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Leadership Skills a Priority for Future Hospitalists


A common theme among abstracts presented at HM13 was the need for more leadership training, as current and future hospitalists take on bigger roles in their hospitalist groups and institutions.

In an oral abstract presentation at the annual meeting in May in National Harbor, Md., lead author Darlene Tad-y, MD, assistant professor of medicine at the University of Colorado School of Medicine in Aurora, described the Hospitalist Training Program Leaders Track (HTP-LT), which launched in 2012 for hospitalist residents interested in program-level leadership.1 Dr. Tad-y notes that a generation ago, one-third of hospitals were led by physician CEOs; today, that figure is only 4%, even though quality metrics suggest that clinical outcomes might be better at physician-led facilities.

Faculty at the University of Colorado were inspired to create the program after learning that graduates of its nine-year-old hospitalist residency program were being thrust into clinical, operational, and quality-improvement (QI) leadership positions. Most were forced to learn how to be a leader on the fly.

“That got us thinking: We should be more deliberate about leadership training and the gap around the development of hospitalist leaders,” says co-author Read Pierce, MD, HTP-LT director. “We started asking those in medical leadership positions: How did you learn leadership and what would you teach to residents in the pipeline?”

HTP-LT guides residents through an intensive curriculum offering mentorship and opportunities to observe, practice, and reflect upon clinical leadership in real-world settings. It emphasizes hospital operations, finance, and change management within large, complex organizations. All HTP-LT residents complete a leadership project.

The same faculty also developed the Young Hospitalist Academy, a summer program for medical students from across the country; the goal of the academy is to spur interest in hospital medicine at an earlier stage of medical training.

“We thought it’s never too early for medical students to start thinking about what it means to be a hospitalist and to be a medical leader,” Dr. Tad-y says.

Larry Beresford is a freelance writer in San Francisco.


  1. Tad-y D, Pierce R, Guthrie M, Glasheen J. Developing hospitalist leaders: the Hospitalist Training Program Leaders Track [abstract]. J Hosp Med. 2013;8(Suppl 1):540.

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