There are so many possibilities for new medicine-related ventures that it’s hard to define and pin down all the options. Enrolling at my school’s MBA program (at the University of California, Irvine) was my first step towards nailing those options down. UC Irvine has allowed me to hear from executives such as Rick Afable, MD, the CEO of Hoag Hospital and how he’s transitioning the organization towards a more vertically-oriented system. I’ve taken courses from non-clinical physicians like Sherri Treasurywala, MD PhD MBA, who worked for a high-profile consulting firm. UCI’s Brand Management class gave me the chance to meet restauranteurs like Wing Lam, CEO of Wahoo’s Fish Tacos. And I’m not done exploring — I’ve got 2 more quarters left in 2012 to explore the politics of healthcare, entrepreneurship, and (if time allows) consumer behavior.
To my surprise, online websites have allowed physicians with new ventures to post their thoughts. One such website, FreelanceMD, puts on annual conference, the Medical Fusion Conference, linking physicians (and healthcare providers (and medical students!)) together. Gregory Bledsoe, MD, formerly an emergency medicine attending physician at Johns Hopkins, graciously allowed me to attend the Medical Fusion Conference in Las Vegas. Interestingly, but not surprising, at least 25% of the attendees wanted to leave medicine entirely.
The conference covered topics such as:
- living and working in medicine abroad
- setting up a concierge medical practice
- re-organizing finances for retirement
- launching an Internet business
- pitching and writing books to publishing houses
- starting your own clinic
- “flipping” houses in real estate
- developing product lines
- branding yourself
It was a great how-to primer and stepping stone for physicians who wanted to broaden their careers. Most physicians were trying to re-kindle their old passions, or find new passions. One physician, Julie Silver MD, works as Chief Editor of Books at Harvard Health Publications and wanted a platform to spread the word about cancer survivorship, or the rehabilitation of patients who successfully underwent cancer treatment but are left with physical and mental weaknesses. Another presenter, Mike Woo-Ming, MD, wanted to raise funds for his autistic son, founded a series of Internet businesses, then contributed a lot of the profit towards building a school for children with disabilities, “because it otherwise takes a lawsuit to get school districts to get your child the resources they need.” (Some presenters did question his authenticity, as they felt they were listening to sales pitch for his consulting business.)
My priority at this point is to be an excellent physician, so residency training is the big focus. However, the Medical Fusion Conference inspired me during its 3-day whirlwind. (Especially grateful that my good friend Shadi let me crash at his place — a brief 15-minute walk to the Strip!) I’ll post some more of my thoughts on this blog since I took extensive notes throughout the conference.