the waters and experience what it's like to be a writer. Of course, you won't go from a blogger to a professional medical writer overnight, but blogging may be a reasonable stepping stone to help you make that transition. If you find that you really enjoy writing (via blogging), then you may wish to explore some serious career transitions into the world of medical writing.

The world of professional medical writing is so broad, but one area shares many similarities with blogs. That area is this: consumer health education/writing. Here, you have to write using ordinary language. You can't use technical jargon. You must keep your sentences simple and stick to words that don't have too many syllables. If you enjoy aspects of patient education, then you may really enjoy consumer health writing.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

BusinessWeek Best Selling Business Book

BusinessWeek has a list of hardcover and softcover business books that are on the "best selling" list. The book I'd like to highlight today is: Outliers: The Story of Success by Malcolm Gladwell. BusinessWeek describes it as, "The unexpected factors that lie behind success." You can purchase it from Amazon for less roughly $15 and it's ranked #1 on the list of hardcover business books.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Business courses this fall

The fall is rapidly approaching and there's still time to enroll in some business courses. Most courses start in early September, so time is short. I had been thinking about enrolling this fall, but I plan to wait until spring. There are simply too many things going on in my life this fall.

If you're considering a part-time MBA, you may want to think about enrolling in a single course prior to matriculation. Some business schools will allow you to "test the waters" and take 1 or 2 courses as a non-degree student. If you choose to enroll, then those credits would transfer into your degree program.

Someone needs to moderate the job board on Sermo

Sermo (an online physician community) has a job board. However, it doesn't appear that anyone is really moderating it for SPAM. Yes, even doctors are guilty of SPAMMING. In this case, I wonder if someone hacked into Sermo to post these "jobs." I'm sure they'll be gone once someone comes to clean the list.

There's a growing number of physicians looking for non-clinical jobs and opportunities. Some want some supplemental income. Others want to leave clinical medicine and work part-time. Where can you find these types of non-clinical opportunities? Occasionally, you'll find some valid ones on Sermo. Otherwise, you have to know where to do your research. I hope you'll find some useful information while you're here.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Pharma career portal: FindPharma job listings

Looking for a non-clinical physician job in the pharmaceutical industry? Perhaps you're interested in Medical Affairs. Maybe you're looking for a "Medical Director" position. FindPharma has a job portal where you can post your resume and look for jobs.

Here's an example of some of the latest job postings:
  • Covance Inc, Looking for the Best and the Brightest
  • Millennium Pharmaceuticals, Inc., Oncology Focus
  • Ash Stevens, Director Analytical Services
  • Vertex Pharmaceuticals, Project Manager, Commercial Launch
  • Xcenda, Director, Managed Markets Solutions
  • Jim Crumpley & Associates, Executive Recruiter
  • Phil Ellis Associates, Executive Search Services
  • Med Exec International, CRO Executive Search
Or, you can browse through these job categories:
  • Account and Media Management
  • Advertising/Promotion Management
  • Business Development/Strategic Planning
  • Chemist
  • Clinical Operations and Development
  • Corporate Research
  • Consulting
  • Corporate Management
  • Engineer
  • Finance Management and Auditing
  • Information Technology
  • Lab Management/Technician
  • Manufacturing
  • Market Research/Academic Research
  • Marketing Management
  • Product/Brand Management
  • QA/QC
  • R&D
  • Sales
  • Regulatory/Government Affairs
  • Training and Development/HR
To access this career portal at FindPharma, go here:

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Promotional medical education vs. certified CME

It's important to distinguish certified continuing medical education (CME) vs. promotional medical education (sorry, no acronym for this one). The phrase "med ed" is often used in the world of biotech/pharma to refer to both. Hence, it gets to be very confusing when you're talking about medical education.

To add to the confusion, the phrase "continuing medical education" is also thrown around for both certified CME and promotional med ed. This trend is changing among professionals who work in this industry. In fact, we now have CME professionals who are receiving a certification as a "certified CME professional" or CCMEP. Who offers this certification? The National Commission for Certification of CME Professionals, Inc. (NC-CME) began designating qualified individuals last summer.

So what's the difference between CME vs. promotional medical education? This list could be very long, but let me try to keep this succinct:

Credit and certificates:
  • Certified CME must be reviewed and approved by a certifying body (often referred to as a credit provider approved by the ACCME). Such certifying bodies may include medical universities, professional medical societies/associations, private companies/institutions, etc.
  • With certified CME activities, you'll receive a "certificate" for the type of credit that applies to you (such as AMA PRA Category 1 Credit™). You won't be getting any certificates for promotional activities.
  • Certified CME can be used towards medical licensure renewal. For instance, the state of Pennsylvania requires 100 hrs of CME credits each year.
Off-label use:
  • Promotional medical education is regulated by the FDA. Promotional activities generally refer to traditional "dinner meetings" and other types of industry-supported educational events that are not CME-certified. You may have seen some e-detailing programs on the Internet. Don't get these confused with CME-certified activities. You'll learn about new drugs/therapies based on FDA-approved uses. You won't be hearing about any off-label use of drugs.
  • In the world of certified CME, you may learn about off-label use (as long as it's evidence-based). However, CME is never meant to be a form of off-label promotion.
Bias and promotion:
  • Certified CME is designed to be evidence-based and fair-balanced. Whether it's industry supported or not industry supported, CME should not have any bias.
  • Promotional education often tends to also be evidence-based, but it may not always reflect peer-reviewed evidence. In other words, there are many clinical studies that never get published in any type of peer-reviewed journal. Such proprietary data may only reside within a pharmaceutical company and it may get shared at dinner meetings.
I could go on, but since it's getting late now, I'm going to stop here and write more tomorrow. The bottom line is that it's critical to differentiate whether medical education is "certified CME" vs. anything else.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Master's programs in medical writing

If you're really serious about getting a career in medical writing, you may be exploring some master's programs in medical writing. Are they worth the investment? This has been debated at length, and it's probably a bigger question right now because of the current state of the economy. If you're not guaranteed a job when you graduate, is such an investment a wise decision? I personally think it really depends on your current level of skill, experience, background, etc. I also think it depends on the type of medical writing you'd like to pursue.

