Ohio State is boosting doctors' salaries to recruit top talent from across the United States.

Since July 2017, Ohio State University's Wexner Medical Center has recruited 358 physicians and researchers. “We're on fire now in terms of recruitment for a lot of reasons and our retention rate is increasing,” says Dr. K. Craig Kent, the dean of OSU's College of Medicine. “What we've accomplished at the medical center has been near transformational.”

Kent was recruited just over two years ago from the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health, and decided to jump-start compensation for physicians and medical researchers when he landed in Columbus.

“We weren't supporting the physicians and scientists to the degree we needed so as to retain and attract top talent,” Kent says. “One role as dean was to start a process to develop a new compensation model that was more favorable and more appropriate to recruit and retain people.”

The medical center's strategic plan has a goal to be ranked in the Top 20 for academic medical centers. It's well on its way. In August,U.S. News & World Report's annual “Best Hospitals” rankings rated the Wexner Medical Center as a national leader in 10 specialties and the No. 1 hospital in Central Ohio. Out of 152 medical schools, OSU is ranked No. 32.

“That is a great place to start, but we want to be ranked higher and grow and do more research,” Kent says.

With a fiscal year budget projected at just over $4 billion, the Wexner Medical Center's capital amounts to more than half of the university's projected $7.5 billion budget. The health system is predicted to spend $1.48 billion on salaries and compensation for that period.

William Shkurti, the former vice president for business and finance at Ohio State for 20 years, says the goal of increased compensation is to mold the medical center into a top-tier teaching and research institute.

“This effort is not to boost salaries for the sake of salaries,” he says. “OSU needs to compete for the best talent, and one advantage is that the medical center is a good source of revenue.”

While recognized in medical circles, OSU does not possess the academic mystique of Harvard or Stanford, so administrators must be pragmatic in offering compensation, says Dr. David Schuller, the retired 20-year CEO of the James Cancer Hospital.

“Academic medicine now has to develop a compensation model that is competitive with regional hospitals and rewards all three missions of the institution—high-quality patient care, research and education,” Schuller says.


Highest Paid Physicians

Following are the 11 highest paid physicians, by position, at OSU’s Wexner Medical Center. All physicians have additional salaries for teaching at OSU’s College of Medicine.*


OSU Wexner Medical Center

OSU College of Medicine

Cardiac Surgeon

$705,000 +


Neurological Surgeon

$673,715 +


Transplant Surgeon

$650,000 +


Neurological Surgeon

$642,465 +


Cardiovascular Physician

$642,381 +


Cardiovascular Physicians (4**)

$630,000 +


Neurological Surgeon

$624,432 +


Vascular Surgeon

$597,115 +


*Information was gathered from OSU’s database of employee salaries, as of Sept. 30, 2018. Database available at https://apps.hr.osu.edu/salaries.

**Four cardiovascular physicians have the same salaries.