College Fellow is new leader of practice managers' association

The president of the newly merged Medical Group Management Association and American College of Medical Practice Executives describes her new role after only a few weeks on the job.

Susan Turney, MD, FACP

Susan Turney MD FACP
Susan Turney, MD, FACP

Occupation: President and CEO of MGMA-ACMPE. [The Medical Group Management Association (MGMA) and American College of Medical Practice Executives (ACMPE) were separate entities that merged in October 2011.]

Current residence: I'm in transition. I've only been on the job for a couple of weeks and we're moving from Madison, Wis., to Denver.

Hometown: Mellen, Wis., a town of 900 people.

Family: A son, who is a lawyer, and a daughter in medical school and her husband, all in Chicago.


Medical school: University of Wisconsin, Madison.

Other education: Master of science degree in administrative medicine, University of Wisconsin.

Residency: General internal medicine, Marshfield Clinic, St. Joseph's Hospital, Marshfield, Wis.

Something I wish I'd learned in medical school: How to squeeze about 30 hours of work in a 24-hour day.


How I became an internist: I decided to be a doctor when my kindergarten teacher told me that I had to be a nurse, I couldn't be a doctor. For my residency I interviewed in many programs but the internal medicine program at Marshfield I ranked first. I just kept getting pulled back to Marshfield.

First job: Mangling (or pressing) sheets for hotels. I knew I didn't want to do that for forever.

Most rewarding aspect of your job: Talking to patients and being engaged with them. I'm still getting handwritten notes from some of my patients that I haven't seen in 10 years. They send me hand-crocheted Christmas ornaments and invite me to their family events.

Future goals: I want to do things that make a difference. At the end of the day, I want to say that patients have better outcomes as result of the work that we do.

Hardest medical lesson learned: We know the right thing to do, but there are things that we can't control and it can be frustrating.


Personal heroes: The people that take care of our patients on a day-to-day basis. Not just physicians, but all the health care team and the people that support them.

Pet peeves: I like to start meetings on time and I like to make sure that what happens in that meeting is important, not just meeting for meeting's sake.

Favorite ways to spend free time: Being outside walking with my husband and our four dogs.

Books on my nightstand: I pick up anything and read it. The Help was very interesting to me because of its historical nature and the strong women.

Most meaningful nonmedical accomplishment: I've been in a good marriage and I've got two great kids and they're both happy and successful.

Item I can't live without: I was going to say the bathtub. No one can find me there. But what I couldn't give up is being able to read and listening to music.

Most surprising thing about me: I'm a tap dancer.

Biggest regret: I don't look back. Though I've made mistakes, I embrace the moment and look forward.

If I weren't a physician, I would be: A professional singer in a rock band.