Physician Leadership Development Program

PLDP Overview



Welcome to the Physician Leadership Development Program (PLDP). Like Oscar Boonshoft, we believe that a future with more physicians in leadership roles will improve both our nation’s health system and the delivery of patient care. The PLDP is a dual-degree program designed to support medical students in their journeys as they develop their individual leadership styles and skills so they can be catalysts for health care improvement.

Clinicians often report being frustrated by barriers that appear overwhelming despite clear opportunities to improve patient care. Leadership skills such as effective communication, influence strategies, and teambuilding can empower clinicians by providing them with the tools needed to both overcome barriers and facilitate change. In addition, a focus on leadership character development is vitally important as evidence shows that virtuous leaders are better at inspiring others to bring about just and sustainable improvements for the long term.

While the US delivers some of the greatest medical care in the world, we also have a health system that is plagued by waste, fragmentation, access problems, and extreme costs. Physician leaders with management or population health training can play an integral role in addressing these challenges using strategies that already exist.

Also problematic is the injustice that exists in our health system and which manifests as structural racism, discrimination, and inequity. Ethical and courageous physician leaders are vital to the process of replacing discriminatory policies, practices, and organizational cultures with ones that prioritize equity, inclusion, and justice.

Medical students in the PLDP obtain either an M.P.H. or M.B.A. degree during their five years at the BSOM. While not all physician leaders will have a second graduate degree, either of these master’s programs will provide clinicians with additional skills and knowledge that will enable them to problem solve and work effectively with health care professionals from other disciplines. Obtaining a dual degree can also lead to additional career opportunities in areas such as health administration, policy, advocacy, government, and research among others. Furthermore, as physician burnout is a genuine concern, having more career options along with the skills to elicit change can provide a sense of empowerment and increased professional satisfaction.

If the mission of the PLDP (see below) appeals to you, we would encourage you to explore this website and to reach out to us with your questions.


John S. McAlearney, Ph.D.


Physician Leadership Development Program


PLDP Mission

To foster the development of ethical and courageous physician leaders who seek improvements in health care.

PLDP Vision

As an educational community, the Physician Leadership Development Program envisions a future of diverse clinicians that are commonly devoted to leadership development, health equity, inclusion, justice, quality and innovation.

Physician Leaders

Become a Physician Leader

Kate Conway, M.D., M.P.H.
Kate Conway, M.D., M.P.H.

“Having a dual-degree has shaped my career thoroughly. As a family medicine physician M.D./M.P.H., I feel better equipped to approach my patients not only with the individual band aid they may need at the moment, but also to actively work on healing and problem-solving with the community they know and need. My clinical skills and practical research methods allow me to partner with both local and global populations working on critical issues. I am grateful and excited for the work I am invited to participate in and appreciate the variety of professional activities available to me because of my dual degree.”

—Kate Conway, M.D., M.P.H., assistant professor of family medicine and Family Medicine Clerkship director

What is the PLDP?

The Physician Leadership Development Program (PLDP) is a dual degree program where you spend an extra year in medical school to earn either a M.B.A. or M.P.H. degree. The PLDP helps coordinate your program of study so you finish your degree in one year. The program also works with current PLDP students -- throughout their entire time in the program -- to facilitate extracurricular opportunities that allow you to actively gain leadership experience and enable you to learn from successful leaders in health care.

What student should consider the PLDP?

  • Those interested in assuming leadership positions in government, health care organizations, and academia
  • Those seeking to acquire the knowledge and competencies needed to manage effectively and promote organizational improvement
  • Those willing to invest in obtaining a degree early in their medical career for a broader perspective that will enrich subsequent training and experience
  • Those who are energetic and self-motivated
  • Those who hold themselves to the highest standards of professionalism

Evan Sommer, M.D., M.B.A

Evan Sommer, M.D., M.B.A.

“The PLDP has the potential to create positive change in the health care profession, and community as a whole, through the people it produces. By gathering together a group of ambitious people who generally share a common interest in improving the current state of health care as physician leaders, and exposing them to areas of knowledge most medical students go without, the program creates physicians who not only know how to medically treat patients, but who also have a respect for the business and financial side of health care.”

—Evan Sommer, M.D., M.B.A., PLDP Class of 2020

What skills and knowledge will I gain through the PLDP?

The Physician Leadership Development Program was started a decade ago to provide future physicians with the skills and knowledge to become leaders in the various fields or organizations in which they provide health care. Through the program:

M.D./M.B.A.s will learn:

  • How to employ quantitative analytical techniques relevant to resource allocation, production and management decision problems in the private and public sectors
  • How an understanding of business law and basic legal principles assist in making better business decisions
  • How to apply economic theory and methods of business to efficiently achieve organizational objectives
  • How to apply advanced management accounting concepts to support strategic management decisions
  • How different leadership styles and ethical behavior are important to organizational performance

M.D./M.P.H.s will learn:

  • How to apply epidemiological methods to various public health settings and situations
  • How to select appropriate statistical methods and analyze quantitative and qualitative data
  • How to assess population needs, assets and capacities that affect communities’ health
  • How to design a population-based policy program or intervention and select communication strategies for different audiences
  • How to apply principles of leadership, governance and management to foster collaboration and guide decision-making

The M.B.A. degree is offered by the Wright State University Raj Soin College of Business Master of Business Administration Program. The M.P.H. degree is offered by the Wright State University Master of Public Health Program. Coursework is completed in either a traditional classroom format or online.