The medical writing industry has become very specialized in certain fields. For instance, a writer who has worked in the regulatory environment for many years may realize that the world of medical education is entirely different. Writers who have focused on medical journalism may have difficulty transitioning into a world where you're expected to write regulatory protocols and drug safety reports. One significant benefit of a master's program is that you'll get exposed to various elements of the medical writing industry. This way, you can choose the area (or areas) you'd like to focus on.

The University of the Sciences in Philadelphia (USP) has a Biomedical Writing program that offers several options: a Master of Science in Biomedical Writing (36 credits) and Certificates in Medical Writing (12 credits each). Courses are online so you can maintain a tremendous amount of flexibility.

There are other university programs in medical writing offered by Boston University, Tufts, Johns Hopkins, Emerson, and several others. To see a nice list of programs, take a look at this AMWA page here.

Books on medical writing

Here are some books that may be of interest if you're thinking about a medical writing career:

Monday, August 24, 2009

Careers in the evolving world of CME

Over the next few weeks, I'll be writing about my personal experiences in the evolving world of certified CME (continuing medical education). I've been involved in the CME industry for a number of years on various different levels. Many physicians require CME for relicensure. Some states still don't require CME, but I see that changing in the future. We now have much more free CME available, thanks to industry support. However, will that last? Finally, what types of non-clinical physician careers are still available in the changing world of CME? We're seeing fewer jobs out there as companies choose to leave the world of certified CME and pursue opportunities in promotional education.

Perhaps one area that will remain viable is in nursing education. Nurses often refer to their continuing education (CE) credit as CEUs (continuing education units). For a long time, many states did not require nurses to have any form of CE. However, this trend is changing and nurses are eager for any type of free CE, including industry-supported CE. Will pharma and biotech companies continue to fund continuing education if it's only for nurses?

Freelance writing jobs and projects for physicians

There are so many different types of freelance medical writing opportunities for physicians. Some may take 15 minutes to briefly review and edit. Other projects may last 3 to 6 months (especially if you're a contract writer). Some writing projects don't pay, while others may pay up to several thousand dollars.

If you enjoy writing and you'd like to develop your "portfolio" of writing projects, consider a few things:
  • Do you enjoy writing casually or do you see yourself writing professionally?
  • How much do you really know about the medical writing industry?
  • Do you plan to focus on a specific area within the medical writing industry?
  • Do you plan to work full-time or part-time?
  • Are you willing to write for "free" so that you can establish a robust portfolio?
  • How many people do you know in the medical writing industry?
You're not going to become a professional medical writer in a few days. It can take several years to really establish yourself, but there may be some shortcuts that can help you get there quickly.

If you're interested in "breaking in" to the medical writing industry and you're willing to work on a few small projects (for free) to build up your portfolio, perhaps I can help. Contact me if you're interested. Once again, these projects would not involve any type of payment, but they could help you get established in the medical writing industry.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Top posts last week on

Here are the 5 most popular posts last week:
  1. Non-Clinical Medical Opportunities for Physicians and Other Clinicians

  2. Best non-clinical healthcare jobs for physicians

  3. Finding the Right Non-Clinical Opportunity

  4. Physician careers in pharmaceutical medicine

  5. Non Clinical Physician Jobs

Medical writing jobs on LinkedIn

If you're a physician and you're thinking about exploring the world of medical writing, have you taken a look at LinkedIn? Despite all the recent economic hardships faced by many companies, others are still looking for additional writers. This isn't what I would consider "peak season" for hiring, but you will find some medical writing jobs listed on LinkedIn.

I encourage you to join the LinkedIn group called, "Professional Medical / Scientific Writers." There, you'll find some full-time staff positions along with some freelance opportunities in medical writing.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Thunderbird Distance Learning MBA

I know several people who have gotten their MBA at Thunderbird School of Global Management. I've also found that many physicians have never heard of Thunderbird, but this school is nationally (and globally) ranked as a top business school, especially when it comes to international business. Physicians aren't the most business-minded individuals, so many of them are not very familiar with business schools.
#1 "International"
Full-time MBA
U.S. News & World Report 2010 (14th consecutive #1 ranking)

#1 "International Business" Full-time MBA
Financial Times 2009

#3 "Best Executive
MBA Programs"
Financial Times 2008

#7 Distance Learning MBA Economist Intelligence Unit 2008
Here's a short blurb from the Thunderbird website:
Experience a world-class business school education from the convenience of any location with Thunderbird’s top-ranked Distance Learning Global MBA program. Utilize Web-based technology and complete your MBA via the distance learning format in 19, 12 or 36 months. Access your coursework at anytime and enjoy a rich Web-based, distance learning environment, including classes, interactive chats, bulletin board postings and collaboration with global professors and classmates. While 75 percent of your learning is conducted on the Web, 25 percent takes place at on-site regional business environment seminars in locations around the globe - making our Distance Learning MBA a truly global experience.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Careers in CME (continuing medical education)

What's happening in the CME (continuing medical education) industry these days? Most physicians need CME for relicensure, so there will always be a need for CME. Pharmacists and nurses also need continuing education credits/units, but who pays for CME/CE when so much free CME/CE is readily available?

If you're interested in pursing a career in CME, you may wish to start by exploring some of the CME-related groups on LinkedIn. You may also want to explore the "CME Career Center" at the Alliance for CME (ACME) website, which can be found here:
(There aren't many jobs currently posted as of today)
For Employers: Target a focused audience of qualified CME professionals, post your jobs, search resumes or create a resume agent to get automatic email notification whenever a candidate matches your criteria.

