Interview with Dr. Barbara Loeb

In my quest to promote physician leadership, I've been looking for an awesome physician executive to interview. So, I invited Dr. Barbara Loeb to tell us about her career journey. 

Barbara is an accomplished physician executive and leader. Currently, she’s the Associate Chief Medical Officer (CMO) of Population Health at Loyola Medicine.

But Barbara started her career as your typical general internist, running a small practice in the Chicago area. Well into her clinical career, she decided to pursue a career in hospital management. She took on leadership roles in the largest health system in the Chicago area, called Advocate Physician Partners, while still practicing as an independent physician in that system.

Then, she moved into the role of full-time VP for Medical Affairs at one of the newly aquired hospitals, where she developed many of the leadership and management skills she would later apply.

She left Advocate to became CMO for a hospital in the largest Catholic health system in the Chicago area, Presence Health. 

Later, she took on the job of chief medical officer for a new health plan in Illinois, called Land of Lincoln. I first met her there, when I represented my hospital on one of the committees she chaired for the plan. 

awesome physician executive barbara loeb
Physician Executive Barbara Loeb, MD, MBA

She left that position to become CMO for a four-hospital health system in Chicago that was part of Tenet Healthcare, a for-profit national health system. When the Chicago hospitals were later spun off, Barbara became part of Loyola Medicine in Chicago, where she now serves as Population Health Associate Chief Medical Officer.

During this wide-ranging interview, we address many issues that face the emerging physician executive. And Barbara provides specific advice about how to prepare yourself for a such a career.

Growing Up in Chicago

Barbara was born and raised near Chicago by a single mother. The family struggled to find medical care without insurance.

Watching her mother go through such challenges inspired Barbara to pursue a career in medicine. “I thought I could help by being a physician and treating patients in the area that I grew up in.”

After graduating from Northwestern University and completing the internal medicine residency program at Loyola University Chicago Stritch School of Medicine, Barbara became even more excited about becoming a physician and starting her own practice. “It was sort of a dream come true.”

Eager to Build a Rewarding Career as a Medical Science Liaison?

Here's the smart way to do it (even if you never completed a residency training program)…

I recently released my first formal course How to Secure a Career as a Medical Science Liaison.

It’s designed to take you from where you are in your career, to your first job as an MSL in the growing pharmaceutical industry.

I chose to focus on this career because it's open to both licensed and unlicensed physicians.

The course is now open. It will be closed for enrollment soon. And the current price is the LOWEST price at which it will ever be offered.

To learn more, go to

Taking Initiative

Barbara was happy working in her practice taking care of patients for several years. But she gradually became interested in making a bigger difference in health care. Medicine was changing a lot, and she wanted to take a leadership role.

She decided to differentiate herself from other physicians by continuing her education, eventually completing her MBA. And she volunteered to serve on various hospital and health system committees to improve her understanding of organizational and leadership concepts.

Barbara accumulated diverse experience and knowledge beyond her clinical craft. “I moved through so many different things while I was an independent physician, and I felt it helped get me ready to do something further.”

Also, she found mentors who encouraged and supported her efforts to be an awesome physician leader. And these mentors supported her desire to focus on quality and outcomes, not the bottom line.

Anything that gives you more balance in your life, and makes you more excited and attentive in what you do, will help you in your practice.

Barbara Loeb

Our Corporate Sponsor

We're proud to have the University of Tennessee Physician Executive MBA Program, offered by the Haslam College of Business, as the sponsor of this podcast.

The UT PEMBA is the longest running, and most highly respected physician-only MBA in the country, with over 650 graduates. Unlike other programs, which typically run 1 – 1/2 to 2 years, this program only takes a year to complete. And Economist Magazine recently ranked the business school #1 in the world for the Most Relevant Executive MBA.

University of Tennessee PEMBA students bring exceptional value to their organizations. While in the program, you'll participate in a company project, thereby contributing to your organization.

Graduates have taken leadership positions at major healthcare organizations. And they've become entrepreneurs and business owners.

By joining the University of Tennessee physician executive MBA, you will develop the business and management skills you need to advance your career. To find out more, contact Dr. Kate Atchley’s office by calling (865) 974-6526 or go to

Learning at the Studer Group

Barbara benefited by spending time working as a consultant at the Studer Group. That experience provided an understanding and tools to address satisfaction for patients, physicians, and employees.


Here are a few lessons Barbara learned from Studer:

  • Being present
  • Listening
  • Treating others with respect
  • Communicating effectively
  • Creating a positive work culture

Those lessons were helpful in her subsequent leadership roles. She ultimately moved to a hospital in Chicago that was part of the Tenet Health System. When her hospital was sold to Loyola, she joined the leadership team as Associate Chief Medical Officer.

There, she is now responsible for the development, implementation, and oversight of the the medical management for delegated health plan functions, including value based care programs and bundled payments.

In Summary

Unless they decide otherwise, physicians can be in practice for life. However, becoming an awesome physician executive involves changing your mindset. And you may need to make sacrifices because advancing your career requires:

  • Flexibility and perpetual learning, since each job presents new challenges;
  • Accepting reduced job security and more frequent job change, especially if you want to advance to more challenging positions; and,
  • Multiple moves, sometimes to distant locations.

We touched on so many other topics during this conversation. I encourage you to listen to teh entire interview. Also, you can download a transcript of the interview by clicking the blue button above.

Check Out This New Career Course

As I mentioned earlier, I’ve created a brand-new course that will show you how to pursue a career as a medical science liaison. You can learn more about it by going to But don’t delay, I’m closing the course soon.

Links for today's episode:

Thanks to our sponsor…

Thanks to the UT Physician Executive MBA program for sponsoring the show. It’s an outstanding, highly rated, MBA program designed for working physicians. It might be just what you need to prepare for that joyful, well-paying career. You can find out more at

I hope to see you next time on the PNC Podcast.

If you enjoyed today’s episode, share it on Twitter and Facebook, and leave a review on iTunes.


The opinions expressed here are mine and my guest’s. While the information provided on the podcast is true and accurate to the best of my knowledge, there is no express or implied guarantee that using the methods discussed here will lead to success in your career, life or business. 

Many of the links that I refer you to, and that you’ll find in the show notes, are affiliate links. That means that I receive a payment from the seller if you purchase the affiliate item using my link. Doing so has no effect on the price you are charged. And I only promote products and services that I believe are of high quality and will be useful to you, that I have personally used or am very familiar with.

The information presented on this blog and related podcast is for entertainment and/or informational purposes only. It should not be construed as medical, legal, tax, or emotional advice. If you take action on the information provided on the blog or podcast, it is at your own risk. Always consult an attorney, accountant, career counsellor, or other professional before making any major decisions about your career. 

Right click here and “Save As” to download this podcast episode to your computer.

Here are the easiest ways to listen:  or