COVID-19 Propels Occupational and Environmental Medicine to the Forefront of Public Health


This article is a collaboration between the American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine and Jackson Physician Search. It was first published on the ACOEM website on September 11, 2023. Jackson Physician Search is proud to be an ACOEM-endorsed physician recruitment firm, leading the industry in OEM search. 


The pandemic may be gone, but it’s not forgotten, especially by those in healthcare and corporate America who realize the critical importance of occupational and environmental medicine physicians. They shone through COVID-19 as they do daily, taking care of workers and the businesses that rely on them. The repercussions of climate change mean “added value” for this timely specialty.

The height of the COVID-19 pandemic is gone—but it’s surely not forgotten, even as the public health emergency in the United States ended on May 11, 2023.

The pandemic caused 1,137,057 deaths since Jan. 21, 2021, and it upended healthcare in numerous ways. The specialty of occupational and environmental medicine (OEM) was particularly impacted as its physicians found their special skills to be just what was needed to bring calm to the chaos.

We talked to two dedicated Fellows of the American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine (ACOEM) about what it’s like to practice post-COVID.

Meet Douglas Martin, M.D., of CNOS Occupational Medicine in Dakota Dunes, South Dakota, where he focuses on musculoskeletal medicine. He’s extraordinarily active in his field of work and on behalf of ACOEM.

Dr. Martin is joined here by William Brett Perkison, M.D., MPH, assistant professor in the Southwest Center for Occupational and Environmental Health at UTHealth Houston School of Public Health, where he also directs the residency program. He’s passionate about the next generation that chooses this specialty.

Here’s how both view changes in the OEM landscape since COVID-19.

1. Companies have realized the importance of public health.

As the journal The Lancet, Public Health documented in a May 2022 editorial, the pandemic “is not only a public health crisis but also a social, economic, and political one. Lessons must be learned to ensure that future public health crises are met with resilience, unity, and equity.” The event put OEM doctors front and center, and the academy calls “public health, surveillance, and disease prevention” one of its 10 OEM competencies. When the next public health emergency occurs, who better than OEM physicians to lead the charge? There’s just one problem: More are needed to be able to improve the care and well-being of workers.

“True, visibility has increased, and ACOEM has been asked to come to the table more frequently by government agencies such as NIOSH (The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health) and OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration),” said Dr. Martin.

“But I think the general viewpoint would be, ‘Wow, these people are really important. Why don’t we make sure there are more of them?’” he said. “I thought there would be more funding for public health jobs, but that hasn’t really happened. Where is the public policy initiative to do that catch-up work after COVID?”

He said he hoped more money would be earmarked for additional medical school spots for public health systems, but that hasn’t happened.

In fact, most funding for OEM residency programs comes from NIOSH. “That results in a finite number of residency positions that creates a real bottleneck and lack of trained OEM doctors,” Dr. Perkison said.

He said his residents find a wealth of opportunities. “ACOEM residents get job offers nine months before they graduate.”

2. Management of large companies realized the tremendous value OEM physicians provide.

Dr. Perkison became immersed in the issue of whether companies should mandate the COVID-19 vaccine. It became an undeniably hot topic, generating intense discussion, as a review of the medical literature verified in a February 2023 study that was published in the International Journal of Nursing Studies. The authors looked at 28 relevant articles, finding 12 to be pro-mandatory vaccine, 13 neutral, and three against, and cited “ethical, moral and legal principles” involved here, the same as those faced by OEM physicians on the job during the height of the Pandemic.

Through the university, Dr. Perkison said he “counseled recalcitrant employees who didn’t want to get the vaccine” at a rural agriculture company. “The big city doctor from Texas did not go over well at first, and we answered some questions and responded to lots of misconceptions,” he said. “We didn’t convince everyone—they were going to be let go if they didn’t get vaccinated—but they appreciated our discussions one-on-one.”

3. OEM physicians must manage more work-at-home situations—from afar.

That’s especially true in non-blue-collar industries, Dr. Martin said. “How do you deal with the workplace of a person at home? Everyone’s home is different, and we need to understand ergonomic and workstation challenges. For example, are they working off a laptop and sitting on the couch sideways?”

A personal interview was the former assessment modality of choice until COVID necessitated virtual assessments. “You don’t know if that’s the whole story—it’s a snapshot in time,” Dr. Martin said. “And who else is at home? Are kids using the computer, too, and how much distraction does that cause? Are employees taking a stretch break?”

A study in the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine from September 2021 found employees working from home during COVID-19 experienced lower back pain and weight gain, yet said they felt more productive than at the office.

Working at a central corporate location means OEM physicians could design preventive health programs “for a captive audience,” Dr. Perkison said. “We knew what type of work environment they were in.”

However, not being with employees reduces the clarity afforded by in-person discussions.

“We can try to recognize mental health issues and encourage people to exercise and eat healthy—neither of which we can do as well remotely,” he said. “It is very gratifying to identify actual medical problems before they got worse and to manage those, which is different from treating disease after complications have occurred.”

Dr. Perkison predicts that “transitions back to the workplace are not complete yet, and some corporations haven’t determined what the optimum balance is between home and working elsewhere. It’s possible employees could start migrating back in.”

