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Every fall, participants&nbsp;<span id="docs-internal-guid-bec3c3ba-7fff-bd88-725a-012744364e95">develop their business acumen, improve their leadership skills and cultivate a mindset for innovation. </span>

Emerging leaders gain valuable skills in the Business of Medicine Leadership Program

BMLP participants gather in a classroom for a session.
The Department of Medicine’s yearly Business of Medicine Leadership Program is now underway. Offered every fall, the program is designed to provide participants with the tools to develop their business acumen, improve their leadership skills and cultivate a mindset for innovation. Participants meet once a month for interactive, faculty-led sessions, and also complete asynchronous online assignments. 

Sylk Sotto, EdD, MBA, MPS, who is Vice Chair for Faculty Affairs, Development and Diversity for the Department of Medicine, leads the program in partnership with Ken Carow, PhD, and Phil Powell, PhD, of the Physician MBA program at IUPUI's Kelley School of Business, with assistance from Physician MBA program director Susannah Gawor.
This year, there are 18 participants in the program. Most of them are from the Department of Medicine, but the cohort includes participants from across the school.
Current participant Kirithika Dorairaj, MD, says she plans to disseminate the knowledge she gains in the program to her colleagues.
“Business & finance are potent background forces which have a major impact on everyday patient care, but aren’t really part of our regular physician training,” said Dorairaj, who is an endocrinologist and Assistant Professor of Clinical Medicine. “I hope the program will make me a more effective contributor to my team’s goals.”

This is a likely outcome, according to program alumni.

Darren Caudill, DO, a hospitalist and Assistant Professor of Clinical Medicine, said that, prior to completing the program in 2018, he lacked the business vocabulary and financial literacy he needed to be effective as a clinical leader. Now, he successfully uses the tools and skills he gained in the program daily in his roles as Director of Inpatient Medicine at IU Health West Hospital and interim Service Line Leader for IUHP Hospital Medicine. 

“Taking the knowledge from the program, and continuing to enhance those lessons, has enabled me to be as comfortable in the boardroom as I am on the wards caring for patients,” Caudill said.

The situations and contexts in which the program is helpful is not just limited to traditionally narrow aspects of business. Rather, its scope is large and nuanced, easily extending to things like wellness and equity. And, according to 2020 alumna Deborah L. Clark, MD, the skills she gained in the program were particularly useful during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Discussing productivity and innovation during a challenging time in medicine gave me an opportunity to network and strategize with colleagues in unique ways, as we all had to think outside of the box and find ways to quickly implement changes [in the early days of the pandemic],” said Clark, who is a hospitalist and Assistant Professor of Clinical Medicine. 

Now, she says that she puts the leadership skills from this course to good use in her current roles as Credentials Chair and President-Elect of the Medical Staff at IU North.

“I would highly recommend this course to any physician or provider interested in pursuing leadership opportunities,” she said. 

The program, which runs from August through December each year, generally accepts applicants in the spring (applicants from the Department of Medicine must also be nominated by their Division or Section Chief). More information on the program’s curriculum, format, and application process is available on the Business of Medicine Leadership Program page on the Faculty Affairs, Professional Development, and Diversity website.
The views expressed in this content represent the perspective and opinions of the author and may or may not represent the position of Indiana University School of Medicine.
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Hannah Calkins

Hannah Calkins is the communications manager for the Department of Medicine.