North Shore-LIJ
Lawrence Smith, Hofstra North Shore-LIJ School of Medicine

Lawrence Smith

Leading New York’s First New Medical School in More Than 40 Years

Editors’ Note

Lawrence Smith has held the position of Chief Medical Officer since September 2006. He is the Founding Dean of the Hofstra North Shore-LIJ School of Medicine, which will admit its first class of 40 students in the summer of 2011. Smith joined North Shore-LIJ in May 2005 as Chief Academic Officer and Senior Vice President of Academic Affairs. Prior to joining North Shore-LIJ, Smith was at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine, where he served as Dean (beginning in 2002) and Chairman of Medical Education, Founder and Director of the school’s Institute for Medical Education, Professor of Medicine, and an attending physician. Previously, he practiced at Stony Brook University Hospital. Smith earned a Bachelor of Science degree in physics from Fordham University and a medical degree from the New York University School of Medicine. His residency in internal medicine at Strong Memorial Hospital was followed by military service as a captain in the Army Medical Corps at Fitzsimons Army Medical Center in Denver.

How do you define your role as Chief Medical Officer (CMO), and what key areas are you most focused on?

The way our health system is organized, it’s a combination of the traditional role of a CMO managing quality and physician credentialing, and ultimately managing the models of care delivered to patients at the bedside.

But I’m also the senior physician of the whole health system. And that adds a different twist to it. You have to delegate local leadership to the medical directors of the hospitals, because it’s impossible to be everywhere with 15 different hospitals and dozens of ambulatory care centers.

I have physician medical directors at every site who understand my values and the goals of the system, and who are in sync with us in managing quality, integrity, and change.

How much of a focus is the strength of the health system’s education programs?

For the hospitals with strong intern and residency programs, the culture of education is fundamental to how they deliver care, how they achieve change in care, and the training of the doctors that populate our health system. So the tertiary hospitals with the full cadre of residency programs across every specialty, and even the smaller hospitals with just one residency program, very often have trained a significant number of their own medical staff.

The culture of nurturing young clinicians is very present in our system.

What was the thinking behind the creation of the Hofstra North Shore-LIJ School of Medicine?

Multiple hospitals in the health system have played longstanding key roles in educating medical students from other schools.

Not only did we have about 100 of our own residency programs, but we did a lot of teaching for other medical schools. But the students were always visitors and we were delivering someone else’s curriculum to their students.

Then two things happened simultaneously: one was the national plea to build new medical schools to fill the physician workforce gap; and the second was that a predominant university in our area, Hofstra University, whose stature had grown from local to regional to a national university, was trying to become home to a medical school with a health care partner.

So the timing on the partnership was perfect. North Shore-LIJ was maturing into being a major national player as was Hofstra University.