4. It’s taking longer to deliver appropriate care to patients.

With more health insurance claims managers, or nurse case managers, for example, working from home, that’s created communication issues, Dr. Martin said. “It’s not as fast or efficient as when people worked in offices, and I knew I could reach them there.”

He said that since most of his practice is on-the-job injury care, he frequently refers to physical or occupational therapy. “Pre-COVID, I saw a patient and put in the PT order that was approved the same day or the day after. Now when I call on Monday, it’s voicemail, and the process may require multiple calls. That person with the ankle sprain may have to wait until Friday and then may not make an appointment until Monday.”

Pre-COVID, that patient might have completed between four and six PT visits before they returned to see him for their two-week check-up, but now it may be only one—or none.

“The patient can then place blame on the insurance company or lose confidence in the healthcare system,” Dr. Martin said. “Patients also give up and don’t get something taken care of, or they lean on personal health insurance, which may make a fuss. When they do that, they lose the right to disability impairment and compensation.”

The two insurances may clash and leave the patient holding the veritable bag. It’s a tangled web that may leave the patient “stuck.”

5. Corporations no longer do so much OEM in-house.

“With more employees working from home, that means fewer working in the corporations’ buildings and visiting its in-house clinic,” said Dr. Perkison.

Formerly, a large corporation’s OEM physician worked in an office away from the company’s clinic, where administrative duties such as managing programs and medical surveillance took priority—and meant no hands-on patient care delivered by that physician.

The current trend is seeing more contracting “with the clinic down the road,” he said. It’s already in place, with staff, technology, and supplies.

6. OEM residents have new and varied opportunities.

“We have to instill in medical students that this is a really important specialty to think about,” said Dr. Martin.

And his peers would second that it’s a considerably less-stress specialty than some, that allows for a wonderful quality of work-life balance and a plethora of directions a doctor may take with their career—not just one.

Residency program directors such as Dr. Perkison want residents and fellows to benefit from a wealth of experiences before they graduate. At his institution, they might do a rotation at an oil or gas-related corporation or one of the major, well-respected healthcare organizations in Houston.

“Lifestyle medicine has gotten bigger, as has a holistic approach to medicine overall—both work-related and non-work-related, including stress at work or away,” he said. “Addiction medicine remains important as we work to get people off drugs and get them back to work. Bioinformatics is also coming on, and medical surveillance helps monitor people’s exposure to harmful substances. Treating chronic disease is still a major part of total worker health.”

Candidates can pursue residencies in internal medicine, family medicine, or occupational medicine and then do fellowships, said Dr. Perkison.

7. OEM physicians excel at Long COVID management quandaries.

While the international healthcare community “tries to have some arms around the Long COVID situation,” this specialty understands it and its ramifications well, said Dr. Martin.

OEM physicians’ lengthy experience with the condition since its origin contrasts with the July 31, 2023 announcement of U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ (HHS) formation of the Office of Long COVID Research and Practice. In addition to healthcare stakeholders, the initiative will interface with the business sector, too, HHS said.

Some healthcare advocates wonder why this took so long.

ACOEM has been asked to be involved, Dr. Martin said, and he affirmed that ongoing questions still loom that OEM physicians can help answer where “universal agreement” still lacks.

“We think about what we can do medically to help these patients, especially with regard to best practices and standards,” said Dr. Martin. Two crucial areas include fitness for duty and return to work. “That’s where OEM skill sets come in.”

For example, symptoms such as mental fog differ from physical challenges, and that begs the question: “When should we offer rehabilitation programs?”

8. OEM recognizes the future is here. Now.

The world has acknowledged, perhaps hesitantly, the workplace implications of climate change, Dr. Perkison said. He contributed to an ACOEM Guidance Statement on Prevention of Occupational Heat-Related Illnesses. “We have heat stress and disaster preparedness—this year, we are really feeling the effects. How do we message companies to transition to cleaner energy? When corporations know about us, there’s an opportunity for us to be leaders in the field of change.”


The author, Stephanie Stevens, would like to thank Douglas Martin, M.D., of CNOS Occupational Medicine in Dakota Dunes, South Dakota, and William Brett Perkison, M.D., MPH, assistant professor in the Southwest Center for Occupational and Environmental Health at UTHealth Houston School of Public Health for their expert contributions to this article.

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Longtime Client Hires Medical Director Thanks to Physician Recruiter’s Ability to See the Big Picture


They say when one door closes, another one opens, and this can be especially true in physician recruitment. It’s always disappointing when an ideal candidate declines an offer; however, we assure clients that we will undoubtedly present another excellent candidate soon. If this occurs on the candidate’s side, our recruiters encourage them to stay positive as they search for other opportunities, knowing the right one won’t pass them by. 

In these situations, it is helpful to have a strategic physician recruiter on your side who can look to their network and quickly source another candidate or present another job opportunity. Director of Recruitment for the Western Division Misha Fabick certainly matches this description, with her recent success in placing an Emergency Medicine physician in Idaho demonstrating the impact of her talent for seeing the big picture.

A Strong Candidate Without an Offer

When one of Misha’s clients in Colorado decided to hire internally for their Emergency Medicine role, Misha assured the candidate she’d been working with, Dr. L, that another opportunity would surface. Dr. L had been out of training for a short time and was practicing at a small community hospital in the DC area while her partner finished school. She and her partner hoped to move out West after graduation, so Misha filed away what she had learned about Dr. L and hoped another promising position would arise in her region.


