Published 12/1/2014

MMM Programs Can Be Useful

Having completed an advanced business degree, I couldn’t agree more with Dr. Douglas Lundy’s article (see “Jack of Orthopaedic Surgery, Master of Business,” AAOS Now, October 2014) regarding the benefits of additional graduate education. However, I must take exception to his one-sentence summation of the Masters of Medical Management program (MMM). According to Dr. Lundy, these programs “seem to be more focused on employed physicians who wish to move up the career management ladder into administrative positions.”

Although many of the physicians in my cohort at the University of Southern California’s (USC) Marshall School of Business had full-time administrative positions, most were privately employed, entrepreneurial physician leaders. The MMM program at USC has a specific entrepreneurial and leadership focus, while the Carnegie-Mellon MMM program is a bit more centered on public health and policy issues.

Both programs provide an extensive on-campus curriculum with full-week sessions spread over 12 to 18 months. There is rigorous coursework in all of the “typical” MBA subjects, including finance, accounting, management, marketing, and organizational behavior. However, particular attention is paid to relevant parallels in managing physicians, groups, practices, and hospitals. Strategic planning, entrepreneurial projects, and leadership challenges unique to the medical profession are also integral parts of the curriculum.

For the past decade, I have had the privilege of being president of a private orthopaedic group with an 80,000 square-foot musculoskeletal center, 22 physicians, and more than 230 employees. I can assure you that neither medical school nor residency prepared me for such an assignment. I feel very fortunate that the MMM program has provided me with the skills and expertise to continue to excel in that role, and I would highly recommend that anyone interested in more effective management in the evolving environment of health care consider similar postgraduate education.
Thomas K. Wuest, MD, MMM

Eugene, Ore.

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