Adam Root, Md (a)

3 Pages Posted: 7 Apr 2010

See all articles by Alexander Horniman

Alexander Horniman

University of Virginia - Darden School of Business

Scott Josephs

University of Virginia - Darden School of Business


Adam Root, for as long as he could remember, wanted to be a doctor like his father. As a single parent, his father raised four children. Root idolized his father. Root was an outstanding student in high school and in medical school. After completing his residency, he joined a small private primary care practice in the Boston area. The practice grew because of Root's significant contribution. After a 10-year period, the practice had grown in excess of 40 practitioners. But Root was spending almost every waking hour devoted to the practice. He finally reached the point of "burnout." He was spending little if any time with his family and was exhausted. He realized he had to do something and yet wasn't quite sure what to do. This is the A case in a series of three cases (B case: UVA-OB-0993 and C case: UVA-OB-0994).



November 27, 2009


Adam Root was exhausted. He was working more hours and getting a great deal accomplished, and yet, he had no time for his family and was running out of energy. Root's life had always been about practicing medicine. He was not a risk taker, so the decision of whether to give up medicine was a daunting conundrum. What should he do?

Root was born in Brooklyn, New York, and was the youngest of four children. His parents were divorced when he was eight. The divorce was a precedent-setting case in that his father fought for and won custody of all four children. His mother was an alcoholic at the time of the divorce, which influenced the court's decision.

Root's father was a family practitioner. He was the only one of four siblings to graduate from college, and he became the first physician in his family. Root grew up hearing stories about how his father sold ice cream on the beach at Coney Island as a way of paying for his education. His father at the age of six had inscribed in wet cement “Dr. J. Root, MD,” and this bold act defined his life to follow.

. . .

Keywords: career, career choices, work style--life style issues, professional leadership, burn out

Suggested Citation

Horniman, Alexander and Josephs, Scott, Adam Root, Md (a). Darden Case No. UVA-OB-0992, Available at SSRN:

Alexander Horniman (Contact Author)

University of Virginia - Darden School of Business ( email )

P.O. Box 6550
Charlottesville, VA 22906-6550
United States


Scott Josephs

University of Virginia - Darden School of Business

P.O. Box 6550
Charlottesville, VA 22906-6550
United States

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