An Employer Turns to Its Physician Recruitment Partner

A few weeks later, one of Misha’s longstanding clients in Idaho opened a search for an Emergency Medicine physician with an Assistant Medical Directorship attached. Misha was no stranger to rural recruitment. Knowing that 90% of physicians are open to a well-aligned rural opportunity, she was confident the candidate for the scenic location was within arms reach. 

Misha interviewed the stakeholders to learn the details of the position and gain a sense of who they envisioned in the role. In addition to Emergency Medicine experience, the right candidate would be comfortable with some administrative duties, primarily establishing and managing protocols for transporting patients to and from the critical access hospital. 

Connecting the Dots

Misha remembered Dr. L was once an EMT and managed transport while in training. Though she did not have administrative experience, her direct involvement with medical transport would give her the expertise needed for the role. Misha contacted her to tell her about the position and ask if she would consider an opportunity in rural Idaho.

Dr. L was excited to hear about the job and its location. It just so happened that she had grown up in Idaho and was familiar with the area, its natural beauty, and outdoor recreation. It would be the perfect setting for her active lifestyle. The opportunity details also intrigued her and sounded like a good fit, so she was eager to be presented for the job.

A Perfect Pairing

After hearing of the potential match, the group quickly called Dr. L and invited her for an interview. After years of working with Misha, they had fine-tuned the on-site physician interview experience, making a great impression on the candidate. Dr. L was equally remarkable; everyone agreed she would be an excellent fit for the role.

A number of elements play into the completion of any physician search. In this instance, the critical factors were Misha’s ability to vet a candidate thoroughly and then, when necessary, pivot her to a new opportunity. Instead of prematurely considering a search unsuccessful, she recognized a candidate who applied for one position might be an excellent fit for another, perhaps even in a different state. Dedicated physician recruitment partners like Misha can quickly make those connections and see opportunities for success by considering the bigger picture from the start.

Additionally, the client’s ability to act quickly and be flexible in their desire for administrative experience was essential to bringing the search to a successful conclusion. In the physician recruitment process, distinguishing between must-haves and nice-to-haves in a candidate profile can ultimately lead to hiring the best match overall. 

If your organization is searching for a physician, the recruitment team at Jackson Physician Search has both the national reach and regional expertise you need to find and connect with the most qualified candidates from all over the country. Reach out today to learn more.

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How to Evaluate Physician Candidates for Organizational Alignment


With concerns about rising physician turnover and more and more physicians reporting burnout, employers are motivated to find ways to improve physician retention. Organizational culture plays a critical role in employee engagement and job satisfaction, directly impacting retention. For this reason, healthcare leaders recognize the importance of hiring candidates for their ability to succeed in the job and their cultural alignment with the organization.  

At Jackson Physician Search, we talk a lot about hiring for cultural alignment, but what exactly does this mean? An organization’s culture is the manifestation of its mission, values, and beliefs. When employees’ behaviors reflect or align with the organization’s mission, values, and beliefs, it creates a positive corporate culture. Alternatively, when behaviors are misaligned, the environment can feel unstable.     

The importance of cultural alignment is paramount, and yet, it is not measured as easily as other job qualifications. Keep reading for ways hiring managers, recruiters, and other interviewers can better evaluate physician candidates for cultural alignment.

Be Clear About the Organization’s Values and Mission

The organization’s mission and values should be conveyed to the candidate before they even apply – not only on the job advertisement but also on the website and through stories shared via social media channels. In this way, candidates have an opportunity to screen themselves for fit and decide if they want to pursue the opportunity further. That said, healthcare leaders must have a clear vision of what alignment looks like in order to determine if applicants are truly compatible. 

Some questions to consider are: Which current employees best represent the organization’s mission and values? What attributes do they have that the ideal candidate should also have? Gain a consensus about the traits of the ideal candidate, and make sure everyone conducting an interview evaluates for those qualities. Also, select physicians who embody the culture to spend time with the candidate – either in an interview or a more casual setting.

Cultural Fit vs. Cultural Add

While it helps to know which characteristics work best in your group, be wary of hiring physicians identical to others on your team. A recent trending topic among hiring professionals is the difference between hiring for cultural fit vs. cultural add, and it’s worth keeping in mind as you explore candidates. 

Core values manifest differently in individuals, so be encouraging of hiring someone with diverse experiences or a unique personality. Inclusivity will enhance the culture and support your organization’s growth in a positive direction. Ask questions that reveal the candidate’s values, beliefs, and priorities, knowing that rare qualities are welcome and are likely to strengthen the culture as long as the values align.

Ask About Their Experience During the Pandemic

Whether in residency or employed at a hospital, private practice, or other, all healthcare providers have stories to tell about their experiences of the pandemic. For many, the situation brought realizations about what was most important to them professionally and personally. Did the physicians have any “Aha!” moments during the pandemic? There is likely no “right” answer here, but how they talk about that time – what was frustrating, what was inspiring, what they wish had been handled differently, etc. will perhaps give you an idea of what candidates prioritize in a professional environment – and how they might fit into yours.

