After spending five eight-hour days at the Leadership Academy of Penn State Health Milton S. Hershey Medical Center and Penn State College of Medicine, the assistant dean for clinical medicine in the Department of Family and Community Medicine understood the challenges much more clearly and found himself better able to lead.
“I got a much broader view of Penn State Health’s strategic plan, which is very helpful,” Felix said.
As a leader of a group of physician educators in multiple departments, all with different priorities and experiences, he sees change as inevitable.
“This course helped me see the importance of style preference among my team—originators full of new ideas to conservers dedicated to keeping things running smoothly—to be successful in implementing change and staying relevant, current and visionary in the education mission,” he said.
Felix was one of 32 emerging leaders invited to attend the Leadership Academy, a joint effort of the College of Medicine’s Office of Faculty Development, Penn State Smeal College of Business and Penn State Executive Programs aimed at promoting strategic leadership and management skills among leaders.
“One of the strengths of the academy is that it involves people from all walks of life at the health system— faculty, clinicians, nurses, administrators, researchers, scientists,” said Dr. Barbara Ostrov, former associate dean for faculty and professional development at the College of Medicine. “Watching the attendees become engaged and enlivened, and seeing new collaborations among people who didn’t know each other before is exciting.”
The interactive program also expands knowledge about the organization and provides a tool set for leaders to be more effective and efficient, said Dr. Jeffrey Miller, Department of Dermatology chair at the Milton S. Hershey Medical Center, whose idea it was to create the Leadership Academy after earning his executive Master of Business Administration (MBA) from Smeal College.
“When I was working on my executive MBA, I was exposed to disciplines like finance, marketing and change management that I never learned about in medical school,” he said. “I wanted to bring that back to Penn State Health. Organizations that invest in the personal and professional development of their employees can be even more successful.”
With support from top administrators of the College of Medicine and Penn State Health, the first Leadership Academy seven years ago drew 25 attendees, and it’s grown every year since.
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