Physician leadership development: Time for an international collaborative?

(From the EiC – This post originated from a presentation Jamiu gave at the Toronto International Summit on Leadership Education for Physicians)

By Jamiu Busari (@jobusar)

The organization and delivery of health care is in various stages of transition worldwide and associated with this transition is a significant shift in patients’ expectations of health care.  Patients expect to be cared for by health care providers with appropriate competencies, including the physician’s role as manager and leader. In a parallel fashion, physicians increasingly need basic (and essential) managerial and leadership abilities to effectively conduct their roles as front line healthcare providers.  To meet these changing trends,  undergraduate and postgraduate medical training programs in many countries are revising their curricula to include managerial and leadership competencies.

While training physicians in health care management and leadership seems to be logical, active support for such initiatives are limited, perhaps under-supported by current healthcare administrators who lack formal training.  In addition, future physician “leaders” are often over engaged in the delivery of basic health care services, leaving little room for other important leadership issues such as quality assurance, innovation and operational process improvement.

The studies listed below investigated the needs of stakeholders on the topic of physician leadership. The findings suggest that while the needs are high, attention to development of  these skills in various curricula are poor, internationally. Considering the ongoing discussion on leadership development in various countries (including Canada, US, Netherlands, Australia and the UK) perhaps its time to start an international collaborative to enable the development and dissemination of a sustainable and overarching framework for leadership development. Such a collaborative would provide the opportunity to develop or share best practices in teaching and assessing leadership competencies. As we aspire to train future physician leaders, leadership development (and the forum of an international collaborative) should remain an ongoing topic of discussion for Clinician Educators.


For further reading:

  1. Busari JO, Berkenbosch L,  Brouns JWM. Physicians as managers of health care delivery and the implications for postgraduate medical training: a literature reviewTeaching and Learning in Medicine, 2011, 23(2): 186-96
  1. Berkenbosch L, Brouns JWM, Heyligers IC,  Busari JO. How Dutch medical residents perceive their competency as manager in the revised postgraduate medical curriculum. Postgraduate Medical Journal, 2011,Oct; 87(1032):680-7
  1.  Bax, L. Berkenbosch, J.O. Busari. How do medical specialists’ perceive their competency as physician-managers? International Journal of Medical Education, 2011, 2:133-9
  1.  Berkenbosch L, Bax M, Heyligers IC, Muijtjens AMM, Scherpbier AJJA, Busari JO. How Dutch medical specialists perceive the competencies and training needs of medical residents in health care management. Medical Teacher, 2013, Apr;35(4):e1090-102. doi:10.3109/0142159X.2012.731544. Epub 2012 Nov 8. PubMed PMID: 23137237
  1. Berkenbosch L, Schoenmaker SG, Ahern S, Søjnæs C, Snell L, Scherpbier AJJA, Busari JO. Medical residents’ perceptions of their competencies and training needs in health care management: an international comparison. BMC medical education, 2013, Feb 13;13:25. doi: 10.1186/1472-6920-13-25. PubMed PMID: 23406436; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC3577427