Creating Future Physician Leaders in Anesthesiology with the Combined Pathway Program for Residents

The University of Minnesota Medical School’s Department of Anesthesiology Residency Program Director, Executive Vice Chair and Professor Mojca Remskar Konia, MD, PhD, MACM, envisioned a combined pathway program designed to provide anesthesiology residents with an opportunity to learn additional skill sets during their residencies. Associate Professor Joss Thomas, MD, MBBS, MPH and current Vice Chair of Education for the department, is now spearheading this effort.

"Physicians need to actively engage and lead efforts to continuously improve standards, efficiency and management of healthcare delivery systems, in an era of finite and diminishing financial resources. Our trainees need additional skills to enhance their ability to find creative solutions to sustain a rather fragile medical ecosystem," said Dr. Thomas.

With the complex and ever-changing landscape of healthcare, Dr. Konia identified a need for more physician leaders who address and influence the structure of payment systems and reimbursements, maintain equity of access to medical care and properly allocate resources. The goal of this program is to meet those needs by providing opportunities for residents to receive a Master of Healthcare Administration (MHA) along with their medical degrees. 

"We aim to develop future physician leaders who possess expertise in clinical anesthesiology and healthcare administration to lead the way for the future of anesthesiology as a specialty," Dr. Konia said.

The expertise and knowledge residents will gain from the Combined Residency MHA Program will give them the tools to become better clinicians, healthcare administrators or managers. The program creates leaders in anesthesiology who are familiar with statutes and regulations and can influence the ways in which information technology can be used to improve the electronic health record (EHR) experience. 

Max Solow, MD is an anesthesiology resident and the first participant to join the department’s Combined Residency MHA Pathway program.

"The healthcare system continues to evolve and change, and I believe it is important for physicians to be an active part of the whole process. I believe that in order to ensure that quality and care isn't compromised along the way, it is crucial for physicians to also be in leadership roles," Solow said. "I'm very excited to be a part of the Combined Residency MHA Pathway Program and look forward to what is ahead."

This is the department's first continuing education pilot program, and future goals are to expand these opportunities into different fields. The Department of Anesthesiology envisions extending the combined pathway program to other degrees, such as combining residency with a Masters in Academic Medicine, Masters in Education, Masters in Business Administration and a Masters in Clinical Research.