Photo of Lawton R. Burns

Lawton R. Burns

James Joo-Jin Kim Professor, Professor of Health Care Management

Research Interests: formal organizations, health care management, hospital-physician relationships, integrated health care, physician networks, physician practice management firms, strategic change, supply chain management

Links: CV, Personal Website


PhD, University of Chicago, 1981; MBA, University of Chicago, 1984; MA, University of Chicago, 1976; BA, Haverford College, 1973

Recent Consulting

Analysis of the pharmaceutical outsourcing market, IMB, 2003-04; Antitrust implications of PHOs, Federal Trade Commission, 2004; Development of integrated delivery systems, Illinois Hospital Association, 1994-97

Career and Recent Professional Awards; Teaching Awards

2003: Board of Institute of Medicine, Health Services Research Section; 2001: Arthur Anderson Distinguished Visitor, University of Cambridge (UK); 1999:Teacher of the Year, Administrative Medicine Program, School of Medicine, University of Wisconsin; 1992-93: Edwin Crosby Memorial Fellowship, Hospital Research and Educational Trust; 1990-91: Udall Fellowship, Udall Center for Public Policy; 1997: Invited Lecture Series, Catholic University of Rome, Luiss, and National Agency for Health Care Services (Rome)

Academic Positions Held

Wharton: 1994-present (Chairperson, Health Care Systems Department, 2008-present; named James Joo-Jin Kim Professor, 1999; Director, Wharton Center for Health Management and Economics, 1999-present). Previous appointments: University of Arizona; University of Chicago. Visiting appointment: University of Wisconsin

Professional Leadership 2005-2009

Editorial Board, Health Services Research, 1994-present


Lawton Robert Burns, Ph.D., MBA, is the Chair of the Health Care Management Department, the James Joo-Jin Kim Professor, a Professor of Health Care Management, and a Professor of Management in the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania. He is also Director of the Wharton Center for Health Management & Economics, and Co-Director of the Roy & Diana Vagelos Program in Life Sciences and Management.  He received his doctorate in Sociology and his MBA in Health Administration from the University of Chicago. Dr. Burns taught previously in the Graduate School of Business at the University of Chicago and the College of Business Administration at the University of Arizona.

Dr. Burns has analyzed physician-hospital integration over the past 25 years. In recognition of this research, Dr. Burns was named the Edwin L. Crosby Memorial Fellow by the Hospital Research and Educational Trust in 1992. Dr. Burns has also published several papers on hospital systems and physician group practices. The last 13 years he spent studying the healthcare supply chain. He completed a book on supply chain management in the healthcare industry, The Health Care Value Chain (Jossey-Bass, 2002), and a recent analysis of alliances between imaging equipment makers and hospital systems. These studies focus on the strategic alliances and partnerships developing between pharmaceutical firms/distributors, disposable manufacturers, medical device manufacturers, group purchasing organizations, and organized delivery systems.  He has also edited The Business of Healthcare Innovation (Cambridge University Press, 2012) which analyzes the healthcare technology sectors globally: pharmaceuticals, biotechnology, medical devices, and information technology. Most recently, he has served as lead editor of the 6th Edition of the major text, Healthcare Management: Organization Design & Behavior (Delmar, 2011). His latest book, India’s Healthcare Industry, was just published in 2014 (Cambridge University Press, 2014).

Dr. Burns teaches courses on healthcare strategy, strategic change, strategic implementation, organization and management, managed care, and integrated delivery networks. From 1998-2002, he was a Visiting Professor in the Department of Preventive Medicine at the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine, where he taught corporate strategy to physicians. Dr. Burns also received an Investigator Award from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation to study the reasons for failure in organizational change efforts by healthcare providers. He is a past member of the Grant Review Study Section for the Agency for Health Care Policy & Research, and a past board member of the Health Services Section of the Institute of Medicine. He is also a Life Fellow of Clare Hall at the University of Cambridge.