Stanford Leadership Development Program

Participants in the Stanford Leadership Development Program, jointly sponsored by the School of Medicine and Stanford Hospital & Clinics, learn the skills required to lead small divisions, sections or teams within an academic medical center. The program goal is to develop the leaders needed to implement institutional strategies and meet future challenges in academic medicine.

Leadership Development Program Testimonials

Yaso Natkunam MD, PhD

Professor of Pathology

Associate Chair for Hematopathology

"Effective leadership comes into play in every aspect of academic medicine that I participate in. But having never taken a leadership course, or considered one important for much of my career, this concise yet comprehensive program exposed me to the vocabulary, concepts and strategies that are fundamental for success in an academic career. Starting from self-assessment to team building and negotiation, the course format and speakers made this experience extremely conducive to learning and sharing. This course gave me a great foundation not only for learning leadership skills, but also for shaping my vision and future goals."

Mark Nicolls, MD

Associate Professor of Medicine

Chief of Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine

"The thing that I would say is that from my perspective in science, most people are introverts and cast a skeptical view of these sorts of things. This changed my mind about it. When you hear 'conflict resolution,' most of us think that’s really intuitive and of course we know how to do it – but in reality, when I got into a real leadership position, I really did need those things. And some of those ideas percolated back up to me. Specifically, with regard to this project – to this day, I maintain to-do lists and trees. I have tried to organize myself for how I go forward through a project. I went in skeptical and came out a believer. I think it’s great."

2016-2017 Stanford Leadership Development Program participants.

Leadership Projects

With the help of a coach, participants design and implement a three-month team project to improve operations or create or improve programs in  the school or hospital. 

Sample projects from the FY19 program participants listed below:


Business Planning

  • Implemented a successful formal Nurse Manager Succession Planning Model
  • Conducted a burnout survey of hospitalists to target interventions on key causes
  • Improved metric "Did your workload feel manageable today" for cytopathology faculty from 64% "Yes" to 92% by revising schedules, streamlining the FNA service and delegating non-physician appropriate work
  • Implemented an IT self service password reset tool for SHC, UHA and Valley Care
  • Improved productivity of MayView Community Clinic by establishing a call center, creating monthly productivity reports, instituting huddles, reducing in unused slots, and increasing visits/provider
  • Documented multiple opportunities to reduce OR costs with more accurate logging of supplies (currently only 60%), improving accuracy of preference cards (92% inaccurate), and reducing unused items (20,000 to 30,000 per week)

Interdisciplinary Research Programs

  • Enhanced the prominence of the Kidney Council of the American Heart Association with new education, policy and research initiatives.
  • Increased patient enrollment in Hepatology clinical trails from 440 to 475 (8% increase)
  • Created a bronchoalveolar lavage fluid Pulmonary Biobank to enhance translational research in pediatric lung disease 
  • Completed a feasibility study and business plan for an islet cell transplant program
  • Established an arbovirus discovery and innovation interest group in the School of Medicine and on the main campus including 16 research group from 10 departments
  • Building an unbiased comprehensive database for small volume biopsy of lymphoma; collaboration includes cytopathologists, hematopathologists and oncologists from 7 institutions

Clinical Process Improvements

  • Streamlined startup administrative processes for Radiology clinical trials
  • Improved timeliness of neurodiagnostic test scheduling by 62% for EEG and 87% for EMG
  • Reduced no-show/late cancellation rates in Comprehensive ENT Clinic from 17% to 9%
  • Decreased Dysphagia Clinic time from referral to consultation by 61% and consult to testing/treatment by 43%
  • Established the first crash cart system for the Research Animal Facility procedure rooms; trips out of room to get urgently needed supplies decreased by 85% to near zero
  • Reduced late arriving patients in Urology Oncology Clinic from 22% to 13%; average late arrival time dropped from 20 to 8 minutes.
  • Improved hospitalist time managing intrafacility patient transfers to Valley Care by 50%
  • Decreased return visit no shows in Gynecology Clinic by increasing MyHealth enrollment to 85% and reducing CRM time to resolution by 75%
  • Improved gynecology patient experience with high dose rate (HDR) brachytherapy by decreasing length of time brachytherapy applicators are in place by 1 hour (25%)
  • Creating a full service Dental Oncology service to treat head and neck cancer patients' dental & periodontal disease prior to radiation
  • Reduced mortality of transferred surgical oncology patients from 7.7% to 6.9% with transfer process standardization: guidelines, transfer checklist and Epic documentation

Curriculum Development

  • Created new on-line Opthalmology CME programs to increase regional awareness
  • Designed communication models for Emergency Medicine physicians to guide their conversations  with consultants and support professional interactions
  • Developed a Pediatric Emergency Medicine Education Collaborative in 4 Northern CA hospitals: joint education programs held, curriculum standardized, research opportunities identified 
  • Gained insights from pilot of a bedside skills training and assessment program in the Internal Medicine resident clinic

Leadership Training

Physicians participate in six day-and-a-half long meetings during the year in which they receive instruction on topics including leadership, finances, human resources and diversity.  The curriculum includes affecting change, team dynamics, project management, negotiation, and influence without authority, developing diversity, managerial accounting, an overview of the school and hospital, and dealing with difficult conversations. Participants learn work-leadership balance and receive feedback on their individual leadership styles and opportunities for development.

Selection Process

The Stanford Leadership Development Program is designed to include 25-30 participants each year. The program is open to all ranks in all faculty lines. Selection for the program begins with a nomination by a senior leader in the SoM or SHC. Nominees who are interested complete a short application. Participants are selected by a committee made up of Senior Deans and SHC Senior Leadership Team members. Candidates are ranked on their demonstrated commitment to building diversity, current leadership activities and potential for growth as a leader. Particular effort is made to ensure diversity within each cohort, with approximately half being women and 25 percent being from underrepresented minorities.

Contact OFDD

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