New books and Journal Articles of interest

New Books and Journal Articles of Interest to the Pediatric Radiation Oncologist

This section is managed by Professor Edward Halperin who will collect all information, comments on articles or thoughts you wish to send to him.

In this section you can talk about events which have made an impact on you, or which you feel it is important to share. These may concern scientific articles, congresses, thoughts on training for young people, the handling of tumours in children by health authorities.

It is also an opportunity to compare different practices throughout the world. Please send all ideas, suggestions and comments to Edward Halperin .

Newsletter October 2021:

New Books, Briefly Noted

Jeffrey L. Houpt, Roderick W. Gilkey, Susan H. Ehringhaus. Learning to Lead in the Academic Medical Center. New York: Springer, 2015. 

Ravi A. Chandra, Naha Vapiwala, Charles R. Thomas Jr., editors. Career Development in Academic Radiation Oncology. New York: Springer, 2021. List price US $139.99.

A few months ago one of my friends, an academic radiation oncology department chair, told me about “the greatest academic medical center management book” he’d ever read: Learning to Lead in the Academic Medical Center. I’ve read a lot of “how to manage the academic medical center” books but I had never before encountered this one before his recommendation. The three co-authors are a business school professor (Gilkey), a former academic health center lawyer (Ehringhaus), and a former medical school dean (Houpt). I read the book cover-to-cover, thought it was simply fabulous, and am now teaching a mini-course using it as the textbook. 

The book is filled with practical advice, great insights, and instructional case studies. Every now and then the font changes and you encounter the musings of the late Dr. Houpt, who was a medical school dean. I envision him reading the galley proofs of the book and, from time-to-time, reaching for his dictaphone and offering some wisdom to be inserted in the text. A lot of the stories originate from either Emory University or the University of North Carolina at Chapel HIll. 

Published six years ago, I am sorry I didn’t read this book when it came out. It’s not easy to find a reasonably priced copy for sale on the internet. Perhaps your library can get you a inter-library loan copy? It’s worth reading. 

If we can fairly characterize Houpt et al’s six year old book as a 20,000 foot view of the academic medical center, then the new book by Chandra et al is an in-the-trenches step-by-step guide aimed solely and squarely at the academic radiation oncologist. The editors have lined up 60 American and Canadian authors to write 30 chapters. (I co-authored one of the chapters but I have no financial interest in how many or how few copies of the book get sold.) The chapters seek to answer the basic questions of an academic radiation oncology career trajectory in the US and Canada: entry-level, mid-career, and senior level. What are my career options? How do I apply for a job? How do you negotiate an employment agreement? How do I identify and utilize a mentor? What are the rules-of-the-game for grant funding, publishing papers, academic promotion and tenure, dealing with a department chair, participating in cooperative oncology groups, and interfacing with the leadership of the cancer center? What do I need to know about changing jobs, handling burnout, or retiring? 

Some of the chapters which delve into contract law, finance and investment, and psychological issues have real content experts as the lead co-authors, some do not. (I am suspicious about non-practicing lawyers giving advice on contract law and radiation oncologists giving most of the advice on mental health and and personal finance matters.) 

Chandra et al have identified a niche market. I can’t offer you any thoughts about this book in contrast to its competitors - I don’t know of anything similar which focuses strictly on radiation oncology. 

Professor Edward Halperin


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