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The Saskatchewan Medical Association: Customer Experience Story

Delilah Dueck

“The CMA’s Physician Leadership Institute (PLI) courses enable us to develop collaborative leadership skills across our province and build strong physician leaders who can bring about positive change in all areas of our healthcare system.”
Delilah Dueck
Administrative Assistant, Professional Affairs, Saskatchewan Medical Association

Saskatchewan Medical Association Customer Experience

The Saskatchewan Medical Association (SMA) is committed to developing confident and competent leaders across its healthcare system. That’s why, as well as engaging members and establishing strong relationships and networks, Delilah Dueck’s portfolio at the SMA includes finding opportunities for physicians to develop their leadership skills. She does this in a number of ways, including through a new mentorship program called docs4docs that pairs up new-to-practice physicians with established physicians, the Roadmap program for students and residents, which takes medical learners on tours around the province to showcase what practice is like in different places, and the Canadian Medical Association’s (CMA’s) Physician Leadership Institute (PLI) courses.

“The PLI courses actually help me fulfil many aspects of my mandate,” says Dueck. “The courses not only strengthen our healthcare system by providing leadership-development opportunities for medical and non-medical workers at all stages of their careers, but also deliver excellent opportunities for our members from across the province to network and develop collaborative relationships.”

Since 2007, the SMA has hosted 39 in-house physician leadership courses and has four more scheduled for 2016. The organization typically hosts four courses every year and offers them in Saskatoon and Regina. The courses are available to all Saskatchewan physicians as well as non-medical staff, including students and residents, support and administrative workers, and government healthcare leaders.

“The common learning opportunities presented by the in-house PLI courses result in common language and understanding across all levels of healthcare workers enabling them to jointly make positive change,” notes Dueck.

A champion of leadership development

The first CMA in-house PLI course Dueck organized was “Managing People Effectively”. The course had 19 participants, half of whom were new to CMA courses. Dueck credits staff at the CMA for helping to make coordinating the course simple.

“The course content was intriguing and delivered extremely effectively,” says Dueck. “I also found it interesting that my first taste of a CMA PLI was learning how to “manage” a group of people, which was exactly what I was doing that day, and continue to do in my role as a PLI coordinator today. I learned many things from that first course.”

When she saw the satisfaction on participants faces upon completion of the course and received overwhelmingly positive feedback, Dueck knew she wanted to be a champion of leadership development and help deliver more CMA courses.

Tailored courses to meet local needs

The decision to host in-house physician leadership courses was made in 2007 by the SMA’s then chief executive officer and senior leadership team. The SMA continues to deliver in-house courses today because of the continued positive feedback from participants who ask for the in-house option as they feel it more valuable than other delivery methods.

“In-house PLIs allow participants to reduce the amount of time they are away from their practices,” says Dueck. “We can also tailor an in-house PLI course to include any pressing local healthcare matters. Course presenters talk to us beforehand to learn about any issues. They’re then ready to offer the leadership tools needed to help our physicians deal with those issues. This is not an option when taking a leadership course online or at a national level.”

Positive feedback

Feedback from participants has convinced Dueck that it’s beneficial for Saskatchewan physicians and non-medical staff to have the opportunity to learn together and strengthen their relationships with their colleagues.

“I’ve been told by many physicians in our province that they have established strong professional and personal relationships as a result of in-house PLI courses,” finishes Dueck. “This builds trust and collegiality, which is needed when developing effective local leaders. In turn, these relationships strengthen our system. The relationships built with the SMA are just as important and beneficial. PLI courses are a benefit offered to our members and we want to support our members in their professional development.”

About the CMA’s PLI Courses

The CMA has been delivering Physician Leadership Institute (PLI) courses developed specifically for physicians for more 30 years. PLI courses are accredited by the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada and the College of Family Physicians of Canada. The industry-leading; highly interactive courses are available face-to-face (in a classroom setting, in-house (at your location) or online. The courses also count toward the Canadian Certified Physician Executive (CCPE) designation.

For more information about how your organization can benefit from the in-house PLI courses, please visit our website or contact us at 800 663-7336 ext. 2932 or