For Job Seekers: Make your resume work for you 24 hours a day/7 days a week! Post your resume confidentially if you choose, search job listings and activate the job agent to have select jobs come to your inbox. And best of all, these services are free!
On a personal note, I'd like to add my 2 cents about industry-supported CME: I'm not sure that this is the best time to enter the CME industry. These are some turbulent times for medical education providers that primarily focus on industry-supported certified CME. Many proposals are floating around to change (or even eliminate) industry-supported CME. I don't think that industry-supported CME will ever disappear, but I do think we'll see some significant changes over the next few years. Stay tuned...

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Ways to leverage Twitter to expand your professional social network

Some of you have embraced online social media. You're using social networking sites like LinkedIn and Facebook. You also keep a blog (I hope it's not getting too dusty). You understand RSS feeds and you participate in forums. If you're really advanced, you even have an avatar (image/icon) for your blogs and forums.

So how does Twitter fit into all of this? Recently, people have asked me how I use Twitter. I use Twitter to drive traffic to my blogs, but I also use it to meet tech-savvy individuals who share some common interests. There are many ways to leverage Twitter to expand your online professional social network.

For instance, if you're interested in health IT, wouldn't you like to meet some people who work in the health IT field? Or, if you're interested in drug development, perhaps you'd like to meet some individuals who work in pharma/biotech or who work at the FDA. If you're considering a part-time career in medical writing, wouldn't you want to get to know some medical writers who have successfully made that transition? Do you have questions regarding healthcare consulting? Why not ask some of those questions to people who currently work in that industry?

Twitter is a great way to meet people in a non-threatening environment. You can befriend people quite easily and receive advice/input from them if you learn how to use Twitter (it's quite easy, actually). Here are some practical tips:
  • Retweet (RT) tweets that you find interesting.
  • Don't communicate with people using the "Direct Message" function. Because so many people automate Direct Messages, I know quite a few Twitter users who have disabled that function.
  • If you want to send a direct message to someone, use the "Reply" function using the @ symbol. For instance, if you want to send me a message, tweet: "@DrJosephKim "
  • Follow people back. You don't have to follow everyone back, but it's courteous to those who may experience follow limits imposed by Twitter.
  • Tweet regularly, but don't over-tweet. It's important to come up with a healthy balance.
I also suggest that you leverage other social networking tools such as blogs, LinkedIn, and Facebook since Twitter isn't generally sufficient if you really wish to expand your network. For professional networking, I suggest you use LinkedIn. That's currently considered the "gold standard" for online social networking.

Finally, let me remind you that we have a social network called the "Non-Clinical Healthcare Professionals." This networks is open to any clinician who'd like to explore opportunities in the business side of healthcare. As of today, we have 766 members and the network continues to grow each week. Click here to register and join.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Non-clinical physician careers in drug development

If you're interested in a career in drug development, you may want to consider receiving some official training/education. Here are some examples of DIA (Drug Information Association) courses you may wish to consider:

Clinical Statistics for Nonstatisticians
September 10-11 | Baltimore, MD

Regulatory Affairs Part I: The IND Phase
September 14-16 | Philadelphia, PA

The Leadership Experience
September 21-24 | Philadelphia, PA

High Performance Biopharm Teams
September 22-23 | Horsham, PA (DIA Headquarters)

Drug Safety Surveillance and Epidemiology
September 22-24 | Baltimore, MD

Fundamentals of Clinical Research Monitoring
September 22-24 | Baltimore, MD

New Drug Product Development and Lifecycle Management
September 24-25 | Horsham, PA (DIA Headquarters)
Developing Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs)
Three-part series begins September 15

Development of a Clinical Study Report
Three-part series begins September 29

Overview of Drug Development
Three-part series begins September 30

Fundamentals of Project Management for the Nonproject Manager
Four-part series begins October 1

Who's Monitoring the Monitor
Three-part series begins October 5
DIA is a nonprofit, multidisciplinary association that provides a neutral forum for sharing information that optimizes the process of drug development and lifecycle management through:
  • Global and regional forums for the exchange of information, education and training;
  • Extensive multidisciplinary networking opportunities;
  • Rewarding volunteer leadership experiences; and
  • High-quality professional development opportunities.
Visit the DIA here:

Non-clinical physician careers and golf

I know many physicians who golf. I also know many who don't golf. You don't have to golf to be a successful physician.

However, if you want to succeed in the non-clinical world of healthcare, you may want to learn how to play golf. You see, social interactions and relationship-building skills play critical roles in your ability to establish key networking opportunities. What happens if key members of your company frequently have golf outings and you refuse to play because you don't know how to play? What happens if your boss wants you to meet his/her boss on the golf course?

Am I being silly? Perhaps. However, I am stressing the importance of social interactions, so don't get caught up with the details. Many (certainly, not all) physicians tend to isolate themselves from social networking. They fail to recognize the importance of establishing and maintaining critical relationships both within and outside the company. Golf is a great way to keep those relationships alive. Last week, I had the chance to play golf with some great people both within and outside of my company. It was a great time to casually get to know each other in non-threatening environment.

If you do end up golfing with your boss, make sure to let him/her win. (Your promotion may depend on that!)

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Evening MBA programs for physicians

I know several people who have received their MBAs through evening programs. Does it make sense for you to get your MBA this way? If you're a physician, then you probably can't afford to devote yourself to a full-time MBA program. After all, 1-2 years of lost physician income is very difficult to make up. So what are your options if you don't want to pursue a full-time MBA?
  • Part-time MBA (Generally very flexible. Take courses at your own pace. May involve evening courses and/or online courses.)
  • Executive MBA (Structured. Generally a fixed combination of weekend courses and evening courses. May require some extended time on campus.)
  • Online MBA (Some are quite rigid and structured while others are very flexible. Some are 100% online while others require time on campus.)
Or, simply:
  • No MBA (Are you sure you need an MBA?)
Still not sure what to do? Read my other MBA-related posts to explore your options. Remember that an MBA is not necessary if you're planning on making the transition into the non-clinical side of medicine. An MBA may help you understand some of the fundamental business principles, but it won't automatically open doors for you (unless you have some strong social connections from your MBA network).

