Faculty members in medicine, management win best overall manuscript award at international conference

Yunmei Wang, assistant professor of medicine, and Philip A. Cola, adjunct assistant professor of medicine and management, won the best overall manuscript at the 21st International Academy of Management and Business Conference held in Montreal, Canada, May 18-20.

Their paper, “Socio-Cultural Factors Influencing Academic-Practitioner Collaboration in Medicine,” emanated from their collaborative efforts as practitioner-scholars in the Doctor of Management program at the Weatherhead School of Management.

Wang studies the scientist and physician collaboration and Cola studies the factors that influence success for physician scientists. They were both interested in the problem that it takes 17 years to translate 14 percent of research findings into the clinical practice of medicine that still only impacts 50 percent of patients.

They postulated that the lack of scientist-physician partnership is a critical reason for this low rate of translational science. Their quantitative study investigated the influence of social factors on an effective partnership between scientists and physicians.

Hypotheses included that both perceived socio-cultural difference and professional language difference between scientists and physicians have negative effects on their partnership outcomes, which include academic and clinical outcomes, and social support and shared visions/goals positively influence the outcomes of this partnership. Finally, they proposed that communication effectiveness and mutuality mediate the effects of these social factors on collaborative outcomes. More than 400 scientists and physicians were surveyed across academic medical centers to test these hypotheses.

The data indicated that:

  • Both professional language differences and socio-cultural difference, counter-intuitively, do not have negative, but rather positive effects on scientist physician partnerships directly or indirectly through their positive effects on communication effectiveness and mutuality as well as satisfaction on collaborative process effectiveness;
  • As hypothesized, social support and shared vision/goals are positively associated with partnership outcomes; and
  • Communication effectiveness, mutuality and satisfaction on collaborative process mediate the effects of perceived socio-cultural difference, professional language difference, social support and shared vision/goals on partnership outcomes.

Wang and Cola have planned a series of publications on these and related topics with data that they have collected over the past five years about partnerships, relationships, collaboration and mentorship in academic medicine. These data are expected to and already are providing new insights and practical implications on effective inter-professional collaboration in knowledge production and translational medicine.

While there has been significant research into the world of physicians and scientists over the past 40 years, they believe that their research holds important information for the future of academic medicine which is at the crossroads in terms of efficiency, funding and the proper path forward for integrative medicine and team science. Their work has broad impact in the clinical and translational sciences and management fields.

Later this year they will present qualitative results from a second study as a poster at a national management conference sponsored by the Association for Research on Nonprofit Organizations and Voluntary Action (ARNOVA) in Washington, DC.