From the Society

Leadership 101: Learning to trust

Dr. Ramin Yazdanfar grows into the role of medical director


Editor’s note: SHM occasionally puts the spotlight on our most active members who are making substantial contributions to hospital medicine. Visit for more information on how you can lend your expertise to help improve the care of hospitalized patients.

This month, The Hospitalist spotlights Ramin Yazdanfar, MD, hospitalist and Harrisburg (Pa.) site medical director at UPMC Pinnacle. Dr. Ramin has been a member of SHM since 2016, has attended two annual conferences as well as Leadership Academy, and together with his team received SHM’s Award of Excellence in Teamwork.

How did you learn about SHM and why did you become a member?

I first heard about SHM during my initial job out of residency. At that time, our medical director encouraged engagement in the field of hospital medicine, and he was quite involved in local meetings and national conferences. I became a member because I felt it would be a good way to connect with other hospitalists who might have been going through similar experiences and struggles, and in the hopes of gaining something I could take back to use in my daily practice.

Dr. Ramin Yazdanfar, hospitalist and Harrisburg (Pa.) site medical director at UPMC Pinnacle

Dr. Ramin Yazdanfar

Which SHM conferences have you attended and why?

I have attended two national conferences thus far. The first was the 2016 SHM Annual Conference in San Diego, where our hospitalist team won the Excellence in Teamwork and Quality Improvement Award for our active bed management program under Mary Ellen Pfeiffer, MD, and William “Tex” Landis, MD, among others. I also attended the 2017 Leadership Academy in Scottsdale, Ariz. As a new site director for a new hospitalist group, I thought it would be a valuable learning experience, with the goal of improving my communication as a leader. I also will be attending the 2018 SHM Leadership Academy in Vancouver. I am excited to reconnect with peers I met last year and to advance my leadership skills further.

What were the main takeaways from Leadership: Mastering Teamwork, and how have you applied them in your practice?

My most vivid and actionable memory of Leadership: Mastering Teamwork was the initial session around the five dysfunctions of a team and how to build a cohesive leadership team. Allowing ourselves to be vulnerable and open creates the foundation of trust, on which we can build everything else, such as handling conflict and creating commitment, accountability, and results. I have tried to use these principles in our own practice, at UPMC Pinnacle Health in Harrisburg, Pa. We have an ever-growing health system with an expanding regional leadership team. We base our foundation on trust in one another, and in our vision, so the rest follows suit.

As a separate takeaway, I really enjoyed sessions with Leonard Marcus, PhD, on SWARM Intelligence and Meta-Leadership. He is a very engaging speaker whom I would recommend to anyone considering the Mastering Teamwork session.


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