Listen and Observe

Tune into the candidate’s questions, conversation style, and overall demeanor; it will help to see and understand who they are. Do they consistently interrupt questions before you have finished speaking? Can they concisely answer a question, making their point? Do they speak about past coworkers and supervisors with respect? How do they discuss the different patient populations with whom they have worked?

When candidates take the opportunity to ask questions, look for a theme in their areas of interest. Are they primarily focused on compensation and bonuses? Certainly, questions about compensation structure are expected, but what else do they want to know more about? Are they curious about the team dynamic, average physician tenure, or growth opportunities? Candidates will ask questions about what is most important to them, so give them ample time to show you who they are and what they care about.

Be sure also to observe how candidates behave when introduced to other team members, as well. Are they courteous and personable with staff at all levels, or do they dismiss those not seen as decision-makers in the hiring process? If teamwork and respect for others is a value of your organization, be wary of those reluctant to engage with staff members at every level.

Make It a Priority

Determining how candidates will fit into and add to your organization’s culture should be a primary goal of the interview process. Leaders should have a clear idea of the values they seek in candidates and know they can find those values in various personalities and backgrounds. Don’t rule someone out simply because they don’t think or act exactly like other employees. Differences promote growth.  

As you look for values that align with the organization, listen and observe how candidates engage with others and tune into their attitudes about past colleagues and patients. Let their questions show you what is most important to them. Evaluating candidates for cultural alignment is not easy, but by keeping these points in mind and listening to your intuition, the best candidate for your organization will become clear.

If your healthcare organization is seeking assistance in successfully evaluating cultural alignment in the physician hiring process, the physician recruitment team at Jackson Physician Search will first work to understand your organization’s unique culture and then help you identify the candidates who make the best addition. Reach out to Jackson Physician Search today to learn more.

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Hawaiian Critical Care Group Welcomes Dream Candidate to Dream Role in Under 100 Days


Healthcare organizations of all types, sizes, and locales often find a need for assistance recruiting physicians. Even those in the most beautiful places on earth may struggle to attract candidates if they don’t have the tools, resources, or time to do so. Such was the case for a private critical care group in Honolulu, Hawaii. Historically, it had some success recruiting local candidates but lacked the reach to draw from a national candidate pool. When it became apparent that it needed to look beyond Hawaii to find its next hire, the group turned to Jackson Physician Search. 

Divisional Vice President of Business Development Ben Stajduhar met with the group’s leadership to explain how the Jackson Physician Search 100% digital recruitment strategy would broadcast the job opportunity to relevant physicians all over the country. Our extensive resources allow us to widely spread the word about the job, but ultimately, it is our recruitment team’s industry knowledge and expertise that help us identify the best candidate for the group’s clinical and cultural needs.

While our team members are well-versed in finding physicians for remote locations, Honolulu presented some additional challenges. The high cost of living and limited housing availability would be obstacles to overcome with candidates, and the group’s hesitancy to cover the expense of costly on-site physician interviews would have to be discussed as well. Luckily, Ben knew he could count on our team of dedicated physician recruiters. He enlisted Senior Search Consultant Becky Casias to face the challenges and find the perfect candidate.

Setting Up for Physician Recruitment Success

Becky packed her bags and went to Hawaii to get a firsthand understanding of the community, organization, and role she was recruiting for. Because the group had primarily sourced candidates locally and had yet to partner with a physician recruitment firm, Becky detailed the recruitment process. She shared her extensive knowledge of industry trends and best practices and even helped create or update the necessary documents, forms, and contracts. 

Once Becky and the organization were on the same page and had a clear vision, Becky began setting the search up for success. She crafted a job posting highlighting the most attractive features and distributed it throughout the extensive Jackson Physician Search job board network. She also launched a targeted email campaign to relevant physicians in the database.

A “Dream” Physician Job

Through a physician job board posting, Dr. K saw the critical care opportunity, and she was immediately intrigued. Married with a young child, Dr. K had grown tired of the city life’s hustle and bustle and was looking for a more remote community where she and her young family could build a life. Honolulu seemed like just the right place. 

Becky was thrilled to hear about Dr. K’s interest in the community and was even more excited to learn how well she aligned with the position. Dr. K had worked as a hospitalist in the ICU for two years following residency, where she found her true passion for critical care. She had internal medicine training, critical care training, a fellowship in infectious disease, and experience with transplant surgeries. When Dr. K expressed that the position was her “dream job,” Becky and the client felt she was the one.

A Make or Break On-site Visit

While the cost to fly Dr. K out for an onsite visit was daunting to the healthcare organization at first, Becky ultimately explained how necessary of a step it is in physician recruitment, especially when dealing with unique or remote locations. The candidate’s on-site physician interview would be a crucial part of the recruitment process.

The group decided to place full trust in Becky and went all out to immerse Dr. K and her family in the life they could potentially have in Honolulu. The client gave Dr. K a facility tour, introducing her to potential colleagues. They also intentionally placed her and her family in a local hotel that provided an authentic experience rather than a tourist’s. The group invited the whole family to dinner, gathering activity recommendations and researching 23 neighborhoods nearby to help with house hunting, a common obstacle for those relocating to the area.

Secrets of Physician Recruitment Success

The combination of Becky’s expert physician recruitment knowledge and the critical care group’s willingness to accept feedback both contributed to this search successfully concluding in fewer than 100 days. This search demonstrates how partnering with a dedicated, national physician recruitment firm can open up doors that lead you to candidates who are looking for you just as much as you are looking for them. 