Monday, August 17, 2009

Best non-clinical healthcare jobs for physicians

Many people naturally assume that physicians work in a traditional medical specialty. In other words, if you're a surgeon, then you probably perform surgery. Even CNN's Dr. Sanjay Gupta performs occasional neurosurgery. However, he is probably better recognized as the chief medical correspondent for the health and medical unit at CNN.

If you're a physician and you're interested in switching a non-clinical career, you may be wondering whether you should stay in the healthcare industry or whether you should transition into something entirely different. Some of the skills that we learn and develop during our medical careers may translate into the business world, but many of them may not. Therefore, it's important to be realistic about expectations and goals.
  • Physicians naturally are teachers. We are expected to teach medical students during residency. You may not necessarily enjoy teaching, but you're probably talented.
  • Physicians are problem solvers. We are expected to evaluate problems and find solutions for them.
  • Physicians are able to handle large volumes of responsibility. The human life is sacred and we are given a tremendous amount of responsibility over life.
  • Physicians are highly motivated. You can't go through medical school and residency without having a high degree of motivation. However, if you're experiencing burnout or career frustration, then you may be losing motivation.
So if we evaluate all these characteristics, we see that certain things are quite common among most physicians. So what's the "best" non-clinical healthcare job for physicians who wish to leave the clinical world of medicine?

I find that the answer really depends on the characteristics that make each physician unique.
  • Some physicians really like to manage people. Others want independence.
  • Some really like administrative challenges. Others hate administrative duties.
  • Some may be good at teaching, but they may not really enjoy it. Others love to teach.
  • Some love to solve scientific and clinical problems. Others like to keep things simple.
  • Some love the challenges associated with research. Others have no experience in conducting research.
  • Some really enjoy writing. Others are very poor writers.
  • Some love to spend time with people. Others like to be alone.
  • Some love gadgets and technology. Others don't have a computer at home.
This list could go on forever. The point I wish to make is that non-clinical healthcare jobs may involve multiple elements listed above. As a physician, you have to evaluate your strengths, skills, and talents to see where you would fit. What would motivate you? What do you think you would enjoy? If you've worked in the clinical setting for many years, you may have never stopped to ask those types of questions. If you're thinking about a career change, it's critical to evaluate these factors before making any decisions.

Friday, August 14, 2009

MPH during residency?

One question that often comes up is: "Should I get an MPH (Master of Public Health) while I'm going through residency?"
  • If you're in a preventive medicine residency, you're probably getting an MPH through your residency program.
  • If you're in a fairly "busy" residency, you probably won't have time for the MPH coursework during residency. You could take one year off and do an intensive one-year MPH.
  • If you're in a rather "cush" residency, then I suppose you could take a few MPH courses and start your MPH degree. However, you probably won't finish the MPH before your residency is over.
Remember: you can always get your MPH after you complete your residency. If you take one or two courses each semester, it's really not too bad.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Fundamentals of Clinical Research

The Association of Clinical Research Professionals (ACRP) has a two-day course coming up. It's called: Fundamentals of Clinical Research

Sept. 10-11, 2009, Houston, TX
Oct. 15-16, 2009, Alexandria, VA

Fundamentals of Clinical Research is designed for those who aspire to the following roles: clinical research professionals managing studies at clinical research sites or monitoring studies, product managers, clinical investigators, institutional review board members, clinical pharmacologists, and research pharmacists.

Here are the learning objectives (you can receive continuing education credits):
* Discuss the main historical events which led to the increasing regulation of the development of medicinal products, devices and biologics
* Explain the differences in the development processes for medicinal products, devices and biologics
* Identify the roles and responsibilities of clinical research professionals in the overall process of conducting a clinical trial and how each professional contributes to that process
* Apply the principles of Good Clinical Practice (GCP) in their daily functions
* Identify the main regulations which govern the practice of clinical research
* Observe the additional rules applicable to research funded by the Federal government and bodies like the NCI and NIH
* Identify ethical issues involved with conducting clinical research
* Identify the protections given to human subjects in research
* Describe the process of obtaining informed consent from human subjects
* Describe the respective roles and responsibilities of clinical research professionals notably Clinical Research Coordinators (CRCs), and Clinical Research Associates (CRAs)
* Identify and evaluate Unanticipated Problems
* Define the criteria for reporting unanticipated problems and adverse events
If you're interested in pursuing a career in clinical research, then you may want to evaluate your skills and competencies based on the learning objectives listed above. How well can you explain/identify/describe/discuss/etc. each of the points listed above?

For more information about this course, click here.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Top Business Schools According to Forbes

According to the August 24, 2009 issue of Forbes Magazine, the top 10 business schools are:
  1. Stanford
  2. Dartmouth (Tuck)
  3. Harvard
  4. Chicago (Booth)
  5. Pennsylvania (Wharton)
  6. Columbia
  7. Cornell (Johnson)
  8. Northwestern (Kellogg)
  9. Virginia (Darden)
  10. Yale
They list 50 schools but I'm not going to include the entire list. GMAT scores for the top schoools are typically in the 700's. So are you thinking about B-School? Vave you taken your GMATs? Some business schools will actually allow you to waive the GMAT if you have a terminal or doctorate degree. Sounds nice, doesn't it? If you're a physician, you've probably taken enough standardized tests. I don't think you'll miss the GMAT if you can manage to avoid it.

Health IT jobs for physicians looking for non-clinical careers

With all the recent buzz about health information technology (health IT), you may be wondering: "what are the various types of health IT jobs that are currently available for physicians?"

