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Another sold-out conference expected as interest in MD leadership mushrooms

As online registration opens for the 2014 Canadian Conference on Physician Leadership (CCPL), interest in the subject matter appears to be reaching new heights.

The conference, co-sponsored by the CMA and Canadian Society of Physician Executives (CSPE), will be held in Toronto April 11-12.

Last year’s conference, held in Vancouver, attracted a record crowd of more than 450 physician leaders, and CMA President Louis Hugo Francescutti thinks he knows why.

“The leadership concept is everywhere today,” said Francescutti, who pointed out that the CMA has just launched an online course in leadership skills for medical students and residents.

“Individually, physicians know that by developing leadership skills they will help themselves advance professionally. Collectively, we know our profession must show leadership if we are to have the health care system we want.”

The extent of the leadership training available for today’s doctors will be readily apparent in Toronto, where the conference will be preceded by six Physician Management Institute (PMI) courses from April 9-10:

  • leadership strategies for sustainable physician engagement
  • managing people effectively
  • leading change and innovation
  • strategic influence: advocacy, alliances and accountability
  • crucial conversations for physicians (a CSPE course offered through the PMI program)
  • professionalism and ethics

Conference organizers say early registration is encouraged for the pre-conference courses because enrolment is limited to 40 registrants per course.

The conference itself will feature numerous keynote speakers, and each day will be highlighted by eight concurrent sessions that feature topics ranging from “The courage to lead in uncertain times” to “Tips and techniques for dealing with the media.”

Keynote speakers include Dr. James Merlino of the Cleveland Clinic, who will speak on “Patient experience: a critical differentiator in health care,” and Dr. Aidan Halligan of University College London Hospitals in the UK, who will discuss “Rediscovering lost values.”

Francescutti said the conference has attracted an “outstanding” roster of speakers. He described Halligan, the first director of clinical governance at the UK’s National Health Services, as “simply brilliant — he’ll hit it out of the park.”

He said the conference will also provide a chance to reflect on the growing importance of “followership,” an emerging concept about the active role people who follow leaders play in an organization’s success. “When we focus on leadership we should look at followership as well,” said Francescutti, who described the best followers as “independent thinkers” who do not blindly accept a leader’s decisions.

“There are many types of followers,” he said, “and those are the ones you want.”

Although the leadership conference is co-sponsored by the CMA and CSPE, the number of additional supporters is growing. In 2014, MD Physician Services (the CMA’s financial subsidiary) is the lead supporter. Seven additional organizations are also contributing: the Ontario Medical Association, Alberta Health Services, Canada Health Infoway, Canadian Foundation for Healthcare Improvement EXTRA, Royal Roads University, Novari Health and Accreditation Canada.

Complete registration details for the PMI courses and the 2014 CCPL are available online.

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