Study Identifies Best Ways for Medical Centers to Recruit Clinical Program Leaders

Study on leadership qualifications and qualities in health care organizations

In 2003, investigators at The Bard Group, a Boston-area health care consulting firm, examined the selection process for clinical program leaders at US academic medical centers. To carry out the study, they conducted a literature review and interviewed 68 individuals at 13 centers.

Key Recommendations

  • Before initiating a recruitment process for a new service line leader, academic medical centers should seek internal consensus around five questions:
    • What are the strategic objectives of the services line?
    • At what stage of development is the service line?
    • What specific goals must the new service line leader accomplish?
    • How should the role be structured and resourced to ensure the leader has the authority needed to accomplish these goals?
    • What characteristics and capabilities will the leader need to accomplish these goals within this structure?
  • Search committees should recognize that effective leadership in academic medical centers requires striking a balance between the leader's organizational power (i.e., authority within the organization) and personal leadership capability.
  • Critical elements of the leader's role and authority should be determined beforehand by the organization's leadership, not negotiated with the candidate during the recruitment.


The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) supported this project through a grant of $24,899.