The Ivey Academy concludes inaugural primary care leadership program

Transforming primary care systems to meet contemporary societal needs and patient expectations requires bold vision and extraordinary execution. Managing change, minimizing costs, and caring for an aging population are among the many pressing challenges primary care delivery systems currently face. These challenges demand radically new approaches to leadership, teamwork, and culture.

To help meet these challenges, The Ivey Academy partnered with Harvard Medical School's Center for Primary Care and Ivey’s International Centre for Health Innovation to deliver an innovative executive education program for primary care physicians. Sponsored by MD Financial Management, Charting the Future of Primary Care: Leadership, Teams, and Culture was delivered in Toronto at Ivey’s Donald K. Johnson Centre from September 11 – 12, 2019.

Studying exemplary medical practices

Over the course of two days, program participants examined four deeply-researched cases from primary care practices in the Netherlands, Alaska, and Canada to gain a better understanding of the broad issues facing primary care physicians. The lessons learned from these four practices can be directly applied to practical, real-life situations.

“The conversation we’ve been having about primary care leadership is critical at this point – especially in the rapidly-changing Ontario health care environment. It’s unique to be able to put a business lens on each of the different models we have in Ontario and internationally. I think each of the program participants have taken away significant “a-ha!” moments in how they can use these experiences that we talked about in a leadership capacity going forward,” said Dr. Cathy Faulds, faculty member.

Addressing primary care challenges with leadership skills

Physicians are not trained to be leaders in medical school or residency. They’re not given the leadership and managerial skills required of them to lead a small team in a clinic, a larger team in a ward, or to be a medical director or CEO.

“Hospital system leadership teams do better when they have a physician in a key leadership role. They have better outcomes and better quality of care. This program can help bridge the gap and provide health systems the (physician) leaders they need to guarantee excellent patient care for their system,” said Harvard's Dr. Erin Sullivan, Faculty Co-Director of the program.

A network of peers

It can be comforting for physicians to take part in a program like this with colleagues who share the same challenges. They quickly realize they’re not alone, said Dr. Sullivan.

“In this program we have participants from both Canada and the United States, and they share the same set of challenges, regardless of the fact that they operate in two different countries with very different health systems. They leave with a cohort of colleagues that they can stay in touch with if they have questions next week, next month, next year.”  

Program participant Dr. Allan Grill, Chief of Family Medicine at Markham Stouffville Hospital, echoed those sentiments.

“I thought it was a really worthwhile program. I think it’s great when you bring physician leaders all in one room to have discussions about some of the things that they’re being challenged with. I really liked the case studies we examined, as we are able to take the ideas we discussed and take them back to our own workplaces and try them out there," said Grill.

For more information on Charting the Future of Primary Care: Leadership, Teams, and Culture, please download a program brochure.


About The Ivey Academy at Ivey Business School
The Ivey Academy at Ivey Business School is the home for executive Learning and Development (L&D) in Canada. It is Canada’s only full-service L&D house, blending Financial Times top-ranked university-based executive education with talent assessment, instructional design and strategy, and behaviour change sustainment. 

Rooted in Ivey Business School’s real-world leadership approach, The Ivey Academy is a place where professionals come to get better, to break old habits and establish new ones, to practice, to change, to obtain coaching and support, and to join a powerful peer network. Follow The Ivey Academy on LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.

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