Developing essential skills at all career stages

SHM Leadership Academy continues to grow


This fall I attended the 2018 Society of Hospital Medicine Leadership Academy, held in Vancouver. Once again, this conference sold out weeks ahead of time, and 300 hospitalists took time out of their busy schedules for learning and fun. There have been about 18 Leadership Academies over the years, with approximately 3,000 total participants, but this one may have been the best to date.

Why was it so good? Here are my top four reasons that Leadership Academy 2018 was the best ever:

Setting: Vancouver is just beautiful. My family has a strong maritime background, and I am a water person with saltwater in my veins. My inner sailor was overjoyed with the hotel’s views of False Creek and Vancouver Harbor, and I loved the mix of yachts and working boats. I even saw a seaplane! The hotel was a great match for the 300 hospitalists who traveled to the JW Marriott for 4 days of learning and relaxing. It was the perfect blend, whether for work or play; the hotel and city did not disappoint.

Dr. Eric E. Howell  chief, division of hospital medicine, Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center, Baltimore

Dr. Eric E. Howell

Networking: What’s more fun than getting to know 300 like-minded, leadership-oriented hospitalists for a few days? I am always energized by seeing old friends and making new ones. I really enjoy hearing about the professional adventures hospitalists at all career points are going through. Plus, I get really good advice on my own career! I also appreciate that a number of hospital medicine leaders (and even giants) come to SHM’s Leadership Academy. Over half of the SHM Board of Directors were there, as were a number of current and previous SHM presidents (Mark Williams, Jeff Wiese, Burke Kealey, Bob Harrington, Nasim Afsar, Rusty Holman, Ron Greeno, Chris Frost, and John Nelson), as well as Larry Wellikson, the CEO who has led our society through its many successes. All of these hospitalist leaders are there, having fun and networking, alongside everyone else.

Faculty: The faculty for all four courses (yes, Leadership Academy junkies, we’ve added a fourth course!) are absolutely phenomenal. I think the faculty are just the right blend of expert hospitalists (Jeff Glasheen, Rusty Holman, Jeff Wiese, Mark Williams, John Nelson) and national experts outside of hospital medicine. For example, Lenny Marcus of Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, Boston, brings his experience coaching the Department of Defense, the White House, the Department of Homeland Security, and many others to the Influential Management and Mastering Teamwork courses. Lenny’s experience working with national leaders through disasters like the Boston Marathon bombing, Hurricane Katrina, and the Ebola outbreak make for more than riveting stories; there are real, tangible lessons for hospitalist leaders trying to improve clinical care. Nancy Spector is a pediatrician, nationally recognized for her work in mentoring, and is the executive director of Drexel University’s Executive Leadership in Academic Medicine. We have been fortunate to have her join the Academies, and Nancy successfully led the first group of hospitalists through the launch of SHM’s fourth leadership course, which I will describe in more detail below.

High energy & continued growth: There continues to be an enormous amount of energy around the Leadership Academy. The Vancouver courses sold out months ahead of the actual meeting! Hospitalists across the country continue to take on leadership roles and have told us that they value the skills they have learned from the courses.


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