Robert M. Pearl

Robert M. Pearl
Lecturer, Organizational Behavior
Contact Info
Academic Area: 
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
  • Residency and Internship, Stanford University Hospital

Academic Appointments

  • At Stanford University since 1978

Professional Experience

  • Executive Director and CEO, The Permanente Medical Group
  • Physician-in-Chief, The Permanente Medical Group



Degree Courses


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. The seminar's aim is to develop...


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. The seminar's aim is to develop...

Stanford Case Studies

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

In the Media

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.
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

May 16, 2017
To drive down the cost of health care insurance, we must redesign care delivery.
June 1, 2015
Hospitals should adopt these popular business strategies.