Imagine the buzz this would cause: Ford Motor Company announces a search for the head of its new mid-sized car division. The search committee comprises the comparable division executives from Toyota, Honda, General Motors, and Chrysler.
Well, what would be odd elsewhere is the norm here at the Harvard hospitals. As I have explained elsewhere, the Harvard medical system has an odd assortment of customs and norms. One of oddities surrounds the search for a chief of any of the clinical departments at BIDMC, MGH, Brigham and Women's, Children's Hospital, and the other Harvard affiliates.
For example, we will soon start a search for a new chief of OB/Gyn, as our Dr. Ben Sachs goes off to be Dean at Tulane Medical School. Without a doubt, the heads of the OB/Gyn departments at the Brigham and MGH will be invited to serve, along with some senior level faculty from BIDMC. The actual committee is formally appointed by the Dean of Harvard Medical School, with advice from his Council of Academic Deans representing the major Harvard affiliated hospitals.
The Dean, you say? But the new chief reports to the hospital CEO and is paid by the hospital and its faculty practice, not by the Medical School. Where does the Dean come in? Well, the new chief will not only be chief of service at our hospital but will also be head of the BIDMC Department of OB/GYN at Harvard Medical School. In that capacity s/he has certain academic responsibilities. For example, the executive committee of the three chiefs of OB/Gyn reviews academic promotions in their field (in any of the three hospitals) and could collaborate on areas like graduate medical education programs.
As CEO, I also get to serve on the search committee, which also -- somewhat paradoxically -- makes it recommendation to me -- and also to the Dean.
I hope this is now totally clear to you.
By the way, have I reminded you that HMS and Harvard University do not own any of the affiliated hospitals? We are all 501(c)(3) nonprofit organizations that are totally separate, in terms of governance, charter, and finance, from Harvard. (This last point is probably something about which the president of Harvard wakes up each morning and says, "Thank you, Lord." Among other things, it means that we do not have access to that wonderful endowment portfolio, which would otherwise come in really handy when the new Medicare rates are announced each year.)
Now, I am sure that the entire arrangement is totally clear to you. If not, start at the top and try it one more time.