Physicians have a strong history of leadership within the community, from the days of house calls to standing as a guiding light in the storm of an epidemic to safely bringing new life into the world. When health concerns arise, the public turns to their doctors for answers. The new Leadership Skills Series provides practical training for practicing physicians. Get involved and improve your ability to lead. 


The AMA has partnered with the American Association for Physician Leadership® (AAPL) to develop the Leadership Skills Series to assist physicians in both rethinking and transforming their traditional roles, an announcement made Monday during the 2015 AMA Interim Meeting. The series is designed to help physicians prepare for leadership opportunities from which they can shape the health care system to produce better outcomes for both themselves and their patients.

“Every physician is a leader,” said Michael Tutty, PhD, AMA group vice president for professional satisfaction and practice sustainability. “Physicians are leading care teams, changes in their practice, committees on quality improvement and other transformational activities every day.” 

Leaders are not just those individuals in the C-suite, Tutty explained. Leaders are creating positive changes on a daily basis in the health care system in big and small ways toward the goal of achieving the Triple Aim.

Why is physician leadership important?


There are tremendous changes going on in health care. Those changes should be focused on what is best for patients, and physicians are in an excellent position to represent what is needed to create a stronger health care system. 

“We need physician leadership driving the changes in the health care, whether that be at the practice level, hospital, health system, association or community,” Tutty said. 

Providing both online and in-person training events, the series features live events, a series of online courses and a leadership assessment. Physicians can benefit from the training no matter where they are in their career or in which type of setting they practice. 

Legendary Michigan football coach Bo Schembechler once suggested that leadership can be learned. “If you want to become a great leader,” he said, “you need to prepare yourself to become a great leader, and the best way to do that is to study great leaders.” 

The Leadership Skills Series is an opportunity to study the ways that great leaders have been able to motivate those around them to elevate themselves and become a lasting example. 

The series covers more than 14 topics, focusing on three pillars and their components:

  • Personal development: Helping physicians equip themselves with new skills to become effective leaders. This pillar includes:
    • Personal assessment tools
    • Well-being and resiliency
    • Effective teamwork
    • Communication skills
  • Professional development: Helping physicians navigate and interact with their peers using contemporary approaches. This pillar includes:
    • Physician engagement
    • Quality and safety
    • Leading change and managing influence
    • Financial decision-making
  • Health system knowledge: Helping physicians learn to engage with the health industry as a whole. This pillar includes:
    • Population health
    • Payment models
    • Health IT
    • Strategy development

The Leadership Skills Series is yet another piece of the multi-pronged approach of the AMA’s Professional Satisfaction and Practice Sustainability initiative. Other efforts in the initiative include the AMA’s STEPS Forward website, a collection of more than 25 modules to help physicians revitalize their practices and improve patient care. 

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