You probably won't find many books on this issue. The health IT field has been growing over the past decade, but we're about to see a significant explosion because of the HITECH provisions within ARRA (American Recovery and Reinvestment Act). Recently, I've seen more webinars and conferences on health IT then I've ever seen. There is a lot of excitement about health IT, but many physicians who are interested in a non-clinical career in health IT simply don't know where to begin.

You may not jump to a Chief Medical Information Officer (CMIO) right away, but there are many other types of opportunities depending on your level of training and experience. I predict a growing role for health IT consultants who can help physicians, clinics, offices, and hospitals choose and implement electronic health record (EHR) and computerized physician order entry (CPOE) solutions. We will see an increase in e-prescribing usage. More physicians will rely on smartphones and other mobile computing devices on a regular basis. EHR companies will be looking for more clinical experts and consultants who can help them market, deploy, and distribute their products. Strategic partnerships will occur among companies that wish to combine resources and offer turn-key packages. Start-up companies will be looking for clinical experts and medical consultants who can help them develop marketable services and/or products. The bottom line is that I think we will see a large growth of non-clinical physician jobs in the health IT industry.

So, are you excited about information technology? Do you have strong computer skills? Maybe you should consider a career in health IT. Interested in receiving career advice from some health IT physicians? Contact me if you're interested.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Pharmaceutical Executive: August 2009

I've been approached by many physicians who are looking for non-clinical jobs within the pharmaceutical companies. If you're interested in becoming a pharmaceutical physician executive, then perhaps you may want to start by reading and staying up-to-date on some of the current events that's going on in the pharma world.

Let me introduce you to Pharmaceutical Executive, a journal published by Advanstar Communications, Inc. If you'd like to read the August issue, click on this link to view the journal in digital format. One thing that I really like about the digital format is that you can click directly on many parts of the journal to open hyperlinks. That just makes things very convenient.

Eventually, you may want to join the Academy of Pharmaceutical Physicians and Investigators (APPI) if you see yourself having a non-clinical career in the pharmaceutical industry.

Emerging jobs poised for growth

As this country goes through major economic challenges, CNN/CareerBuilder has an article titled, "Seven emerging jobs poised for growth." Two of those seven jobs are in healthcare.

Let me focus on three of those jobs that are listed:
#2. Health informatics technician

Each time you go to the doctor, everything about the visit is added to your medical file. As health-care facilities everywhere make the change to electronic medical records, informatics technicians not only transition the files, but they use computer systems to help doctors analyze, diagnose and treat patients based on the information they are given. This computer data also improves care, controls costs and provides documentation for use in legal actions.

Industry umbrella: Health care
Job growth*: 18 percent
Salary**: $31,208

#6. Career counselor

Workers need jobs; employers need workers. With the present economy, career counselors are needed more than ever. They offer job seekers career guidance and job-hunting advice, and can to help them improve their well-being through their work.

Career counselors differ from a career coach in that not only will they help you in terms of your career, they will also seek to improve your overall mental health.

Industry umbrella: Human resources
Job growth: N/A
Salary: $47,074

#7. Patient advocate

Anyone who's ever had health issues knows that the health-care system is not the easiest thing to navigate, especially when you or a loved one is sick. That's what patient advocates are there for. As the population continues to age and health worsens, patient care advocates will become more important to the job market.

Advocates ensure that patients are informed, visiting with the right specialists and taking the right medicines, as well as educating family members on how to care for their sick relative. Perhaps most importantly, patient advocates will sort through medical bills and negotiate fees with health-care providers and insurance companies.

Industry umbrella: Health care
Job growth: 24 percent (for medical and public health social workers)
Salary: $47,560 (for medical and public health social workers), according to the BLS
So, do any of those sound interesting to you? I think the most potential lies in the health information technology (health IT) field. However, you have to be somewhat tech-savvy to really get into health IT. You don't necessarily need formal training in health IT or medical informatics, but such training would certainly be helpful.

You may also be wondering, why did I include "career counseling" in the list above? Well, the answer is because I see this area really growing within healthcare as physicians choose to pursue non-clinical jobs. If you're looking for career counseling services, please contact me because I may be able to help you. Otherwise, I encourage you to use this site as a resource and please tell others about it.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Non-clinical jobs for disabled physicians

I know many disabled physicians who have transitioned into different areas of non-clinical medicine. They have found some great non-clinical physician jobs. For instance, if you're an surgeon and you develop rheumatoid arthritis, you could transition into family medicine or internal medicine. However, maybe you'll be better in a corporate (non-clinical) environment.

You may get disabled to perform your primary duties as a physician, but as long as your mind is sharp and you're able to communicate, you can probably be very effective in some non-clinical areas of healthcare. Here are a few examples of disabled physicians I've met over the years:
  • Surgeon who developed severe arthritis. Now works at Blue Cross/Blue Shield as a medical director.
  • Surgery resident who developed severe back problems. Now runs his own medical company called Sermo.
  • An OB/GYN who was in a serious motor vehicle accident. She now works from home and does some medical writing and public speaking.
Many disabled physicians continue to work in some limited capacity. They may not be seeing patients or performing surgery, but they often find a non-clinical physician job that provide them with the flexibility they need. Perhaps you'll want to work from home. Computing technology has vastly improved to easy usability for people with disabilities.

Depending on your type of disability insurance plan, you may still be qualified to receive disability compensation if you don't treat patients as a physician but work in a non-clinical setting. This way, you can work part-time and still receive disability income.

Medical specialties to avoid direct patient care?

Some physicians (or medical students) discover (or decide) that they wish to avoid direct patient care. You may wonder, "why did you go to medical school?" Well, there could be a variety of reasons why people choose to pursue a career in medicine. That doesn't necessarily mean that they're going to enjoy direct patient care.

