Leadership Development Programs at Academic Health Centers: Results of a National Survey

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Abstract

Purpose

To identify the prevalence and characteristics of faculty leadership development programs (LDPs) offered by North American academic health centers (AHCs) and to uncover gaps in leadership training.

Method

Faculty development/affairs deans of the 161 Association of American Medical Colleges member schools were surveyed in 2015 on their approach to faculty leadership training. For AHCs delivering their own training, the survey included questions about LDP participants, objectives, curriculum, delivery, resources, and evaluation. The literature on leadership and leadership development was used to develop a taxonomy of leadership competencies, which formed the basis of the survey questions related to program content. Survey results were analyzed with descriptive statistics and chi-square analysis for categorical data.

Results

Of the 94 respondents (response rate 58%), 93 provided some form of leadership training and 61 provided a formal internal faculty LDP. Content was variable and rarely based on a specific leadership competency model. Although programs described innovative approaches to learning, lectures and case discussions were the predominant approaches. Evaluation beyond participant satisfaction was uncommon.

Conclusions

Faculty LDPs were common, with some programs describing elements informed by the leadership literature. However, nationally programs can improve by basing content on a leadership competency model, incorporating multiple approaches to teaching, and implementing more rigorous program evaluation.

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