If you need assistance reaching a broader candidate pool, Jackson Physician Search has the resources and expertise to identify the best candidates for your position. Reach out today to learn more.

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National Network, Local Know-How: Transforming Rural Physician Recruitment in Washington


When choosing a physician recruitment partner, it’s beneficial for a healthcare organization to select a firm with expertise in its specific region that has the resources and reputation to attract candidates from all over the country. As Senior Business Development Manager of the Jackson Physician Search Western Region, Eli Jiles regularly stresses the importance of these two factors with potential clients. Director of Recruitment for the Western Division Misha Fabick’s recent work with a rural critical access hospital in Washington demonstrates the impact of these criteria. It celebrates the culture of teamwork that makes Jackson Physician Search consistently successful with organizations nationwide.    

Eli first connected with the CEO of this Washington hospital in July of 2022. The organization had several needs, including a general surgeon and a physician assistant. The CEO was impressed by Jackson Physician Search’s track record of success with rural placements, and he appreciated that a dedicated recruiter would visit the town and get to know the hospital’s culture, as finding a good, long-term fit was imperative. He was also pleased with the terms in our transparent fee structure for opening multiple searches with us and opted to begin a physician recruitment partnership. 

A Beautiful–and Remote–Location

When Misha was assigned the search, she and Eli visited the client together. Located in a beautiful lake community in central Washington, the town was a popular destination for vacationers during the summer months. The town had approximately four thousand residents, but with surging in the summer, that figure more than doubled. The picturesque community would undoubtedly be attractive to candidates, but because it was located more than three hours from Seattle and Spokane, would they want to stay long-term? Determining this would be a priority for Misha as she evaluated applicants.


A Quick Recruit: General Surgeon Hired in 90 Days

The average time-to-fill for physicians varies by specialty and circumstances. Due to the remote location, Misha and Eli had prepared the client for a longer timeline. So, it was a pleasant surprise when Misha quickly received an inquiry from a general surgeon familiar with the area. His wife was from Washington, and they wanted to relocate to be closer to family. He had seen Misha’s job ad and wanted to learn more.

After thoroughly vetting him by phone, Misha was confident he would be a good fit for the organization. Not only did he meet all of the client’s criteria, but he also spoke Spanish–a qualification they were hoping to find. She presented him to the client, who invited him to interview on-site as soon as possible. Once they arrived, the couple fell in love with the town. The candidate’s wife was also a physician and felt it was the perfect place to set up her own private practice, solidifying they were both ready to build a life in the community. Less than a month later, he had signed a contract–just 90 days after opening the search.

Teamwork: The Ultimate Sourcing Tool

Misha persevered with the physician assistant search, responding to applicants, proactively combing databases, and calling leads; however, a referral from a colleague on the East Coast piqued Misha’s interest the most. The candidate was completing her PA training in Florida. Misha’s colleague had noted that she and her husband wanted a significant change, with the primary requirement being that they wanted to continue to live near a body of water. 

Misha reached out to see if the candidate might be interested. After all, the move from Florida to Washington is about as big of a geographical change as you can make in the lower 48! Sure enough, the candidate was intrigued and excited to be presented for the job. 

Misha’s only hesitation was the fact that the physician assistant did not speak Spanish; however, she was so sure of the cultural fit that she presented her to the client anyway. They agreed to talk to the candidate and immediately felt it, too. They quickly invited her to interview on-site. 

The candidate and her husband loved the community, and the organization instantly knew she was a great fit. Fewer than 30 days later, she was signing a contract into her new position. 

National Reach, Regional Expertise

While Misha continues to work on physician searches for the practice, they are delighted with her results thus far. Her familiarity with the Western region and her time spent visiting the community gave her an unparalleled understanding of the culture. The fact that she is part of a national firm with connections to candidates all over the country has also worked in the hospital’s favor, demonstrating why partnering with a firm with national reach and regional expertise is essential. 

If your healthcare organization is hiring a physician, the team at Jackson Physician Search is eager to help. Our time-tested digital recruitment strategy, executed by a recruiter with regional expertise and national reach, is set to deliver results. Contact us today to begin a dedicated physician recruitment partnership.

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Physician Recruiter Tackles Back-to-Back Nephrology Searches in Utah


The latest projections from the Association of American Medical Colleges suggest that by 2034, the United States will experience a shortage of between 37,800 and 124,000 physicians. However, healthcare organizations are already experiencing the impact of the physician shortage, with some specialties feeling it more than others. Nephrology, for example, is seeing a notable decline in trainees. In fact, the American Society of Nephrology reports that the number of applicants for nephrology residencies has steadily declined over the past decade, which is one of many factors contributing to the difficulty of hiring nephrologists.

When one Salt Lake City private practice needed a nephrologist, the leadership team came directly to Jackson Physician Search. We had successfully worked with the group in other locations, so they knew they could count on us for transparency and results. Director of Recruiting Misha Fabick took charge of the search and was clear with the client about the challenging road ahead. It was not unusual for a nephrology search to take a year or more, as there simply aren’t enough nephrologists coming out of training to fill every open position. The client understood and agreed to be patient while also promising to act quickly whenever Misha presented a candidate. They were committed to the partnership.

