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Gilbert S. Ross Leadership Academy

Gilbert S. Ross Leadership Academy group picture

The Gilbert S. Ross Leadership Academy at Upstate Neurology grew from awareness that physicians become de facto leaders the moment they earn their medical degree, but that medical education provides virtually no formal leadership training. The Leadership Academy is a novel 3-year curriculum for both neurology residents and faculty.  Each year begins with the resident completing a leadership self-assessment.  Their progress on the self-assessment is tracked over the 3-year program.  The curriculum consists of monthly interactive sessions that teach leadership principles with opportunities to reflect on how they can implement these skills during their work life.  Topics include developing emotional intelligence, providing effective feedback, mentoring, and conflict resolution. The Leadership Academy faculty creates content based on their own expertise and interest.  Increasingly, the senior residents participate in creating and delivering sessions.  For example, in October 2021 we held two interactive sessions on conflict resolution, using role plays to navigate real-life conflicts that arose during patient care on the wards.  Our PR Lead, Dr, Mina Michael, helped conceive of and create the vignettes and he led the session. The complete 3-year curriculum is found here.

We embed opportunities for leadership into our residency program.   Each PGY-4 resident assumes a special leadership role, based on their aptitudes and interests. We select, not only administrative Chief Residents, but also “Lead Residents.” We have 2 Education Leads who assist with curriculum content, arrange RITE review and plan simulations. A Research Lead organizes Journal Club and provides support for resident scholarship. The Quality Lead assists with M&Ms, Root Cause Analyses and helps shepherd resident QI projects.  The Public Relations Lead plays a key role during interview season, hosting “Resident Office Hours” for applications and introduced Grand Rounds speaker.  Finally, our newest Lead is a Wellness champion for the residents. The Wellness Lead creates content for monthly Wellness Rounds (trips to the hill for bubble tea, game day), organizes social gatherings off hours, advocates for better furniture for the lounge and better food for lunches, etc.).

The General Neurology Service Chief rotation offers our senior residents a critical opportunity to practice their leadership skills. In 2022 we split the General Neurology service into separate services with an attending for each one.  The Service Chief functions as the attending for the inpatient service, runs rounds, speaks with the patient and with family, etc., with the attending playing a supporting role. In the afternoon, the service chief backs up the consult resident.

We are fortunate to have to have the support of the family of the department’s first chair, Dr. Gilbert S. Ross.  In 2020 the Ross family, including Dr. Ross’ widow, his daughter Madalyn and her husband and Dr. Jeffrey Ross, who is the Jones-Rohner Professor of Pathology and Urology at Upstate, established an endowment at Upstate to support the Leadership Academy. The Leadership Academy was named in Dr. Gil Ross’ honor.