This supplement derives from the 2002 Medical Director Colloquy, a forum for interaction between decision makers in managed care and professionals from academic health centers, quality assurance organizations, and the business world. Lipid management involves numerous critical issues, including efficacy and treatment choices. In addition, successful lipid management brings an economic challenge, because it involves a long-term approach to improving care — with results that may not be immediately apparent. This publication, the first of two based on presentations at the 2002 colloquy, places these issues in perspective for medical and pharmacy directors. Additional presentations and continuing education opportunities are available through "Multidisciplinary Management of Dyslipidemia," the second Managed Care supplement from this meeting.