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Acad Med. 2010 Aug;85(8):1269-75. doi: 10.1097/ACM.0b013e3181e5c0bb.

Rock stars in academic medicine.

Author information

1
College of Medicine, Ohio State University, Columbus, Ohio, USA.

Abstract

PURPOSE:

To investigate the prevalence and characteristics of faculty rock stars, a subset of academic health center faculty who greatly enhance the reputation and/or success of their home institution, oftentimes at the expense of a disproportionate share of institutional resources.

METHOD:

In 2008, the authors surveyed the deans of 126 U.S. medical schools accredited by the Liaison Committee for Medical Education, using a 13-item instrument consisting of Likert scales, pick lists, and open-ended questions.

RESULTS:

Sixty-four (51%) surveyed deans responded. Respondents were more representative of public than private institutions (P < .001) but were proportionately representative of institutions of varying faculty size, U.S. New & World Report research rankings, and geographic location. The prevalence of rock stars was 1.42% (range 0.07%-6.42%) of full-time faculty. Over 74% (46/62) of deans felt that these talented faculty contributed to institutional prominence. Most deans were usually willing to offer greater resources to recruit or retain these faculty stars, and 39/62 (63%) believed that these individuals were a good investment. Although 53/64 (82.8%) of deans believed that other faculty are often or almost always aware that these individuals receive preferential treatment, only 37/64 (57.8%) believed that other faculty agree with that treatment. Fifty percent or more of deans (depending on the characteristic) selected self-promotion, a strong work ethic, opportunism, charisma, and political savvy as characteristics that were more common in rock stars.

CONCLUSIONS:

Deans appreciated both the value and the leadership challenges associated with the academic medical center rock star.

PMID:
20671450
DOI:
10.1097/ACM.0b013e3181e5c0bb
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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