UVA Health Leadership Institute Launches

February 6, 2024 by

UVA-Health-Leadership-Institute 1st-cohort 2023The UVA Health Leadership Institute (HLI) — a key pillar of the 2022-32 UVA Health strategic plan initiative of Best Place to Work — is off to an exciting start, hosting its first cohort November 2023-February 2024 and kicking off its second cohort March 2024.

At the Forefront

The institute is the result of significant feedback gathered during the UVA Health strategic planning process and reaffirmed by the 2022 UVA Health team member engagement survey. In pursuit of a strategic plan goal of Cultivating Healthy Communities and belonging for all, the institute’s primary mission is to make UVA Health the best place to work by nurturing leaders from within the organization — a key component for our system’s long-term success.

“HLI endeavors to distinguish UVA Health as the national leader in healthcare leadership development,” says Jason Lineen, MBA, UVA Health Chief Strategy Officer. “Embracing the opportunity of cross-Grounds collaborations, HLI is committed to creating opportunities for personal and professional development. The curriculum embodies a culture of continuous learning and improvement, hoping to firmly position our team members at the forefront of innovation and excellence.”

The initial expectation of accepting 25-30 participants doubled when more than 250 applications flooded in for the first cohort of HLI.

In response to the overwhelming demand and exceptional, high-caliber applications — two cohorts have been created, consisting of 33 participants each.

Full Steam Ahead

The first cohort launched Nov. 8 with an all-day session in Charlottesville. The day garnered strong support and participation of the UVA Health senior leadership team.

Highlights included a keynote speech from K. Craig Kent, MD, CEO, UVA Health, and Executive Vice President, Health Affairs, UVA; an overview of the strategic plan by Lineen; and a lunch panel with system leaders who shared personal insights and learnings from their career journeys.

UVA Health Leadership Institute Panel 2023Chad Hoyt, MD, Executive Director, Clinical Growth and Outreach, moderated the panel with (pictured on left, from left:) Tracy Downs, MD, UVA Health Chief Diversity and Community Engagement Officer; Dean Melina Kibbe, MD, UVA School of Medicine; Wendy Horton, PharmD, CEO, UVA Health University Medical Center; Dean Marianne Baernholdt, PhD, MPH, RN, FAAN, UVA School of Nursing; Scott Just, CEO, UVA Physicians Group; and Leadership Professor Emeritus Jim Clawson, UVA Darden School of Business.

The day continued with engaging and student-centered sessions led by Darden Professor of Practice Vivian Riefberg and UVA Batten School of Leadership Public Policy Professor Gabrielle Adams.

This cohort meets once a month, in-person, for half-day sessions. The second cohort begins March 2024 and will follow a similar format, meeting for eight months in totality.

UVA Health Leadership Institute Leaders 2024Unique Focus

In both cohorts, most participants are mid-career from a wide range of backgrounds and work experiences. HLI is unique in its focus on leadership in healthcare settings, as well as its draw of leaders from all facets of the health system representing all seven UVA Health entities.

Addressing “Foundations of Health System Leadership” — the team behind HLI: (pictured on right, from left to right) Brian Hunter, MHA, Executive Director, HLI, and Director of System Strategy; Susan Pollart, MD, Senior Associate Dean, Faculty Affairs and Development; Mike Valentine, MD, Chair, Heart and Vascular Service Line and Senior Director of HLI; Jason Lineen, MBA, UVA Health Chief Strategy Officer; Liza Khutsishvili, UVA Health Strategy Analyst; and (pictured below, right) Abdi Somo, MBA, UVA Health University Medical Center Chief Administrative Officer.

They highlighted the institute’s guiding principles of educational excellence; agility and innovation; inclusivity and diversity; continuous engagement; and practical application — equipping participants with strategies to take back what they’ve learned, to their roles.

Big Picture

David Martin has served as a Clinical Data Research Specialist at UVA Health’s Claude Moore Health Sciences Library for six years. He says working at the library, he’s often removed from the daily work of the health system so he doesn’t have a great vision of the entire infrastructure.

“If I want to step into a position of leadership, it’s important for me to understand the big picture and how things are connected within the health system,” explains Martin. “Looking at HLI, I thought I’d have the opportunity to meet others around the health system and make connections with individuals, both within the cohort and leadership, who can help me better understand how I can become an effective health system leader.”

He says he has a goal of helping spread data and statistical literacy across UVA Health. “I want to leverage my background in teaching data science and statistics to foster a shared appreciation for the significance of applying common sense reasoning in the interpretation and use of data.”

Martin added that he appreciated hearing from current health system leadership, as well as from Darden’s past and present leadership. “It’s always interesting to hear from an assorted group with different levels of experience, fields, and perspectives engage in discussions about the process of becoming a leader and various aspects of leadership.”

Next Level

Alisha Green deals in risk every day, serving as UVA Community Health Risk Manager for two years and working for the organization for 16 years. After hearing Mike Valentine speak at a Town Hall and “seeing his passion around the project,” she knew it was something she wanted to join.

Green hailed HLI as a great opportunity to challenge herself, develop new skills, grow as a leader, and meet professional goals. She has no doubts the institute will help propel her career. “Seeing the trajectory and opportunities for our hospital — it really made me start inquiring about how I can have an impact. I think what really stands out for me about HLI is the number of individuals and experts involved in the program and the opportunity to learn from them.”

Lessons Learned

UVA School of Medicine Associate Professor Sunny Chiao, MD, has served as Quality Improvement and Patient Safety Director for the Department of Anesthesiology since 2016.

“These HLI sessions are not anything like didactics or clinical rotations in medical school,” says the UVA undergrad and SOM alum. “The first session was really informative and fun. I also enjoyed meeting leaders from all over, including UVA Community Health. As pointed out, healthcare is one of the — if not the — most complicated systems out there.”

Dr. Chiao says as someone who works almost exclusively in the perioperative setting, she appreciates hearing about other facets of the hospital and ambulatory settings and learning how leadership styles can shape collaboration with team members.

By the Numbers

Among the facts Lineen shared during the first session: hospital care and physician services represent 51% of overall U.S. healthcare spending annually. And leadership in an academic health system is distinctive — requiring leaders with expertise spanning clinical, research, education, and community engagement realms.

The healthcare industry’s inherent complexity and everchanging nature necessitates pioneering leaders of interdisciplinary thought. As a multi-hospital and multi-health system, UVA Health employs 16,500 team members and reports $4.1 billion in annual operating revenue. As such, with the partnership of internationally-renowned, undergraduate and graduate business and leadership schools on-grounds, UVA Health is committed to becoming the premier institution for healthcare leadership development.

Capping It Off

Each cohort has Capstone Projects that enable multidisciplinary teams, with representation across all health system entities, to tackle critical challenges and priorities for UVA Health — assessing a current system priority and providing strategic recommendations. The prompts include topics such as the primary care shortage, One UVA Health team, health disparities, innovation, and the expansion of the cancer program.

The five teams will meet with project advisors and subject matter experts to build toward a final presentation and question and answer session with UVA Health leadership.

What’s Ahead? 

HLI is projected to expand in the coming years with website offerings and program building — aiming to become a nationally recognized model for developing the next, breakthrough healthcare system leaders. Hunter explains: “We’re just scratching the surface.”

Article written by Sudha Kamath. Photos by Coe Sweet.


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