By: Michael A. Caligiuri, MD
Director, The Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center
Chief Executive Officer, James Cancer Hospital and Solove Research Institute
A mere 10 years ago, a biomedical researcher had very little contact with a clinical researcher, let alone a practicing physician or other health professional. But then again, 10 years ago the secrets of the human genome were just beginning to emerge, and biomedical informatics and biotechnology were still in their infancy.
Fast-forward to the leading academic medical centers of today, and you find that the most successful model for innovation is one that promotes a multidisciplinary and integrated approach to medical research and patient care. This brave new world requires a new kind of leader, one who can bring teams of individuals – from different disciplines and speaking different “languages” – together to solve complex patient-care issues and translate the most promising research discoveries into effective, appropriate therapies.
The guiding principles for leaders in this environment are mutual respect and mutual purpose. And while these individuals may sometimes appear to be facilitators more than leaders, their strength is in their ability to keep the team focused on these guiding principles and the role each person on the team plays in achieving them. Our most effective physicians, scientists, administrators and middle managers are those who can promote this kind of team culture.
What do you do in your organization to promote “team problem-solving” and interaction across disciplines?
What do you believe are the most important characteristics of an effective team leader?