E D U C A T I O N
physicians to lead the PMI way
When the CMA launched its
Physician Manager Institute program almost three decades ago, the goal
was simple: to give physicians the knowledge and skills to effectively
participate in the management of issues that had traditionally been
dealt with by health care managers and administrators.
By Steve Wharry
When the CMA launched its Physician
Manager Institute (PMI) program almost three decades ago, the goal
was simple: to give physicians the knowledge and skills to
effectively participate in the management of issues that had
traditionally been dealt with by health care managers and
Twenty-seven years later the goal remains
the same, but the methods to achieve it are changing.
“When PMI began in the mid-’80s, health
care management was evolving from what was essentially a cottage
industry and docs were looking for tools to develop an effective and
influential voice in administration,” said Dr. Briane Scharfstein, who
heads the CMA’s Professional Affairs Directorate. “Before that
physicians often felt ill-prepared to participate fully in
administration and management roles.”
Today’s complex health environment
challenges physicians in many ways. Initiatives such as the Royal
College’s CanMEDS professional development model emphasize that being a
good physician requires more than clinical expertise and competence.
The newly re-designed PMI has evolved to
support learning across the full continuum of professional activities
undertaken by physicians, as outlined in CanMEDS. These core
competencies for physicians include medical expert, communicator,
collaborator, health advocate, manager, scholar and professional, and
this CanMEDS model now serves as the foundation for all leadership
courses within the PMI curriculum.
“PMI training targets the capacities that
physicians need to develop beyond clinical expertise,” said Dr.
Scharfstein. “Some physicians attend to gain the fundamentals of
management, leadership skills and techniques, and some come to learn
about advanced, cutting-edge theories and practices. Everyone leaves
with new career tools and insights.” CMA President-Elect and PMI
graduate, Dr. Anne Doig, recently completed Foundation Level 5 of the
PMI, 16 years after taking levels 1-4. She says the training stands the
test of time.
“I enjoyed the first course as much as the
last,” said Doig. “It was just as engaging and as useful as I
remembered. I felt comfortable immediately.”
Designed collaboratively with physicians,
the Physician Manager Institute’s interactive approach transforms the
ways physicians think, manage and solve problems. Courses are designed
to allow participants to absorb knowledge fast. Whether lessons are
delivered in a classroom, online or on site in a hospital, the MD
students learn from leading faculty and from peers registered in the
“Our goal is to offer more than
traditional content,” says Don Briscoe, the CMA’s director of learning
and professional development. “PMI is a series of highly interactive
workshops with a focused, results-oriented approach to learning.” The
program has three distinct levels: Foundation (1 through 5), Focused (1
through 4), and Advanced (1 through 4).
The Advanced courses represent the
evolution of the PMI program over the past 20 years, and are targeted at
physician-managers and leaders who have completed the Foundation courses
but are seeking more training in specific areas.
2.5-day courses are offered throughout the year and feature training
in strategic planning, health human resource management, finance and
economics, and increasing strategic influence.
“Physicians are committed to lifelong
learning on the clinical side of things, and the PMI program offers
professional development opportunities on the leadership and management
side,” adds Scharfstein. “Most importantly, the PMI program provides
these learning opportunities within the health care context.”
For further information and/or to add your
name to the mailing list,
development at the CMA.
CME credits have been granted to the PMI
program by the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada and
the College of Family Physicians of Canada, and PMI courses also qualify
for credits from the Canadian College of Health Service Executives. The
Royal College has also designated the CMA as a limited accredited
provider of continuing professional development.