Physicians become de facto leaders the moment they earn their medical degree. During residency, interns lead complex teams of medical students, nurses and patients. Senior residents have the added responsibility of directing junior residents. Following graduation from residency, many physicians advance to administrative positions in private practice and academic settings.
Yet despite the demands of leadership placed on physicians by their roles as default team leaders, physicians receive little to no training in leadership. A recent editorial in the New England Journal of Medicine pointed out this deficit and asserted that “health systems should make leadership development an organizational priority.”
In response to the leadership training vacuum, the Upstate Neurology Residency created the “Leadership Academy at Upstate Neurology.” In July 2019, Dr. Terrence Cascino, MD, FAAN, past present of the AAN visited campus to launch the Leadership Academy at Upstate Neurology. The Academy is a 3 year recurring curriculum integrated into the existing curriculum.
First year Neurology residents (R1s/PGY-2s) are introduced to basic concepts of leadership. Second year residents (R2), in sessions separate from the R1s, will practice skills critical to effective leadership (difficult conversations, conflict resolution), and third year neurology residents (R3) will play a key role in teaching the leadership curriculum to their younger colleagues. Residents will assess their own leadership potential and track its development throughout residency.
 Lerman C and Jameson JL. Leadership Development in Medicine. NEJM 2018;378;20:1862-1863
Leadership Academy Curriculum
Monthly Noon Conferences
|July||What makes a leader? Introduction to Emotional Intelligence (Dr. Bradshaw)|
|August||Leadership assessment questionnaire: small group discussions by PGY year and joint session identifying key insights. (Leadership Academy Faculty)|
|September||Preparing for Fellowship (Dr. Albright)|
|October||The ABCs of organization: getting things done. (Dr. Latorre, Dr. Bradshaw)|
|November||Teaching and mentoring Medical Students: Role plays with feedback (Senior resident teaching award winners & senior medical students, Dr. Vertino)|
|December||Emotional Intelligence: The Neuroscience. (Dr. Izadyar)|
|January||Communication Skills/Effective Listening Role Play (Dr Duleep, Dr. Bradshaw)|
|February||Leadership Styles (Dr. Masoud)|
|March||Providing Effective Feedback (Dr. Simionescu)|
|April||Building Successful Teams (Dr. McGraw and the MS team)|
|May||Burnout and Wellness (Dr. Bradshaw)|
|June||Annual Academy Evaluation|
Second year sessions are held separately from the R1/R3 joint sessions. Topics will include:
- Conflict resolution
- Leading effective meetings
- Delivering effective lectures
- Overcoming resistance to change
- Difficult conversations
- Leading in health care
- Basics of health care finance
Third year sessions are deployed during the third year of curriculum. R3s take a role in teaching the leadership curriculum to first year residents.
- One-two R3 residents teach R1 session on Leadership and EI
- Discussion of Leadership Self-Assessment: Where are we now and where do we want to grow?
- One-two R3 residents teach R1 session on Organizational Skills
- One –two R3 residents teach R2 session on Effective Meetings
- One-two R3 residents teach R2 session on Effective Lectures
- One-two R3 residents deliver session on Burnout to R1
- Those R3s who have earning the departmental teaching award will deliver the R1 session on Medical Student Teaching
- Assist R1s with Role Plays on Listening Skills
- Panel discussion with R1s on Successful Teams
- Teach session to R1s on Communication Styles and Challenges
- Coordinate and supervise R1 Role Plays on Providing Feedback.
- Annual Leadership Program Evaluation
The residency program offers numerous opportunities for residents to put their evolving leadership skills into play throughout training. Examples include: medical student mentoring and evaluation, senior resident roles, “Lead” Roles during the final year of training and Chief Residency.
In summary, “The Leadership Academy at Upstate Neurology” incorporates best practices in leadership training derived from business and academic sources to implement a leadership development curriculum for neurology residents. A process of continuous resident-driven evaluation and quality improvement will be used to optimize and expand the program over time.