Monday, July 13, 2009

Out of Africa

ABUJA, NIGERIA -- ACPE faculty member Eric Berkowitz and I have just finished a two-day course for physician leaders in collaboration with the Guild of Medical Directors (GMD) at the Protea Oakwood Park Hotel in Lagos. Tomorrow we do it here in the capital city of Abuja.

Charles Cudjoe, a member of the College for several years, is the force behind this first-ever OnSite on the African continent. In addition to being a surgeon and ordained Episcopal priest who preached at Trinity Church in Boston, Charles owns a hospital, and is the president of the Guild of Medical Directors.

Charles has identified a need for physician management and leadership education here as the economy grows. The last few days with Charles have been unforgettable. I’ve appreciated his business acumen, devotion to his patients, and the number of people who are his friends. His enthusiasm and optimism are irrepressible. When Charles sent personal messengers to knock on the doors of physicians in rural clinics to inform them of our planned session, we knew we were all committed to making this happen.

Physicians here are working for bank-owned HMOs, private and public hospitals, and private medical groups. The response has been exciting! In the audience were Nigeria’s only physician-health economist, a crown prince, and the medical director of the government’s central bank. We see that the country’s reputation and passion for education are real and palpable. Colin Powell was here last week. Michael Porter, who developed the Five Forces model of strategy while at Harvard Business School, is scheduled to be here July 23 to speak with business leaders.

I’m hoping that many of our members in the US and elsewhere will be willing to help some of our new members in Nigeria think about how to address the problems and frustrations of an emerging managed care model. The next post you read will be from Charles Cudjoe.