I’ve been watching the news a lot lately and following the presidential election. Regardless of my (or your) political affiliation, it is probably safe to say that the 2016 election cycle is one for the history books. Whether or not your candidate wins: This is a year that we, as a nation, choose a new leader. Defining a leader’s quality and skills has been on my mind as of late, as this month we are launching the new leadership curriculum for all first-year medical and BIMS students.
It’s an exciting time as we seek to inspire the next generation of leaders in the rapidly evolving biomedical research and healthcare environments. This new curriculum — rolled out over the next four years — is designed to foster the qualities essential for our students to become leaders in biomedical research, clinical medicine, education and public policy.
This is a big deal, as we will be shaping and training these future leaders. Our working group of faculty, educators, and students — with input from a panel of UVA leaders across Grounds — identified four domains (personal, intrapersonal, systems-based, social) and 24 subdomains paramount to leadership in biomedical research and the health care environment. Fourteen subdomains will be initially prioritized and developed as part of the MD and BIMS curricula. The pre-clerkship years focus on building of the fundamentals of leadership. In the advanced years, we will develop leadership-in-practice skills and experience. Ultimately, each student will engage in a leadership capstone project as a first step to becoming a future leader in healthcare.
At the national level, there is a groundswell for leadership development. Both the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME) and the Liaison Committee on Medical Education (LCME) are focusing on this. UVA is now joining the forefront of educators in leadership training. We are empowering students to be active participants in the future of medicine, giving them the skillsets to be the key players, and increasing the likelihood they will end up in a leader role. But it is important to note, we’re not just training future CEOs and legislators. Being able to lead effectively and efficiently at the local level — a team, unit, or department — is just as valuable. We want our graduates to be able to represent their specialty and to be in a position to enact positive change.
Leadership is about being a role model—believing and behaving according to our ASPIRE values. And it’s not just for our students, CEOs, deans, or chairs. It is about being inspirational for your team, regardless of position.
So, the real question is: How am I inspiring others today?
R.J. Canterbury, MD
Senior Associate Dean for Education