Training future leaders of academic medicine: internal programs at three academic health centers

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Abstract

The authors review the need for internal programs for leadership training at academic health centers and then describe in detail three programs of this type that have operated during the 1990s: (1) the Allegheny Leadership Institute, founded by the Allegheny Health, Education and Research Foundation, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania; (2) the Physician Executive Management Development Program (PEMDP) of Saint Louis University School of Medicine; and (3) the University of Nebraska Medical Center Leadership Institute. Educational elements common to these programs include having a small class size and participants from many areas of academic medicine and health care, focusing on educational strategies that draw on participants' experiences and training, conducting the training away from the participants' institutions, having short sessions, using faculty from both within and outside the participants' institutions, and creating strategies to reinforce learning. Lessons learned reflect the unique context of each institution; the authors list the major lessons learned by each of the three programs they surveyed (e.g., leaders of the Saint Louis University PEMDP program believe that it is important to help participants implement desired changes in their work areas once they return to work, and are investigating how to do this). The authors conclude with an extensive list of recommendations to optimize the effects of leadership development training carried out in AHCs' internal programs (e.g., “Focus on specific skills that can be learned, and link the learning experiences to real work situations in health care and higher education”) and explain why they think internal leadership institutes have at least three distinct advantages over external programs.

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