Learning the Culture of the Organization

Misha had lengthy discussions with stakeholders to understand better the group’s culture and preferences for the role. The practice had several physicians who had started their careers with the group, and the more tenured physicians enjoyed mentoring and shaping new talent. Misha noted that a recent graduate would likely be the best fit. She would use this insight to inform her search strategy.

Misha crafted a physician job ad highlighting the many benefits of the opportunity and distributed it via Jackson Physician Search’s vast physician job board network, including niche nephrology job boards. The marketing team also sent an email campaign to nephrologists in the database. Misha knew the ad would attract some applicants but refused to sit back and wait. She leveraged the many sourcing tools available to her and went looking for the right candidate.

Exceeding Expectations

Misha prepared for a lengthy search, so it was a pleasant surprise when she connected with Dr. L, a transplant nephrologist seeking an opportunity in Utah. While the group wasn’t specifically looking for someone with transplant experience, Misha took a chance and presented him to the group. Sure enough, they were thrilled to have a potential candidate with this background. Dr. L spoke with the Director of Operations by phone, and the client quickly arranged to have him come to Salt Lake City for an on-site physician interview. Shortly after, he signed a contract into his new role in fewer than 100 days after the start of the search.

The client was thrilled. They were so satisfied that they asked Misha to find a second nephrologist. She continued screening applicants and combing databases for the right candidate, but no one seemed to be the best fit. She worried her quick success with Dr. L had set unrealistic expectations, but she persevered, keeping the client updated and shifting strategies when necessary.

A Personal and Professional Match 

Eventually, Misha connected with Dr. F, a nephrology resident completing her training in Seattle. When Misha and Dr. F spoke on the phone, it was instantly clear she would be a great match. Not only did Dr. F’s professional qualifications and goals align with the client’s, but the location was also ideal. Dr. F was an avid snowboarder and hiker, so she wanted to remain out west. She also had a good friend living in Salt Lake City and was excited to reconnect.

The client was impressed by Dr. F when they spoke on the phone and soon extended an invitation for an on-site interview. Though the group offered to pay for her accommodations, Dr. F opted to stay with her friend. These arrangements worked out well, as the friend knew exactly how to showcase her city for Dr. F. The pair had a wonderful time exploring, and Dr. F felt right at home in Salt Lake. When the interview went well, she felt she had also found her professional home. The group made her an offer, and she happily accepted.

Secrets of Recruitment Success

Misha’s work with this client demonstrates the, at times, unpredictable nature of a physician search. Sometimes, the stars align, and the perfect candidate comes along quickly. Other times, a recruiter does everything in their power, but it takes time for that just-right candidate to surface. Misha diligently leveraged the Jackson Physician Search digital recruitment strategy and trusted the process would deliver. She was correct; it brought double the success–once right away and again a few months later. The client was happy to have two nephrologists joining the team and will undoubtedly look to Misha again with future needs.

Does your organization have a challenging position to fill? The recruitment team at Jackson Physician Search has the skills and expertise to accelerate your efforts. Reach out today to begin a dedicated partnership.   

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Consultative Physician Recruiting Results in 3 Placements for Connecticut Hospital


When an academic hospital in Connecticut first came to Jackson Physician Search about a potential physician recruiting partnership, they were actively trying to hire a specialized physician assistant and an OB/GYN. The team at Jackson Physician Search quickly assessed the market and presented crucial data about similar jobs in the tri-state area. Leadership appreciated the research and was eager to hear what Senior Search Consultant Nathan Collier would recommend to help compete with these other organizations and hire the best candidates. This consultative, researched-based approach to physician recruiting appealed to the client and would ultimately lead to the ongoing success of the partnership. 

Phase 1: Gathering Information

Nathan learned all the details about the positions and immersed himself in the organization’s culture in order to fully understand who they needed to hire. The hospital sought a surgical PA with the potential to lead a team of other surgical PAs. This would be a new role and the hospital’s first step toward building a team of physician assistants to support the surgical department.

Nathan started to think creatively and strategically about finding the ideal candidate for this significant role. As he began to mentally piece together a candidate profile, he knew the opportunity to build a team and mentor others would be extremely attractive to someone interested in advancing their career. Nathan decided a surgical physician assistant equipt with leadership experience but not officially in a leadership role would be the perfect fit.

Phase 2: Honing In On the Target

Nathan got to work leveraging his resources and began exploring potential candidates in the Jackson Physician Search database. To find physician assistants that matched the profile he had in mind, Nathan filtered the data to show candidates based on graduation dates that would put them in the career stage he was targeting.

Nathan began reaching out to the candidates within his set parameters by calling each one — often leaving voicemails. He was thrilled when a Surgical PA living on the west coast called him back to express his interest in the position and to learn more. The candidate had 20+ years of surgical experience at a California hospital, but his years of hard work had yet to translate into an official opportunity to lead – which he was eager to do. 

Nathan suspected he had the perfect candidate in his hands. Once he introduced the Surgical PA to the client, they flew him and his family out for an interview and facility tour. The whole family had a chance to explore the community and were pleased with their potential new home. An offer was quickly extended, the candidate flew out one more time to sign the contract, and Nathan’s search came to a close in fewer than 100 days.

