SC Interim Medical School Dean named
Until recently, it’s paid off to get famous docs, for prestige. These same prestigious docs,  however, spend a great deal of their time at conventions, seminars and in meetings and administrative work, plus public relations and granting interviews.

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That leaves relatively little time for practicing medicine, and teaching med students, residents and fellows, which is the whole point of medical school. If one of these docs is your doc or surgeon, you may have to wait months for an appointment, or see an associate. That’s why I think the Prestigious Dean Idea is largely unsuccessful, as well as somewhat corrupt. There will never be any shortage of highly qualified applicants applying to medical schools, so the objective of the Prestigious Doc hunt is mostly to recruit these famous docs to lead research.  They are paid exorbitant salaries and benefits, which ultimately become decades-overdue student loans and shortfalls, which leave most new MDs behind the 8-ball for 20 or 30 years. 

In addition -- and as if the responsibility and pressure any doctor or surgeon works with isn’t enough -- these positions as world-famous, “super-star” doctors carry enormous expectations and obligations to recruit and make public relations appearances. 

We don’t have proof yet, but I believe there is probably a connection between these nearly impossible demands on these special doctors and surgeons -- and the problems some of them have been involved with: problems that cause their departments, medical schools and possibly their students tremendous embarrassment, suspicion or outright loss of respect, and damage to honor and responsibility. Is the current market value of an All-Star doctor worth the cost and the risk, and the potential damage? 

[How well has USC been vetting its med school officials?]

As almost any physician and surgeon will tell you, the profession of medicine is stretched to near the breaking point, and for many reasons. One of the most prominent reasons is, again, the widespread expectation that the doctor be a god-like healer, able to answer all questions, calm all anxieties, and do his or her very best work week in and week out, 55 minutes to the hour, up to 8 or 10 or 12 hours or more a day. Why do we tolerate these measures that make professional and personal life harder for doctors? 

I’m heartened at the interim dean. Using my intuition only -- that is, an educated guess -- she appears to be a fine, stable, honest choice with integrity. I don’t know why medical schools, colleges and universities, city, state and federal government don’t appoint or elect women more often to top leadership. After all, 98% of the male leaders have always been Type A. That’s not what we want. 

Until recently, the CEO at St. Joseph of Orange -- parent company of St. Jude and St. Joseph of Orange -- was a Roman Catholic nun. I forgot her name, but under her leadership, both medical centers expanded the scope of their services, added new buildings, departments and more, and increased their national ratings year after year.