Career transitions: Reflections of former chairs and academic health center leaders

David N. Bailey, L. Maximilian Buja, Avrum I. Gotlieb, Deborah E. Powell, Fred Sanfilippo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The 2022 Association of Pathology Chairs Annual Meeting included a live discussion session and a pre-meeting recorded panel webinar sponsored by the Senior Fellows Group (former chairs of academic departments of pathology who have remained active in the Association of Pathology Chairs). The presentation was focused on transition planning for academic health center leaders. Each of the discussion group panelists had served as a pathology department chair as well as in more senior leadership positions, and they provided perspectives based upon their personal experiences. It was noted that such positions are often “at will” appointments of indeterminate length and that those above department chair generally carry greater risks and less stability. Becoming “addicted” to a leadership position was not considered beneficial to the individual or to the institution served and makes transitioning more difficult. Ongoing organizational succession planning was deemed helpful to mitigate such addiction and facilitate personal transition planning. Modes of transitioning discussed included those planned (e.g., voluntary retirement, resignation, administrative advancement) and unplanned (e.g., being “fired”; unexpected personal, health, or family issues). Unplanned transitions were felt to be more difficult, while anticipating when it is time to go and planning for it provided greater personal fulfillment after transition. Many career options were identified after serving in a leadership position, including a return to teaching, research, and/or clinical service; writing; mentoring; becoming more active in professional organizations and boards; philanthropic work; and “reinventing oneself” by moving to another career entirely.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number100037
JournalAcademic Pathology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2022

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The authors thank Priscilla Markwood, Madeleine Markwood, Melvin Limson, and Amelia Stephenson of the APC Office for supporting this discussion group activity.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022 The Author(s)


  • Career
  • Consideration
  • Position
  • Preparation
  • Succession planning
  • Transitioning

PubMed: MeSH publication types

  • Journal Article


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