Help spearhead change with ISMA’s physician leadership series
ISMA Physician Leadership Series (Virtual)
Who: Any physician, but especially medical directors seeking the tools they need to succeed, those considering a future leadership role and those passionate about leading change from within medical systems. Limited to 24 ISMA members.

When: Feb. 22-May 10, 2022. Register by Dec. 15 at 4 p.m. EST.


Edward A. Walker, MD, MHA, summarizes the case for physician leadership training like this: If physicians aren’t equipped to lead the process of change in medical institutions, nonphysician administrators will. “Physician leadership is essential,” said Walker, who will present ISMA’s 12-week 2022 Physician Leadership Series. “Improving the value of health care is something only medical teams can do.”

The return on the investment in training physician leaders to work alongside nonphysician administrators is that “almost everything gets better,” he said. “Outcomes, error reduction, safety; communication gets better; length of stay goes down.”

Dr. Walker discussed the case for physician leadership training during a recent webinar previewing ISMA’s virtual Physician Leadership Series, which runs from Feb. 22 through May 10. Registration for the series, which is limited to 25 ISMA physician members, closes Dec. 15 at 4 p.m. EST.

More than 1,400 physicians have participated in the leadership series, which was developed by the Washington State Medical Association. It differs from other virtual courses in that it focuses on interactive learning, Dr. Walker said. Competencies such as emotional intelligence and influencing others are learned during two full-day, interactive opening sessions, while the most difficult competencies – providing feedback, conflict resolution, negotiation techniques and persuading other physicians to change their behavior – are tackled in a full-day closing session. In the interim, participants work together online in smaller groups reading or viewing assigned material, commenting on the assignments and solving problems together as a team.

Physicians’ typical strengths, such as decisiveness and the ability to push ahead, serve them well in clinical settings, Dr. Walker said. But system-level leaders need to be able to set aside those competitive, independent processes and develop teams.

“Part of the course is designed to recognize that teams aren’t really effective until that ‘we’ concept develops,” Dr. Walker said.

The course is also designed to prevent burnout, which Dr. Walker called “people having normal reactions to an abnormal system.” Instead of learning self-regulation strategies to cope, participants will learn how to change those systems and “lead the way out.”

If you would like more information before signing up, the slide deck from Dr. Walker’s archived webinar introducing the leadership series is available here. His archived introductory webinar may be viewed on the ISMA Online mobile learning app; learn more