If you're a medical student and you discover that you really don't wish to have a career that involves direct patient care, then you're often told to consider some "classic" examples such as:
  • Radiology
  • Pathology
  • Preventive medicine/public health
or, you may decide to:
  • Pursue a non-clinical career
So, what's the right answer for you if you wish to avoid direct patient care? Do you think that you'd be satisfied as a radiologist or a pathologist? How about working in public health or preventive medicine? Health policy? Health IT? Become a physician executive? Medical management? How about medical research? Medical writing? Healthcare consulting?

I often get approached by medical students who decide they don't wish to pursue clinical medicine that involves any level of direct patient care. What are their options? Where do they start? I hope that this site may be a useful resource for those who find themselves struggling with such career decisions.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

BLS Employment Situation News Release

The other day, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics released an update on the current employment situation in the USA. In July, the number of unemployed persons was 14.5 million. The unemployment rate was 9.4 percent. Here are a few points:
  • Employment in professional and business services continued to trend down in July (-38,000); the industry has shed 1.5 million jobs since the start of the recession.
  • Financial activities employment continued to trend down in July (-13,000). The average monthly decline for this industry was 23,000 over the past 3 months compared with 46,000 per month from November through April. Since the start of the recession, the financial activities industry has lost 501,000 jobs. Employment in information declined by 16,000 in July, including losses in publishing and telecommunications.
Meanwhile, we see some positive changes in the healthcare sector:
  • Health care employment increased by 20,000 in July, about in line with the average monthly gain for the first half of this year but down from an average monthly increase of 30,000 during 2008.
You sure you want to leave the clinical world of medicine?

Top 5 posts from last week on

Here are the top 5 posts from last week on
  1. Non-Clinical Medical Opportunities for Physicians and Other Clinicians

  2. Recommended Reading

  3. 5 High Paying Medical Careers That Don't Require A 4+ Year Degree

  4. The Best Non-Clinical Healthcare Jobs

  5. Medical Fusion Conference

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Maintaining a healthly work-life balance

How do you balance work and life? Many physicians have a tendency to become workaholics. I admit that I'm one of those people. It's easy to feel like you have so much on your plate that you have to work all the time. At what point do you determine that you need to reduce your workload? If you're not constantly evaluating your work-life balance, then you may quickly find that your family life has deteriorated to the point of no return. This is probably one of the major reasons why some physicians have such high divorce rates. If you're not cultivating your family life and maintaining a healthy balance outside of work, then that world outside of work may disintegrate.

So how do you balance work and life if you're a physician? Perhaps you've decided that working in the clinical setting is killing your marriage. Maybe you are still working too many hours as a physician. Are you sure that switching to a non-clinical career is going to improve things? Or will you simply turn into a corporate workaholic trying to climb the ladder or keep up with your busy workload? Perhaps you want to work from home so that you can spend more time with your family. Does that mean that you'll be working all the time? What if you have difficulty separating work from family life if you're working from home?

Over the years, I've found that people who are workaholics in the clinical setting tend to also live as workaholics in the non-clinical (or business) side of medicine. Therefore, if you're a physician and you're looking for a non-clinical job so that you can spend more time with your family, make sure you're being realistic. Perhaps you can make changes now and have a healthier work/life balance. Perhaps you don't need to transition into the non-clinical sector to attain that. Some physicians who move into the business side find that they have even less time for family life because of all the new and different types of work-related responsibilities they carry. I hope you're constantly evaluating yourself so that you can maintain a healthy work/life balance.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Finding a non-clinical physician job

What's the best way to find non-clinical physician jobs? If you're transitioning out of clinical medicine, then you may not know where to begin. For seasoned physician executive veterans who know have been out of clinical medicine for several years, the search can still be difficult in today's economic environment. Where do you begin?
  • Search engines: Physicians often type "non-clinical physician jobs" into Internet search engines like Google and Yahoo. Are they finding what they need?
  • Recruiters: What about executive recruiters (also known as headhunters, executive search consultants, etc.)? How many do you know? I currently have a growing list of them and I maintain that list regularly.
  • Job boards: Here, you may get overwhelmed by the types of jobs that are listed on Monster, Career Builder, Indeed, Hot Jobs, etc. Do you know what to look for when you're searching job boards? Are you able to filter your results?
  • Social networking: If you have an extensive social network, then you can reach out and see if anyone may know of any potential leads. The power of social media such as LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter may help you tremendously.
  • Job fairs: Not a bad place to start if you have an open mind and if you're willing to be a sales rep, a medical science liaison (MSL) or some other type of field agent.
  • Company websites: Here, you may have some luck if you're looking at large corporations. Even smaller companies often list a "Careers" section on their website. Be prepared to fill out a bunch of online applications.
  • Newspapers: I don't know that you'll find much here these days.
  • Medical journals: You may find some great clinical opportunities, but you'll see few (if any) non-clinical physician job listings.
So, how do you plan to look for your next non-clinical physician job? I hope you plan to use a combination of the approaches listed above.

AMWA Medical Writing Conference

The American Medical Writers Association (AMWA) has its annual conference coming up in October 22-24 in Dallas, TX. It's a great opportunity for networking and to learn about the different opportunities within the medical writing industry. The theme this year is "Blazing the Trail." They are also featuring a Free Recruiting Opportunity: Job Board.

The American Medical Writers Association (AMWA), founded in 1940, is the leading professional organization for medical communicators. To learn more about AMWA and the annual conference, visit:

MIT Career Fair on September 17

The MIT Class of 2010, the Graduate Student Council, and the Society of Women Engineers cordially invite you to the MIT Career Week 2009, from Monday September 14th to Friday September 18th, 2009. This is the single largest career recruiting event at MIT during the academic year, culminating in the only institute wide Career Fair, Thursday September 17th, 2009 from 10:00AM to 6:00PM in the Johnson Athletics Center (Building W34).

