Department of Medical Education

Physician Leadership Pathway

With the ever-changing landscape of health care and medical education, it is critical that we provide our students with the skills necessary to lead and motivate others to accomplish goals. The very nature of having the MD credentials behind one’s name elicits others to look to physicians for leadership, as they will assume formal and informal leadership roles throughout the duration of their careers.

To address this need, the Boonshoft School of Medicine (BSOM) began offering the Physician Leadership Pathway (PLP) to our BSOM students in 2021. First-year medical students are invited to apply to the PLP in January and they will join other PLP cohorts for sessions throughout the year.

The session-based curriculum of the PLP encompasses the first three years of the MD program. (PLP students are required to attend 75% of the sessions or modules offered before Advanced Doctoring.) Students are also required to complete a Leadership Pathway Experience (LPE) prior to BSOM graduation. This could include an immersion elective with area physician/health care leaders; completion of a health care research project/manuscript; or development of leadership curricular content. The pathway is subject to oversight by the LCME so updates to the curriculum may occur in order to comply with accreditation standards or to further enhance the student leadership experience.

PLP Learning Objectives

The following objectives guide the PLP curriculum. Upon completion of this pathway program, students will be able to:

  • Develop an understanding of contemporary leadership virtues and character development
  • Identify the need for a formally trained and diverse population of physician leaders to lead interdisciplinary teams
  • Recognize and consciously use emotional intelligence (EQ) to create and maintain productive relationships and team environments
  • Manage and adapt one’s EQ and behaviors that influence one’s leadership in a variety of situations
  • Reframe situations by applying culturally reflective leadership styles, organizational theories, and creative, innovative leadership methods
  • Demonstrate appropriate ways to deal with conflict and have crucial conversations
  • Exhibit ways to enhance group-decision making processes and mitigate team conflicts
In addition, the BSOM Institutional Objectives that will be met with this program include:
  • 4.1 Reflect upon one’s personal strengths and weaknesses to make positive changes in one’s behavior
  • 4.5 Communicate and work effectively with others
  • 4.6 Demonstrate leadership skills in a variety of settings
  • 6.1 Develop a personal plan to become a better medical professional

Dr. John McAlearney (program director for the Physician Leadership Development Program for dual-degree MBA and MPH student) serves as the interim PLP director of the PLP.


If you are a first-year medical student in good academic standing and wish to join the PLP, please complete the application found here.

Last edited on 11/29/2021.