Miami itself was a draw for Manuel Anton III, M.D. His extended family and many friends in the large Cuban community were there.
But there was an added attraction that brought him to Miami: a chance to help steer 500-bed Mercy Hospital from the newly created position of senior vice president and medical director.
"We were well-disposed to coming down," the Cuban-born, Georgia-raised Anton says. "The opportunity was really one to expand the physician's influence in a healthcare center."
The support of family and friends has helped ease the pressures of his 70-hour workweeks.
Anton uses the "III" to distinguish himself from his father, a practicing psychiatrist in Georgia who helped nurture his son's proclivities to business and medicine.
"A lot of my interest developed in high school and college, where in addition to the sciences, economics was always one of my favorites," Anton says. "I had the role model of my father, who was involved in medical administration in behavioral health. That made me aware that the option was out there."
Now 41, with a wife and four children under the age of 12, the younger Anton's own record and experience have set him apart. After medical school at Emory University School of Medicine in Atlanta, Anton sought a location where he could reconnect with health policy and management.
He chose Boston, where he completed his residency in internal medicine at University Hospital of Boston University. He went on to a chief medical residency at Waltham-Weston Hospital and Medical Center in nearby Waltham, Mass.
He returned to Boston University for an internal medicine research fellowship with the Veterans Administration. Meanwhile, he enrolled at the Harvard School of Public Health. About two-thirds of the way through a master's in public health, he withdrew, deciding that an MBA would be more appropriate.
But before he could walk that road, he found himself at the helm of the Orlando (Fla.) Regional Healthcare System, where he last held the title of vice president and medical director for Healthchoice, the managed care division of ORHS.
Anton says he has found "lots of surprises" at Miami Mercy, including more oversight of operational areas than he had been used to and the challenge of both policing and promoting the medical staff.
Asked what personal traits are required to balance his many responsibilities, Anton answers: "What's that material flak jackets are made of?"
"You have to make improvement your central focus, make it better first for the patient, and then bring along the hospital and the physicians," he says. "If you can focus on the patient, everything else seems to get easier."
"The majority of doctors I talk to ask me why I would take all this on," Anton says. "I tell them I enjoy it."