Compare courses


Healthcare Innovation spotlight Robert Pearl, MD


Stanford Graduate School of Business
Lecturer in Organizational Behavior

Teaching Statement

Dr. Robert Pearl's teaching combines theoretical models of strategic thinking and strategic change with his experience as the CEO of a 11 billion a year organization. He believes that there is a disciplined approach which successful leaders follow to maximize their chance of identifying and responding to changes in the competitive environment. As part of his teaching, he uses case studies, video material and individual participation and practice. He believes that successful leaders regardless of the industry must be both technically and interpersonally excellent and that both can be learned. He recommends that leaders combine analytic frameworks and strategic thinking to create a vision for the future, align people and motivate them to move forward ahead of their competition.


Dr. Robert Pearl is Executive Director and CEO of The Permanente Medical Group and President and CEO of the Mid-Atlantic Permanente Medical Group. Together these organizations are comprised of over 9,000 physicians and 34,000 staff members. Dr. Pearl is responsible for the health care that is delivered to approximately 4 million Kaiser Permanente members in the states of California, Virginia, Maryland and the District of Columbia.

Board certified in Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, Dr. Pearl received his Medical Degree from Yale University School of Medicine. He completed his residency in Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery at Stanford University and currently serves on the faculty as a Clinical Professor of Plastic Surgery. He is also on the faculty of the Stanford Graduate School of Business where he teaches courses on strategy and leadership, as well as lectures on the subject of health care technology.

Selected by Modern Healthcare as one of the most powerful physician leaders in the nation, Dr. Pearl has published more than 100 articles in various medical journals and has been a contributor to many books. He has made over 100 presentations at national meetings in the areas of both clinical medicine and medical economics. In the past several years, he has been a visiting professor at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, Haas School of Business and Harvard School of Public Health. Recently, Dr. Pearl was a featured speaker at both the Commonwealth Club and the Institute for Healthcare Improvement’s National Quality Forum event. In addition, he participated in the Bipartisan Congressional Task Force on Delivery System Reform and Health IT. Most recently, he became the Chairman of the National Council of Accountable Physician Practices (which includes the largest medical groups from across the country such as the Mayo Clinic, Geisenger and Intermountain Healthcare).

Dr. Pearl is a frequent lecturer on the opportunities to use 21st Century tools and technology to improve both the quality and cost of health care, while simultaneously making care more convenient and personalized. As a regular contributor to, Dr. Pearl publishes a weekly blog on the nexus of health care and business and provides frequent updates through Twitter. He is an advocate for the power of integrated, prepaid and technologically enabled health care delivery systems. He is also a strong believer that organizations like Kaiser Permanente in which physicians collaborate rather than compete, and in which a multi-specialty medical group works in partnership with a not-for-profit health plan and hospital system, are able to provide superior quality of care over fragmented insurance-based systems.

Academic Degrees

  • MD, Yale University School of Medicine, 1972
  • Residency and Internship, Stanford University Hospital

Academic Appointments

  • At Stanford University since 1978

Professional Experience

  • Executive Director and CEO, The Permanente Medical Group, 1998-present
  • Physician-in-Chief, The Permanente Medical Group, 1996-1998
  • Residency Director, Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, Stanford Hospital, 1984-1990
  • Assistant Physician-in-Chief, The Permanente Medical Group, 1980-1995
  • Physician, The Permanente Medical Group, 1978-1980


Degree Courses


STRAMGT 381: Leading Strategic Change in the Health Care Industry

In this seminar we will study the structure and dynamics of the U.S. health care industry, especially in the face of ongoing regulatory change, and ways it intersects with the global health care industry.n nThe seminar''s aim is to develop...


STRAMGT 381: Leading Strategic Change in the Health Care Industry

This seminar provides the opportunity for students to study the structure and dynamics of the U.S. health care industry, and some of the ways it intersects with the global health care industry. The U.S. health care industry represents over 15...

Executive Education & Other Non-Degree Programs

In the Media

New Physicians Will Need Business School Skills

NEJM Catalyst, November 3, 2016

We propose that medical schools, in conjunction with business school faculty, develop an interdisciplinary four-week clinical rotation during the fourth year of medical school. The goal of the four-week course would be for the student to identify and solve real problems facing the school’s hospitals and clinics. By the end, students would have developed the business skills needed to lead multi-disciplinary teams, serve as contributing team members, and apply data analytics to improve clinical practice.

Understanding the Health Insurance Exchanges

Forbes, November 7, 2013

In a column for, the Stanford GSB lecturer and CEO of the Permanente Medical Group warns against prematurely predicting the outcome of health care reform.

Insights by Stanford Business

writtenAn Antidote for Health Care Reform Failure

May 16, 2017

To drive down the cost of health care insurance, we must redesign care delivery.

writtenThree Ways to Transform American Health Care

June 1, 2015

Hospitals should adopt these popular business strategies.

Show more

Read about executive education


Better Medicine Through Information Technology | SM136 Robert Burgelman, Philip Meza, Robert Pearl2004

Liberty Medical Group (Condensed) | OB43 Condensed David Caldwell, Davina Drabkin, Charles O'Reilly III, Robert Pearl2004

The Liberty Medical Group (A) | OB43(A) David Caldwell, Charles O'Reilly III, Robert Pearl2003

The Liberty Medical Group (B): Crossing the Great Divide | OB43(B) David Caldwell, Charles O'Reilly III, Robert Pearl2003

Other experts

Biography Professor Tetlock's research interests include behavioral finance, asset pricing, and prediction markets. One area of his research examines how firms' stock market prices respond to the content of news stories. His 2007 Journal of Finance study on the impact of negative words, such as ...
Brett Saraniti received his PhD in Managerial Economics and Decision Sciences from the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University in 1997.  His dissertation chair was Roger Myerson, Nobel Laureate 2007.  He is currently a Professor of Economics and Quantitative Methods at Hawaii Paci...
Education Ph.D. in Economics, University of Montreal,May 2008 Specialization: Financial Economics and Econometrics Thesis Title: "Three Essays in Empirical Asset Pricing" Examiner: Lars Peter Hansen, University of Chicago, 2013 Nobel Laureate in Economics Advisers: René Garcia, University of Mon...