Six Ways to Earn Extra Income From Medical Activities

Dennis G. Murray


April 27, 2010

In This Article

Become a Media Personality

If you have a knack for explaining technical subjects in easy-to-understand terms and don't mind the spotlight, media outlets want you. As an expert, you can help journalists do their job better by providing a local angle on a national medical topic -- in the form of a quote, a column or opinion piece, or an on-air appearance.

Pros: You'll get exposure for your practice and attract new patients. If, say, 50 or more come to you over the course of a year, that could mean thousands of dollars in additional income. Also, here's a bonus: You could become the next Sanjay Gupta, the ubiquitous medical correspondent on CNN.

Cons: You probably won't become the next Sanjay Gupta. Those gigs, as you've probably already guessed, are few and far between. Nor will you likely make much money working with media outlets in rural areas of the country. Some newspapers may pay you as little as $50-$100 for a column, whereas TV or radio stations are not apt to compensate you at all. Again, the larger financial benefits are likely to be indirect, in the form of new patients who saw you on TV or read your quote or column in the newspaper.

How to find out more: Start by offering your services locally, as a resource for reporters working on stories. If you find that you enjoy the interaction and you're getting good feedback, you might want to call a public relations firm that has extensive healthcare contacts. Not all firms do, and some doctors have been burned by companies making promises that they later couldn't keep. To narrow your search, start with the respected Public Relations Society of America ( Click on the "Find a Firm" link on the homepage. A recent search of the United States yielded 11 matches using "health/medical" and "media relations/training" in the drop-down menus.

Consult for Wall Street

How do mutual fund managers and other financial professionals who analyze healthcare companies decide what to invest in? Besides poring over balance sheets and working their contacts at the companies themselves, they talk to physicians like you. Your opinion on how well a drug or a device works, as well as a description of some of the common problems that you're currently experiencing, can go a long way toward helping them decide whether to increase or decrease their stake in a company.

Pros: The pay is pretty sweet: about $250 per hour to do everything from filling out surveys to participating in phone calls and panel discussions.

Cons: You'll have to be very careful about the type of information that you reveal, lest you violate any of your nondisclosure or confidentiality agreements. For instance, if you participate in ongoing drug trials, you can't leak critical details that might be used by a brokerage firm in deciding whether to buy or sell a stock. (Does the term "insider trading" ring a bell?) Sometimes even a hint of impropriety or a conflict of interest might be enough to land you in hot water.

How to find out more: Contact a "matchmaker" firm that connects physicians and professionals in other fields with folks on Wall Street. One of the industry leaders is Gerson Lehrman Group (, which has established relationships with mutual funds, global banks, and private equity firms. To get the ball rolling, go to "Contact Us" on the homepage.


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