Application Process

Applications to the PLDP will be accepted from first and second-year students who:

  • Are actively enrolled in the Boonshoft School of Medicine
  • Have a class ranking above the bottom 25 percent
  • Are in good academic and professional standing in the medical school
  • Are not in the Health Professions Scholarship Program

Applications are reviewed and selected by a panel of faculty and students. Students accepted into the PLDP agree to abide by its policies and procedures.

Visit PLDP Admissions, M.B.A. and M.P.H. program application pages for application instructions.

2020 PLDP Open House - Click to view the 2020 PLDP information session


M.D./M.B.A. Degree Program

M.D./M.B.A students learn not only the science of medicine, but the business of health care. This will be essential for future physician leaders interested in health care provision, health care finance and quality improvement in health systems and patient outcomes.

​​“The M.B.A. or the M.P.H. is a way to distinguish yourself in a competitive field. I was asked quite a bit about it while on the interview trail. I do think the M.B.A. helps any physician have a better understanding of business of medicine and also provides the framework for strategic decision making.  You have to understand the accounting, finance, and business strategy to help any healthcare enterprise make well-informed financial decision.  Day to day I think I learned a lot about managing teams and office management that has been helpful for me. Someday I hope to maybe transition into the hospital leadership and I think it will be important to have.” – Thomas Hagele, M.D., M.B.A., PLDP Class of 2012, Dermatology

Program Curriculum

The M.B.A. curriculum is 33-48 semester hours. Medical students without previous business education may need to take one to five foundation courses in addition to core courses.


Students in good academic standing who have not taken undergraduate business courses should apply to the M.D./M.B.A. program during their first year of medical school. Please contact the PLDP Coordinator for more information.

Request Information about the M.D./M.B.A. Degree

Have questions or need more information? Just fill out the form and we will respond! (Items with asterisks are required.)


M.D./M.P.H. Degree Program

M.D./M.P.H. students learn to think about medicine from a broader perspective than just a single patient. They focus on how the health of a population affects the health of individuals, and vice versa. They learn about reducing health disparities and increasing health equity through prevention, education and policy.

“My M.P.H. has greatly benefited me as a professional. This degree has given me a broader outlook on the healthcare field and a better understanding of how public health and medicine are intertwined. I think more critically about my patients' backgrounds and how that affects their health status and I want to know more about the behaviors and environment. Healthcare is expensive, and as a student learner in an academic teaching hospital, where tests and labs are ordered often without pause, I have noticed that I question these decisions more frequently and attempt to learn more of the ‘why’ and ‘how’ this will change our management before ordering a test.” – Neil Knight, M.D., M.P.H., PLDP Class of 2018, Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation 

Program Curriculum

The M.P.H. curriculum is 42 semester hours of in-class coursework, an applied practice experience and an applied project/problem paper.


Students in good academic standing may apply to the M.D./M.P.H. degree program during their first two years of medical school.

Request Information about the M.D./M.P.H. Program

Have questions or need more information? Just fill out the form and we will respond! (Items with asterisks are required.)


Admission to the Physician Leadership Development Program

Applications to the PLDP will be accepted from students who:

  • Are actively enrolled in the Boonshoft School of Medicine and in their first or second year of medical school
  • Have a class ranking above the bottom 25 percent
  • Are in good academic and professional standing in the medical school
  • Are not in the Health Professions Scholarship Program

To apply to the PLDP: 

  • Submit this form to apply to the PLDP as a M.D./M.B.A. candidate OR
  • Submit this form to apply to the PLDP as a M.D./M.P.H. candidate
  • Obtain two letters of recommendation from professionals that address the applicant’s capacity to be in a degree program while in medical school and their leadership experience/potential. The letters may be from persons who recommended the student to medical school but must be different from the medical school support letters. Letters from BSOM course directors are also acceptable.  Letters from relatives will not be accepted. Each professional’s letter should be on letterhead and signed. Email letters of recommendation to the PLDP Coordinator (see address at bottom of this page).

Applications are due by January 29, 2021. A panel of faculty and students review and select candidates for admission. Students admitted to the PLDP agree to abide by its policies and procedures.

For each master’s degree, no previous public health or business experience or education is required. PLDP applicants are not required to take standardized admissions tests (GRE or GMAT) to apply to the M.P.H. or M.B.A. programs.

Last edited on 02/02/2021.