Former Executive Starts Management Program for Physicians

Dr. Michael Deegan

Dr. Michael Deegan

Dr. Michael Deegan said his medical degree helped him become a healthcare executive. But he said medical school did not prepare him for the job demands he would face after he traded his white coat for a suit.

“To pursue a career as a physician executive, you are granted ‘entry’ by being a physician, but the skills that made you an effective physician need to be complemented with a new set of skills if you are to become an effective physician executive,” he said.

Deegan, a doctor of management and a physician, joined the Naveen Jindal School of Management in the summer of 2012 to develop an online program to teach other physicians those needed skills. As former executive vice president and chief clinical and quality officer at the Arlington-based hospital chain Texas Health Resources, Deegan brings decades of management experience to his classes.

As a clinical professor, Deegan leads the Executive Education’s Healthcare Leadership and Innovation Initiatives. Under Deegan’s direction, UT Dallas is working with a national medical professional society to develop a one-year certificate program in leadership and management education for practicing physicians. In January, he started teaching an initial group of 25 students throughout the nation.

A lack of necessary interpersonal, strategic and operational skills can be challenging for many physicians transitioning into management, Deegan said. He said another difficulty can be the potential loss of credibility or trust from former physician colleagues who may view the new physician manager with skepticism.

Dr. Michael Deegan

TITLE: Clinical professor, Executive Education’s Healthcare Leadership and Innovation Initiatives

RESEARCH INTERESTS: Emotional intelligence competencies, clinical quality and patient safety practices, and healthcare policy

PREVIOUSLY: Executive vice president and chief clinical and quality officer at the Arlington-based hospital chain Texas Health Resources

Medical school does not include management courses, he said, so doctors often pick up leadership skills from partners or business managers.

“The vast majority of physicians enter practice with little or no formal or informal management or business knowledge,” Deegan said. “Lots of doctors struggle with this transition.”

The program's courses address issues such as emotional intelligence, negotiation and conflict resolution. Deegan posts lessons online every three weeks using the UT Dallas eLearning system.

“Course content is provided in an online asynchronous manner permitting practicing physicians to work it into busy schedules,” he said.

Healthcare management candidates are in high demand, with the field projected to grow more than 20 percent by 2020, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Dr. Hasan Pirkul, dean of the Jindal School and Caruth Chair of Management, said Deegan offers the ideal type of expertise needed to teach other physicians to become effective leaders.

“Dr. Deegan had a highly successful career leading healthcare organizations,” Pirkul said. “His executive and medical background undoubtedly will help many more physicians make successful transitions into healthcare management.”

Deegan said he’s excited about his new career path. “I enjoy what I’m doing here,” he said. “It’s been a great opportunity.”

When he’s not teaching, Deegan enjoys reading on his Kindle, travel, gardening and spending time with his grown children and grandchildren.

For more information about the Physician Leadership & Management Development Certificate, please contact Deegan at [email protected] or 972-883-5808.

Media Contact: The Office of Media Relations, UT Dallas, (972) 883-2155, [email protected].

Tagged: SOM