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'Lessons Learned,' New Book from ACPE, Profiles 24 Women in Health Care Leadership

TAMPA, Fla., March 26, 2013 /PRNewswire/ — While more than 50 percent of the students enrolled in medical school are now women, the number who go on to hold top-tier leadership positions in medicine remains at about 16 percent.

A new book published by the American College of Physician Executives (ACPE) highlights the challenges women face when navigating the difficult world of health care leadership. Called Lessons Learned: Stories from Women in Medical Management, the book offers profiles of 24 women who hold leadership positions in a variety of fields, including academic medicine, hospitals, pharmaceutical companies and government.

Author Deborah Shlian, MD, MBA, herself a physician leader, compiled and edited this collection of personal essays. She also contributed her own: A former family practice physician with Kaiser Permanente, Shlian created a medical executive recruiting firm in 1993.

Shlian said she's inspired by the women profiled in Lessons Learned, which includes senior vice presidents, chief medical officers, CEOs and deans of medical school departments, among others. Despite their intelligence and natural leadership abilities, the women all had to overcome obstacles to reach their current positions.

"The path to success isn't a straight line," Shlian said. "Everyone in 'Lessons Learned' had to work through various difficult issues and became stronger and more resilient as a result."

The topics discussed in Lessons Learned are timely, particularly given the national interest in the challenges women face when striving to get ahead in the workplace. They include:

  • Staying true to your values
  • Balancing work and personal life
  • The value of mentoring
  • The importance of networking
  • How to be a lifelong learner

Donna Shalala, the former U.S. Secretary of Health and Human services called Lessons Learned an important book and said, "Everyone who cares about the future of health care leadership must read it."

Peter Angood, MD, CEO of ACPE, said Lessons Learned offers an insightful look at the numerous challenges facing health care leaders and serves as an important reminder of the pioneering work accomplished by women in medicine.

"This is an exceptional resource," Angood said. "The stories in Lessons Learned are not just inspiring, they're filled with examples of true leadership skills emulated by several women physicians that can benefit leaders from all types of backgrounds."

To learn more or to purchase a copy, visit

Contact: Carrie Johnson