Phase 3: Building Out the Team

Nathan sensed the Surgical PA would be easy to work with and was pleased to learn his instincts were right. The pair worked closely to find another surgical PA for the new team.  With the newly onboarded Surgical PA’s extensive experience and willingness to mentor, it made sense to bring on a new or recent graduate who would benefit from his leadership. Nathan focused his efforts on recent grads, ultimately connecting with a Physician Assistant from the area who was eager to learn from a more experienced surgical PA. Once the Physician Assistant met the Surgical PA and the rest of the hospital, it was obviously a strong match, leading to another quick, successful search in fewer than 90 days.

Revisiting the Search for an OB/GYN

While the PA searches progressed quickly, the search for an OB/GYN continued. The client insisted they wanted someone local – or at least familiar with the area – which narrowed the candidate pool considerably. Once again, Nathan considered the other OB/GYN openings in competition and noticed that while there were many open OB/GYN jobs, the number of listings for OB hospitalists was much smaller. 

Nathan knew it was a growing trend among OB/GYNs to pursue OB hospitalist positions. The 12-hour shifts and no call allowed for a better work-life balance, something increasingly prioritized by OB/GYNs at all stages of their careers. With this insight, Nathan concluded that the relatively few OB hospitalist opportunities in the area meant demand for those jobs would be high. Nathan advised the client to open the search parameters and consider OB hospitalists. He felt confident this would increase the number of applicants.

Sure enough, within a few weeks, Dr. D saw the job ad online and reached out. She was from Connecticut and looking for a job in the area with a better work-life balance. She also liked that the academic setting would allow her to mentor residents, so the OB hospitalist position was exactly what she had been seeking. The client quickly invited her to interview, and both parties knew it was the right fit.

More Than a Physician Recruiter

When the client turned to Jackson Physician Search for recruitment assistance, they knew they would gain access to tools and resources to advance their most challenging searches. However, the consultative nature of the partnership brought the most value to the relationship. Nathan’s industry experience and knowledge of the current market allowed him to make recommendations that were truly game-changers in the recruitment process. Nathan proved to be an extension of the recruitment team, and an authentic subject matter expert and consultant, resulting in an active partnership to this day.

If you have a tough-to-fill physician job, our recruitment team has the industry experience and market expertise to make recommendations that dramatically improve results. Reach out today to learn more about a dedicated physician recruitment partnership.

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The Evolution of Physician Executive Jobs


A physician considering a future in leadership might define the goal as eventually running a department at a hospital or owning and operating his or her own practice. Through years of working with patients while navigating the healthcare business, the physician would have the experience necessary for either of these physician executive jobs. 

However, there are many more roles aspiring physician leaders have available to them. We see physician executives not only running their own practices and departments, but they are also leading hospitals, pharmaceutical companies, health insurance companies, and more. 

At Jackson Physician Search, we have seen this firsthand. In recent years we have assisted our clients with numerous physician executive searches, including Medical Director roles and department heads at hospitals, as well as a Vice President for a healthcare tech company and a CMO for a non-profit health insurer. Organizations of all types and sizes are recognizing the benefits of physician leadership. As the role continues to evolve, we will no doubt continue to see more organizations hiring physician executives

But what has caused this expansion of opportunities for physicians on the business side of medicine? As healthcare as a whole becomes increasingly “corporate,” physicians are naturally paying more and more attention to this area of the profession. The combination of clinical expertise and business acumen brings a new and necessary perspective to a variety of healthcare organizations. 

The Benefits of Physician Executive Leadership 

The benefits of physician executive leadership are many, though often the first to come to mind is the ability to act as a bridge between the boardroom and the clinic. They bring a clinical perspective to administrative conversations, ensuring decisions are made with the patient in mind and an awareness of how staff will be impacted. In the same way, physician executives can convey administrative directives to staff, ensuring the motivations for new policies are clear. Because physician executives have direct experience with patients, they may garner more trust and respect from patient-facing staff, making it easier for them to get buy-in on new initiatives. 

As mediators, physician executives are certainly helpful, but today’s physician executives are increasingly called upon to set policies and launch initiatives designed to grow the patient base. In a competitive healthcare landscape, physician executives have the unique experience of knowing what patients want and need as well as what is financially favorable for the organization. Finding the balance between these two things is critical for the success of any healthcare organization–and physician executives are best positioned to achieve it.

Must-Haves for Physician Executive Jobs

The role of physician executive is undoubtedly expanding, as seen in the growing list of must-have skills for physician executives. Today’s physician executives must go beyond being an expert in one’s specialty or a longstanding team member. They need to be business-minded with a head for strategy and innovation. They must also be excellent communicators with high levels of emotional intelligence, capable of taking the temperature of any room (metaphorically) and knowing how to ask questions or present information in a way that will be well-received.

As healthcare organizations increasingly act more like corporations, physician executives must take a more strategic role focused on growing market share. This means a keen understanding of general business principles as well as market trends and community needs. Physician executives must be capable of building relationships within their own organizations and with other organizations’ leaders. These soft skills are increasingly important in today’s physician executives.

Mentoring Tomorrow’s Physician Executives

Because the role of physician executive has evolved significantly in recent years, today’s physician executives have largely had to learn on the job. Their mentors may have guided them through clinical challenges, but it is unlikely they could have foreseen the demands that would be placed on them in a business capacity. That said, future physician leaders have the benefit of dual MD/MBA degrees, extensive in-house training programs, and of course, mentors who are tackling these challenges and proving the value of physician executives every day. 

