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Orientation is an opportunity for Academy participants to become acquainted with one another and members of the core faculty. Participants will be introduced to the curriculum, Academy policies and Academy requirements that will enable them to participate fully and get the most out of the year of study.

Fall Residential Retreat at Nationwide Hotel & Conference Center

The Art of Hosting Conversations that Matter
The Art of Hosting Conversations that Matter is a series of skills and techniques to promote excellent communications between individuals and among groups of individuals. It is an approach to leadership that scales up from the personal to the systemic using personal practice, dialogue, facilitation and other innovative strategies to address complex challenges.

Additionally, participants will be introduced to the concept of social/emotional intelligence, why it is important to facilitating extraordinary physician leaders and learn their personal results from the Emotional/Social Intelligence Assessment (ESCI). Participants also learn how to interpret and use the data from the assessment.

Introduction to Organizational Culture and System Change


Human Beings tend to organize themselves both personally and organizationally. Organizational Culture consists of the values and behaviors that contribute to the unique social and psychological environment of the organization. The culture of an organization may be observed in the way the organization conducts its business, treats their employees and most importantly how they perceive and conduct themselves with their patients, clients or customers as well as the broader community. Organizational culture reflects the organization’s values, beliefs and its reception to new ideas, decision-making processes and personal expression. Finally, organizational culture is expressed in the way power and information flows through the organization’s hierarchy and employee retention and turnover.

Most physicians work within various systems that make decisions that are in the best interest of the organization, their core customers, or both. Extraordinary physician leaders must have knowledge of organizational culture and a set of strategies that will enable them to be transformational change agents. This session will introduce recipients to various organizational assessments that provide insight into an organization’s culture. It will also discuss “open” vs. “closed” cultures and offer strategies for altering or changing the culture of a health care organization.

Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion: Experiential Learning


Money in Medicine: A Mindful Exploration of Finance


In this era of health care reform one of the central decisions to be made is how to financially sustain a health care system  that is opened to a greater number of people who previously have had limited or no access to health care. Developing an innovative financial model will make all the difference in the success or failure of creating a system that is both affordable and sustainable while producing greater health for our population. This financial model must be developed with input from extraordinary physician leaders and not by politicians and actuaries alone. 

This session is firmly rooted in our work on mindful meditation. It will be an opportunity to revisit some of the practices learned in the Art of Hosting Conversations that Matter. On completion of this session, participants will have greater insight into their personal relationship with money. There will be exposure to topics in economics, including, behavioral economics, economic theory, and macro economics. Subjects in personal and business finance will be included. We will begin to explore the question of how our personal relationship to money impacts our leadership. 

Managing in Complex Environments


Managing in complex environments requires leaders to understand the nature of problems they are working on and to design appropriate processes to address or solve those problems. The nature of complex problems - nonlinear, emergent, unpredictable and unknowable - means that traditional problem solving methods are inadequate. In this workshop you will learn a framework to help make sense of complexity and provide you with key principles for leading and decision making in complexity.

Introduction to Systems and Design Thinking

As a physician, systems’ thinking is not new to you. You have been trained to be aware of how cells become tissue, tissue becomes organs, organs become systems, and systems ultimately become a person and they are intrinsically linked together. You understand that in the diagnostic process what appears to be at issue may only be a symptom of something else. This is also true of organizations. Organizations are made up of human beings (each with their own uniqueness’s), that are organized based on some rationale (a department) and those are further organized within themselves. It is usually expected that those organizations (departments) will function well with other groups of organized people (departments) within some larger construct of the whole organization.

Systems’ thinking is often applied to problem solving within organizations by helping us to view “problems” as part of an overall system, rather than reacting to specific parts, outcomes or events. In systems thinking it is argued that the only way to fully understand why a problem or element occurs and persists is to understand the parts in relation to the whole. Systems’ thinking attempts to illustrate how small catalytic events that are separated by distance and time can be the cause of significant changes in complex systems. Leaders are called upon everyday to make organizational diagnoses from a system’s perspective. Understanding systems thinking as it applies to organizations is a critical tool for all leaders to have. This session will be an introduction to systems’ thinking.

Design thinking has come to be defined as combining empathy for the context of a problem, creativity in the generation of insights and solutions and rationality in analyzing and fitting various solutions to the problem context. (Wikipedia) The premise of design thinking is that by knowing how designers approach problems and the methods they use, individuals and businesses will be better able to improve their own problem solving processes and take innovation to a higher level.

Design thinking, in the scheme of things, is a relatively young concept (1960’s). The difference in thinking is often described as the difference between problems based solvers and solution-based solvers. Design thinking has most often used in the creation of products, but more recently is being used to innovate organizational solutions. This session will be an introduction to design thinking as it relates to organizations.

Non-Residential Weekend Retreat 



Most strategic thinking and planning is based upon a model in which we are reflecting on the past in order to predict and act for the future. However, to bring about the level of transformation required in our current environment, we need a new way of learning and of leading that tunes into the possibilities of the future and helps us to crystallize, prototype and realize those possibilities.

Presencing or Theory U is a five-stage process for learning: from the emerging future and growing the capacity for deep innovation and collaborative action. And, it’s also a set of principles that invite us to design our work processes and relationships in a different way and to use deeper sources of knowing as we move from awareness into action. This retreat is an experiential introduction to the concepts and practices of Presencing and Theory U, as described by Otto Scharmer. Through individual and collective practices, dialogue, Social Presencing Theatre and case clinics you will “travel the U” by applying gestures of suspending, redirecting, letting go, letting come and embodying to personal and organizational change efforts. Through awareness-based methods you will experience the underlying, often hidden wholeness in your life organizations and projects. You will strengthen your capacity to work with others, to see the systems that you are part of, and how to lead from the future as it emerges. Theory U is at the center of a global action research community, housed at M.I.T. that seeks to facilitate profound innovation and change. The Presencing Institute was founded in 2006 and so is very young both in its development and implementation.

Alternative Pathways for Physicians


Is it possible that a re-casting of basic physician training dynamics can help physicians to gain insights to make improvements/changes in the provision of health care and lead their communities? Lost in much of today’s physician experience in American healthcare is the basic tenet that it is humans who are treating other humans; people who are “governing” people in our communities. This session intends to connect the fundamentals of PLA learning to the physician experience, both in practicing medicine with their patients, and also being leaders in their communities.

The Mindful Physician


Graduation Celebration