Member profile: Paul Charkowski, FASPR, Tucson
By Lori Jackson Norris, FASPR, physician recruiter, Dignity Health/AZ
When invited to be interviewed for this member profile, Paul Charkowski’s response was, “When it comes to a profile, I prefer to keep mine low...” For those who know Charkowski, that response is not surprising. He is a seasoned professional who takes his work seriously.
Charkowski has been the physician network manager for Tucson Medical Center (TMC), Tucson, AZ, for eight years. “My main role has been to recruit for the private groups that are affiliated with TMC. In addition, we are starting to place more emphasis on expanding our primary care base with our employed 18-member group,” said Charkowski. “I’m a one-person department so my duties all are related to the function of physician recruitment, including the management of the dollars we loan out for income guarantees, signing bonuses, student loan assistance, etc.”
Like many of his colleagues, Charkowski faces certain obstacles in his job. He said, “...finding primary care physicians is a challenge. Another challenge is educating our administration that we need to have our physician recruitment strategy in place over a year in advance of when we want a physician to start his/her practice.” Putting these challenges aside, Charkowski added that he really enjoys the autonomy and independence he finds in his job.
A physician recruitment professional and an ASPR member for the past 15 years, Charkowski has enjoyed the benefits of being a member. When asked what he likes most about ASPR, he said, “The annual conference is the best. I’m pretty sure I haven’t missed one since 1998. Networking with other recruiters and the vendors is a new learning experience each year.”
Early on in his professional development, Charkowski benefited from the experience of others. He gave credit to some special mentors. “I look at two past colleagues, Steve Shotwell and Diana Diekman, who helped me get started in the physician recruitment business. These two showed me the ropes and taught me how to do all aspects of recruitment.” He said that this well-rounded mentoring from ASPR members has helped him stand on his own two professional feet. “To this day, I have had no administrative support—not necessarily by choice—and I manage all steps of the recruitment process.”
Another important benefit Charkowski said he gets from ASPR membership is the ability to participate in the Fellowship Certification Program. “I was among those in the first class to receive the Fellow status.
It was an honor…It meant that, for the most part, I know the business of physician recruitment,” said Charkowski.
Charkowski also is involved in the development of ASPR as a member of the ASPR Education Committee. He said he is trying to be of special assistance this year since the ASPR 2013 Annual Conference will be held in his home town of Tucson.
Charkowski was born in Kalamazoo, MI, and grew up in that area. Prior to relocating to the southwest, Charkowski and his wife lived in Grand Rapids, MI, where he was a physician recruiter for Spectrum Health. Before entering the physician recruitment profession, he worked in radiology management. Charkowski earned a bachelor’s degree in health studies and a master’s in educational leadership. He and his wife have two children, a step-daughter and a granddaughter. In his spare time, he said he tries to fit in a few hobbies, and added, “You can’t live in Tucson and not golf and hike. I also still try to play basketball once or twice a week. And home maintenance chores and projects tend to fill in any other free time I might have.”
With the recent passing of his father, Charkowski was reminded that there is more to life than just your job. He said he pays more attention to a lesson we should all remember: “Life is short, live your life to the fullest.”