Organizations must create an environment that encourages physician executive mentorship. They can do this by offering physicians a clear view of how decisions are made and inviting them to participate when possible. Identify physicians interested in leadership and assign them to a physician executive mentor who will meet with them regularly and prepare them for a future in leadership. Physicians who learn firsthand from successful physician executives are most likely to one day find success in the role themselves.


At Jackson Physician Search, we’ve built relationships with physicians for 40+ years. Our physician database includes physicians from all over the country and at all stages of their careers. This means we are well-positioned to connect organizations with the most qualified physician executives for any role. Reach out today to learn more about our physician executive recruitment process.

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Opening the Door: Dedicated Physician Recruiter Transforms Orthopedic Surgeon Search


After months of searching for an orthopedic surgeon to join their group, the administrator at a Delaware orthopedic practice was understandably dissatisfied that the position was still open. As Senior Business Development Manager at Jackson Physician Search, Zach Underhill often hears from administrators and practice managers who have reached this level of frustration with the recruitment process. In this particular case, the potential client had been able to source candidates, but each on-site visit ended with the promising candidate deciding the relatively remote, coastal location just wasn’t for them. Zach sympathized with their struggle but was confident the expert recruitment team at Jackson Physician Search would be able to help. After hearing the details of its tried-and-true approach, the administrator was eager to begin a partnership.

The administrator’s takeaway from their recruitment experience so far was that they needed to hire a candidate who was already familiar with the area – either currently living in Delaware or had lived in Delaware previously. These were the parameters given to Senior Search Consultant Nathan Collier, the Jackson Physician Search recruiter assigned to the group. Nathan explained that this requirement would significantly limit the candidate pool, but they were insistent. Nathan began executing the 100% digital search strategy pioneered by Jackson Physician Search and prepared himself for a challenge. 


The Importance of Location

For physicians, practice location is often the driving factor in their job searches; however, it’s less common for a hiring organization to restrict search parameters based on candidate location. Of course, it’s common for them to prioritize candidates with ties to a given area, but to exclude all candidates without them – especially when the site in question has one of the smallest populations in the country – is to limit one’s options severely. Nathan stressed this to the client each time they discussed the search bounds. Though he knew he could eventually find someone from Delaware, the timeline for that search would be significantly longer than a search for candidates willing to relocate.

The client resisted Nathan’s advice to expand the search, but as Nathan screened applicants, he noted those who checked every other box and presented several to the client anyway.   

“It’s a risk, presenting candidates who don’t exactly match,” explains Nathan, “But I felt it was important for them to see the caliber of candidates potentially available if they would look beyond the state borders.” 

A Candidate Too Good to Ignore

Although the administrator continued to dismiss any candidate who wasn’t from Delaware, when Nathan connected with Dr. C, a fellow finishing his training in Toronto, he knew they needed to meet him. Dr. C was explicitly looking for orthopedic surgery jobs in states that recognized physicians who had passed the medical boards in Canada, and Delaware is among those states. Dr. C also knew (as noted in Nathan’s job ad) that Delaware is a “tax-free state,” so the location was doubly attractive for him. 

Nathan urged the administrator to call Dr. C. Not only did his training align, but he seemed to be an excellent cultural fit. Most importantly, he was genuinely eager to move to Delaware and start building a life. Nathan knew qualified candidates who wound up uninterested in relocating had let the group down in the past, but he believed Dr. C was genuinely enthusiastic about the opportunity and Delaware. 

Nathan’s instincts were right. The interview and site visit went beautifully. The partners instantly felt a connection, and Dr. C was thrilled by what he learned about the group and the track to partnership. Equally important, after visiting, he could easily imagine building a life there in Delaware. Dr. C signed a contract a few weeks later, closing the search after just five months.

Secrets of Physician Recruitment Success

Nathan’s guidance and the group’s eventual willingness to look beyond state borders played a powerful role in the success of this search; however, a broader detail to note is Nathan’s skillful screening of candidates as a dedicated physician recruitment partner. Prior to Jackson Physician Search, the orthopedic group relied on contingent firms versus working hand in hand with a search consultant who individually examined each candidate before presenting them. As a result, they interviewed multiple candidates who were ultimately not a good fit.

In contrast, Nathan became an extension of the healthcare organization. He asked candidates concrete questions to evaluate their clinical and cultural qualifications and to gauge their seriousness about the location. Before suggesting Dr. C to the group, Nathan thoroughly learned about his circumstances and needs, ensuring that he was qualified and that Delaware was an excellent option for him. 

It’s important to note that the client continued to accept submissions from contingent firms while working with Nathan, yet Nathan brought the only top contenders. Nathan’s respectful persistence and careful analysis of applicants meant he did not sacrifice the client’s valuable time or present more rejection from candidates who were not serious about the job. Instead, the group quickly hired a candidate who would fit, succeed, and stay.

If your organization is struggling to find the right physician, the recruitment team at Jackson Physician Search has the digital tools to cast a wide net and the expertise to screen applicants, presenting only those candidates who are certain to be a good fit. Reach out today to begin a dedicated physician recruitment partnership.

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