MIT Career Week will feature a vast array of company‐sponsored presentations and information sessions open only to current students and alumni of MIT, thereby presenting an extraordinary opportunity for employers and students to meet one‐on‐one and discuss careers in a variety of fields. The schedule and more details about these events can be found on our website: http://career‐

Last year’s MIT Career Fair drew representatives from over 300 companies from a variety of sectors and we invite alumni of all degree levels: BS, MS, and PhD, seeking permanent employment to attend.

If you are interested in attending the Career Fair to meet company representatives, please register as an MIT alumnus here: http://career‐

The online resume submission deadline is 11:59 PM Friday, September 11th 2009. Please dress professionally for the event and bring hard copies of your resume.

This is an exclusive event limited to current undergraduates, graduates, and alumni of MIT. Please bring identification of former student status such as your brass rat to the Fair!

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Job Post: Health Research Analyst

The Center for Studying Health System Change (HSC) in Washington, D.C., is seeking a Health Research Analyst to participate in research on how the health system is changing and the effects of these changes on health care costs, quality, access and care delivery.

Major Responsibilities

The Health Research Analyst will contribute primarily to qualitative research, although there may be opportunities to participate in quantitative research. The Analyst participates in all phases of the research process, working with researchers to identify research topics, develop analysis plans and interview protocols and conduct literature reviews. The Analyst schedules and participates in respondent interviews, takes notes during interviews and codes interview data. The Analyst also collaborates with other research staff in analyzing findings and drafting written products, including issue briefs and peer-reviewed journal articles. In addition to research responsibilities, the Analyst participates in writing proposals, developing budgets and tracking project costs.

Qualifications for Position
• Master’s degree in economics, public policy, public health, statistics or related discipline with superior academic record
• At least one year’s experience in a similar setting is preferred
• Background and strong interest in health services and policy research
• Strong organizational skills with demonstrated ability to work efficiently, accurately and independently
• Excellent written and oral communication skills and keen ability to deal tactfully and diplomatically with others
• Strong computer skills; familiarity with qualitative analysis software a plus
About the Center for Studying Health System Change

Founded in 1995, the Center for Studying Health System Change (HSC) is a nationally renowned nonpartisan health policy research organization focused on the cost, quality and accessibility of health care in the United States. HSC conducts quantitative research using large national data sets, including surveys of households and physicians, and qualitative research using information gathered in telephone and in-person interviews of public- and private-sector decision makers. We focus on objective, timely and policy-relevant research and disseminate our findings to policy makers, the news media, employers, health care providers, insurers and the public. HSC is funded from diverse sources, including major health care foundations and agencies in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. HSC is affiliated with Mathematica Policy Research, a leader in evaluating the effectiveness of local, state and federal health, human services and educational programs. For more information about HSC, please visit our Web site: http:///

HSC offers a supportive and collegial working environment, a competitive salary commensurate with your qualifications, and comprehensive benefits.

If you're interested in this opportunity, please contact me.

Finding a non-clinical physician job using Twitter

You may have heard some stories in the news where people are using Twitter to find jobs. Most of you have probably never used Twitter, so it may be a bit difficult to imagine how this social media "tool" can be used to help people find jobs.

Imagine sending an e-mail to over 10,000 people and suppose that 10% read the e-mail. Then, let's imagine that among those 1000 who read your message, another 10% send that e-mail to people they know. As a result, your single message may reach several thousand people within a matter of seconds, minutes, or hours (this really depending on how many people are in your Twitter network).

That's how quickly Twitter can disseminate your message. It's a broadcast medium. If you're broadcasting a new job position (or the need for a job), then you can be sure that your message will get spread quickly and efficiently.

Work part-time or switch to a non-clinical career?

One question that I often get asked is: "I'd like to have more flexibility in my life. Is it better to work part-time in a clinical setting or to transition to a non-clinical career?"

The answer obviously depends on your level of clinical responsibilities and duties. If you're a trauma surgeon, I don't know how many part-time positions you'll find where you'll gain more flexibility in your life. If you're a pediatrician, then I'm sure you can find other partners who'd be willing to split schedules with you.

The transition into the non-clinical world isn't for everyone. The corporate life probably isn't suitable for most physicians. A flexible small business may be a better environment where certain people may thrive while others need the pressure-driven corporate environment that's often surrounded by rigid policies and clearly-defined structure. Some people like to "wear many hats" while others like to have a single, focused role.

At the end of the day, it's probably going to be easier to find a part-time clinical position compared to making the jump into the non-clinical (or business side) of medicine. However, as you assess your long-term career goals, here are a few things to consider:
  • Do you want to have the flexibility to work from home at your own schedule?
  • Do you consider yourself to be an entrepreneur?
  • Do you actually enjoy clinical medicine? Will you really miss it if you leave?
  • What types of family responsibilities do you have?
  • How do you prioritize in your life?
  • How do you define success?
  • What motivates you?
Always consider your long-term goals as you set short-term and medium-term goals. You won't achieve your long-term goals overnight, but you need to have a structured plan if you'd like to get there.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Recommended Reading

I'll be updating this list of recommended books periodically. You can also find these same books by looking in the right column of this website. Would you like to suggest a book? Add a comment or send me an e-mail.

