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New study examines leadership programs in academic medical centers
Date:4/22/2013

TORONTO, April 22, 2013--Academic medical centres invest considerable time, money and other resources in leadership training programs, yet there is no evidence such programs work, a new study has found.

In particular, researchers led by Dr. Sharon Straus at St. Michael's Hospital said they could not determine whether participation in these leadership programs addresses the "paucity of women leaders" in faculty positions at teaching hospitals or which components of leadership training are most effective for women.

Her findings were published online in the journal Academic Medicine.

Dr. Straus said that while the business world had supported leadership training for decades, academic medical centres embraced the concept only within the last 10 years or so. Their programs range from sessions on coaching strategies to sending clinicians to MBA courses.

Dr. Straus reviewed existing research on academic medicine leadership training programs to examine which types of programs are most effective and what are their outcomes.

"Teaching hospitals are developing such programs and investing significant resources, including faculty time and money, yet we found a remarkable paucity of literature that presents the benefits of such leadership training," said Dr. Straus, a geriatrician and director of knowledge translation at the hospital's Li Ka Shing Knowledge Institute.

"We found that leadership programs have modest at best effects on the yardsticks that matter most to teaching hospitals, including advancement in leadership ranks and ability to publish papers in peer-reviewed journals. We have no measurable evidence it's better to have leadership programs or do nothing."

One of their main findings was that more work needed to be done to evaluate which programs work and why.

"In these times of increasing demands on AMCs to manage complex care in a constrained economic environment, effective lead
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Contact: Leslie Shepherd
ShepherdL@smh.ca
416-864-6094
St. Michael's Hospital
Source:Eurekalert

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