If you had two months off work to do anything you wanted to do, what would it be? Spend more time with family? Travel to far off lands? Enroll in a class? Go on a diet and get in shape? Learn to cook? I suppose the possibilities are endless. Well, that is exactly the opportunity that is now on my plate. Because you see, I’m about to start a two month sabbatical from my work at Microsoft.
I don’t think I’ve had 8 continuous weeks off since high school. Even then, I worked most summers. During my college years, I produced and hosted a television show for teens. I also managed rock bands and produced outdoor concerts. After college graduation I immediately went to work in the television industry. A few years later I decided to go to medical school. It was a three-year accelerated program with no time off. Then came 3 years of residency training with 80 hour work weeks. Following that was clinical practice combined with years of producing and hosting medical programming and news shows around the country, founding a technology company or two, becoming a hospital CIO and CMIO, and eventually landing at Microsoft. For the past 11 years it has been my pleasure to travel around the globe and work with one of the best health industry teams in the business. So now after all that I have earned a sabbatical. Two months off work to do whatever I want. Therefore, I hope you will understand and excuse my absence from HealthBlog in March and April. But fear not. HealthBlog will not be fallow while I’m gone.
I am pleased to let you know that my good friend and colleague, Gareth Hall (right), will be substituting for me while I’m away. Gareth is our worldwide health industry manager for all things related to Windows 8, devices and applications. That means he is at the forefront of so much that is happening right now in terms of cool new mobile devices, compelling solutions and useful applications for health and the healthcare industry. Although Gareth is not a physician, or even a clinician for that matter, he does come to Microsoft from a healthcare organization—in fact, one of the largest healthcare organizations in the world, the UK’s NHS. He ran a large IT team there for several years before joining Microsoft in 2002 to work with our UK NHS account team. He then moved to run the Windows Server business in the UK, launching Windows Server 2008 and 2008 R2.
Since December 2010, Gareth has been at corporate headquarters in Redmond, initially responsible for marketing Virtual Desktop Infrastructure as part of our Server and Cloud team. He is now responsible for driving infrastructure products, including Windows 8, as part of our Worldwide Health team. I personally asked Gareth to watch over HealthBlog while I’m away. I think you’ll enjoy his perspectives on the health industry, and his charming, witty British humor. In addition, from time to time during my sabbatical, Gareth may invite other authors to contribute to HealthBlog.
I’ve been writing this blog since October of 2005. Over the years, it has become widely read by clinicians, IT professionals and enthusiasts around the world. Frankly, I think having a few new voices on HealthBlog will be refreshing. Just don’t’ get too used to it. I fully plan to take over the reins once again when I return to my Redmond office on May 1st.
Until then, thank you for your loyal readership and for following me on my many adventures around the globe. It is a genuine pleasure and a great honor to connect with all of you via this forum to advance the use of information communication technologies in health and healthcare.
Now, what shall I do for the next two months?
Bill Crounse, MD Senior Director, Worldwide Health Microsoft
It is a huge honor to fill your shoes for a short time. I plan to use the blog to tell the really interesting stories from health customers and partners that I talk to about what they are seeing and what they care about. It never ceases to amaze me how varied the approaches to technology usage are, both within the US, and across the world, and how quickly conversations can lead to simple improvements that have big impact.
Thanks again for asking me - and to Bill's readership - I will try not to be too British :)
Good for Microsoft for giving you the opportunity to take two months off all in a row. I had a similar sabbatical last summer and I used that to jump start training for a marathon. I had always wanted to run one but could never figure out how I would find the time to fit in the training - the sabbatical enabled me to do that.
I would encourage you to look for a large personal goal (whatever it may be) that you've always wanted to achieve but had to put on hold because of more pressing immediate concerns and pursue that during your time off. There is nothing quite like having that freedom. Enjoy your time and be sure to have fun!
Sage advice. Thanks for the well wishes.
Bill Crounse, MD
I would say "Slacker" but then I remember taking nearly 14 months off in 2002-3. So instead I'm saying "only 2 months--you should be taking way more!!!"
Thanks Matthew. I don't think anyone would ever accuse you of being a "slacker". Congratulations on all of your success over the last few years. As for me, yes I will be slacking a bit but I think I've earned it. Thanks for your note.
Enjoy your well deserved break, Bill!
I look forward to continued engagement with you and the Microsoft team when you get back!