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September 1, 2008

Letter from the editor: Leaders and followers

Mollie Vento Hudson, Editor

Mollie Vento Hudson, Editor

By the time this issue arrives in your mailbox, we’ll be just a few weary weeks from the presidential elections. It’s a no-brainer, of course, that by then we will have been battered and beleaguered by countless television spots from John McCain and Barack Obama, each claiming he will be the better leader for our troubled country.

Regardless of which candidate you believe to be more presidential, history has taught us that leaders can rise to power under a number of circumstances. They can be elected - democratically chosen by the people - as we enjoy. They can take power violently by overthrowing the previous government. They can lead by the force of personality, whether positive - as Martin Luther King, Jr. - or negative - as Adolf Hitler. And although there are always people in positions of authority, that doesn’t necessarily equate to leadership.

Some of us are leaders and some are followers, and both are important. It wouldn’t do any good to have an officer charge into battle - no matter how great a leader - if he didn’t have troops following him. Martin Luther King, Jr., for all his charisma, couldn’t have marched on Washington alone. He needed followers.

Our issue this time is also about leaders and followers. Leaders - as elected officers to guide a hospital and as forward-thinking physicians singing the praises of sustainable medicine.  David Goodman shows us the way of the future in "Green Goes Mainstream," beginning on page 17. In "Hail to the Chief," beginning on page 30, first-time UO contributor Anayat Durrani explores the challenges facing young physicians elected chief of staff, as well as the attributes they bring to the job and the rewards it offers. And in our department, Practical Management beginning on page 13, Judy Capko’s "Leading the Way" outlines specific points to help any physician - even a born follower - lead his or her practice.

Medicine, like society in general, needs leaders and followers. Good trends, like the practice of environmentally responsible medicine, need followers. Research needs leaders and then  followers (though not blind) to support the findings. Education needs leaders. However you see yourself, we at UO want to provide you with the information and tools you need to succeed. If there are issues you’d like us to cover, please let us know.

- Mollie Vento Hudson



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