Rutgers Mini-MBA: Strategic Healthcare Management Program

If you're been thinking about getting an MBA but you're not ready to make that level of time and financial investment, then perhaps you may want to look at the Rutgers Mini-MBA: Strategic Healthcare Management Program. If you complete this course, you could transfer your credits if you choose to apply to the Rutgers MBA program. I just got a brochure in the mail about this opportunity. The curriculum for the Strategic Healthcare Management Program involves:

  • Future Challenges in Healthcare: Globalization, New Technologies, Talent, and Competition
  • Public Policy and Healthcare Economics
  • The Healthcare Marketplace: Evolving Stakeholders, Decision-makers and Payers
  • The Principal Financial Statement: Understanding Healthcare Transactions
  • Financial Tools for Healthcare Decision Making
  • Designing Effective Healthcare Organizations
  • Supply Chain Management
  • Medical Technology Systems
  • Quality and Safety
  • Practice Management
  • Ethics and Social Responsibility
  • Strategic Marketing and Positioning
  • Market Dynamics and Strategy Development
  • Managing Strategic Transformation in Healthcare
They also offer other Mini-MBA programs in:
  • Business Essentials
  • BioPharma Innovation
  • Finance Essentials
  • BioPharma Entrepreneurship
You can learn more by visiting:
Register by September 1 and use the code SHCEB to receive a 10% discount.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Physician careers in pharmaceutical medicine

I had a pleasant chat today with a physician who has been working in the pharmaceutical industry for several years. It was interesting to hear how he transitioned from the clinical world of academia to the pharmaceutical world.

You'll find all sorts of physicians who have built a career in pharmaceutical medicine. Some are in their thirties and skipped residency. Others transitioned into pharma while they were in their fifties. How do these people do it? You don't need an MBA to work in a pharmaceutical company. You also don't need to have a long list of publications. These things may help, but they are certainly not essential.

How many physicians do you know who currently work for a pharmaceutical company? What do they do? Are they involved in marketing? Clinical research? Health outcomes? Drug safety monitoring? Medical education? Public health? Pharmacoeconomics? Drug development? Regulatory affairs? Quality control? Medical affairs? Professional education and development? Medical writing? Managed markets? Managed care?

As a physician, there are so many possible career paths within the pharmaceutical industry. If you wish to learn more about some of these possible physician careers in pharmaceutical medicine, I encourage you to subscribe to my blog posts and visit this site frequently. The best way to learn is to hear some first-hand experiences from people who currently work in these areas.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Most popular books about non-clinical physician jobs

Here are two of the most popular books that my readers are purchasing:

Both of these books are excellent resources for physicians who are interested in making a career transition into the non-clinical world of medicine. Interested in additional books? Take a look at my recommended picks in the right column of this website.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Why Physicians Choose to Move to Non-Clinical Positions

This is a guest post written by Adrienne Carlson.

Why Physicians Choose to Move to Non-Clinical Positions

It’s a long and arduous road that leads to becoming a doctor, so you would think that once there, people do not want to leave at all. They’re only interested in furthering their careers and moving up the skill scale. So it comes as a small surprise when you see that physicians choose to move to non-clinical positions which neither pay as well nor offer the same kind of prestige that being a doctor does. But, people do make the change, because:
  • Money is no longer the driving factor: They’ve reached a point in their life where they’ve made enough money to live comfortably. And with their kids all grown up and out of the nest, there’s no driving need to keep making more and more of the green stuff. This is why doctors don’t mind when they take on non-clinical positions that don’t pay as much as they’re used to earning.
  • The desire to be an entrepreneur is strong: Some physicians are bitten by the entrepreneurial bug – they want to set up their own business. And so they quit their practices or positions at hospitals and other healthcare settings. Perhaps it is the challenge of something new, perhaps it is more suitable for their temperaments; whatever the reason, they do make the switch from medical man to businessman.
  • They are no longer fully fit to practice medicine: There are some doctors, especially surgeons, who are not able to perform their duties because of physical infirmities due to aging or accidents. Their hands may not be as steady or they may have suffered debilitating and permanent injuries that prevent them from working efficiently in the OR. They then choose to stay on in the medical field, in a non-clinical position.
  • They prefer to slow down the pace: Some doctors want to slow things down as they grow older. They want more time for their families and personal needs, and so they choose to move to a less demanding job.
  • They don’t like practicing medicine: Sounds strange, but it is true. Some doctors hate to practice medicine and treat patients, although they do wish to stay on as part of the medical fraternity. Non clinical positions allow them to seek alternative employment options within hospital settings.
The move from a clinical to a non-clinical setting is one that requires a great deal of thought and deliberation, because the new job will not pay as much as the old one or come with the same amount of responsibility and status.

This guest article was written by Adrienne Carlson, who regularly writes on the topic of radiography technician salary. Adrienne welcomes your comments and questions at her email address:

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Top posts in July for

July was a really busy month here on as we launched a career counseling service that attracted a very large number of physicians who are interested in pursuing non-clinical careers in medicine. To be quite candid, I was overwhelmed by the response and it was beyond what I was expecting. It was a good month and I think we'll see some interesting developments in August.

Thanks to those who submitted a guest blog post in July. Here are the top posts for July:
  1. Non-Clinical Medical Opportunities for Physicians and Other Clinicians

  2. The Best Non-Clinical Healthcare Jobs

  3. 5 High Paying Medical Careers That Don't Require A 4+ Year Degree

  4. Find a Non-Clinical Mentor

  5. 20 Highest Paying Jobs

  6. Consulting for McKinsey or the Boston Consulting Group

  7. Freelance Medical Writing Jobs on Elance

  8. How do you find non-clinical jobs?

  9. 10 tips for physicians interested in a health IT career

  10. Health IT Jobs for Physicians

This month, search engine traffic represented 29% of the overall site traffic. You can probably guess what people are typing into Google to land here.

Establish and build your online presence

If you're seeking a career change into the business world of medicine, make sure to establish and build your online presence. Why? Because people will search your name in Google. One of the easiest ways to establish yourself online is by using social media such as LinkedIn and Twitter. I'm not going to talk about Facebook because many people primarily use that for personal networking and not for professional purposes.

So, do you have a LinkedIn profile? You can customize your URL so that it's easy to remember. How about Twitter? Have you played around with that yet?

Of course, if you're really determined, then you can establish a blog and even a website that lists your bio. However, make sure you don't list too much personal information that you risk compromising your privacy.

If you care to connect, join me here:
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