Developing essential skills at all career stages


Hospitalist leaders want more

In addition to the current 4-day courses (Strategic Essentials, Influential Management, and Mastering Teamwork), hospitalists are looking for a course that continues skill building once they return home.

That’s why SHM has developed a fourth Leadership Academy course. This course, called the Capstone Course, was launched in Vancouver and consists of 2 days of on-site skill development and team building (during the first 2 days of the traditional Leadership Academy) and 6 months of a longitudinal learning collaborative. The six-month learning collaborative component consists of a learning “pod” of five or six fellow hospitalists and monthly virtual meetings around crucial leadership topics. They are facilitated by an experienced Leadership Academy facilitator.

Dr. Spector is the lead faculty; her expertise made the Capstone launch a huge success. She will work with SHM and the Capstone participants throughout the entire 6 months to ensure the Capstone course is as high-quality as the previous three Academy courses.

If you haven’t been, I invite you to attend our next Leadership Academy. Over the years, despite being course director, I have learned many take-home skills from colleagues and leaders in the field that I use often. Just to name a few:

  • Flexing my communications style: Tim Keogh’s lecture opened my eyes to the fact that not everyone is a data-driven introvert. I now know that some people need a social warm up, while others just want the facts, and that there are “huggers and shakers.” (In summary, it’s fine to shake hands with a hugger, but be wary of hugging a shaker.)
  • I send birthday emails after I heard Jeff Wiese’s talk.
  • Lenny Marcus taught me to be aware when I am “in the basement” emotionally. I now know to wait to send emails or confront others until I can get out of the basement.

And that’s just scratching the surface!

In closing, the Vancouver Leadership Academy was fantastic. Good friends, great professional development, a setting that was amazing, and an Academy that remains relevant and dynamic to our specialty. I can’t wait to see how the 2019 Leadership Academy shapes up for its debut in Nashville. My inner sailor may have to give way to my inner musician! I hope to see you and 300 of my closest friends there.

Learn more about SHM’s Leadership Academy at

Dr. Howell is a professor of medicine at Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, and chief of the division of hospital medicine at Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center. He is also chief operating officer at the Society of Hospital Medicine and course director of the SHM Leadership Academy.

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